PARIS, France (AFP) — Jamaican Novelene Williams-Mills put in the best performance of Jamaicans at the Diamond League event here yesterday when she finished second in the women's 400 metres to Amantle Montsho of Botswana.
Williams-Mills clocked 49.95 soconds behind Montsho's winning 49.77, the USA's Francena McCorory's 50.27 and Britain's reigning Olympic champion Christine Ohuruogu, who finished fourth in a season's best of 50.59.
Meanwhile, Tyson Gay won the battle of the US sprint heavyweights, overcoming a terrible start to edge Justin Gatlin on the line for victory in 9.99 seconds.
Other stand-out performances came from strong Olympic favourites David Rudisha and Sally Pearson, but Kenenisa Bekele was left ruing his form after a disastrous outing in the 5,000m saw him confirm he would not defend his distance double at the London Games.
Gay left it late to surge past 2004 Olympic champion Gatlin, who clocked 10.03sec, with French hope Christophe Lemaitre finishing third (10.08).
Rudisha clocked an electric 1:41.54, streaking ahead of the field on the coat-tails of regular pacemaker Sammy Tangui in a bid to break his own world record of 1:41.01 set in 2010.
Pearson also impressed in the 100m hurdles, dominating from the start to win in an extremely rapid world lead of 12.40sec, not far off the 12.28 she raced to win last year's world championships in Daegu.
It was a different story for Bekele, the reigning Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion, and the world record-holder over both distances.
The Ethiopian track legend could only finish ninth in the 5,000m, almost 9sec adrift of compatriot Dejen Gebremeskel, who sprinted home in a world lead of 12:46.81 in a race being used as an Ethiopian Olympic trial.
Bekele has slowly been coming back to form after spending two years battling a calf injury, but he never looked comfortable at the Stade de France.
On-form Renaud Lavillenie maintained his impressive winning form, recording a best of 5.77m to win the pole vault in which there were only 14 successful marks as the 10 competitors struggled with the wet runway.
It was the 10th victorious outing in a row for the two-time world bronze medallist who last week retained his European title in Helsinki.
Puerto Rico's Javier Culson edged world champion Dai Greene in the 400m hurdles, timing a world lead of 47.78sec, with the Welshman clocking a personal best of 47.84.
There was another world lead in the women's 1500m, Morocco's Mariem Selsouli racing to a national record of 3:56.15.