Bolt wins 100m in 9.79 at Areva Meeting

  • Other Sport
  • Saturday, 18 Jul 2009

SAINT-DENIS, France: World record-holder Usain Bolt easily won the 100 meters at the Areva Meeting outside Paris on Friday but just missed out on Tyson Gay's season-best time.

The Jamaican, gearing up for next month's world championships in Berlin, won in 9.79 seconds.

Gay timed 9.77 last week at the Golden Gala in Rome.

"I had a bad start, but I ran a good time," Bolt said.

"I was just trying to go and execute, but I didn't do so well in the first 30 (meters). Overall, it wasn't a perfect race but it was good enough for me."

The light drizzle and chilly wind were far from ideal for Bolt - but could prove to be good practice for Berlin.

"Overall, it's a good time definitely. You can't do anything about the weather," he said.

"The world championships will be in Berlin, so it's good for me to get some running in the rain because you never know what the weather will be.

"When you run in bad conditions, you have to push hard to get a good time ... I was being careful though because I don't want to get injured."

Daniel Bailey of Antigua and Barbuda was second to Bolt in 9.91, and Yohan Blake of Jamaica was third in 9.93.

Bolt won the 100 and 200 at last year's Beijing Olympics in world records.

He also helped Jamaica win the 4x100 relay in record time.

But his goal now is to beat Gay - the defending 100 and 200 champion - at the worlds in Berlin.

"I think it's very important to show the world that last year (the Olympics) wasn't a joke," Bolt said.

"It's good to show the world that this is not a joke and I'm ready. I'm looking forward to the worlds."

Also on Friday, 400-meter runner Sanya Richards of the United States, Ethiopian long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbaeva and Jamaican sprinter Kerron Stewart in the 100 meters all won their events.

They stayed on course for a share of the $1 million Golden League jackpot at the end of the season after four legs of the six-leg Golden League.

Bekele was impressive as he dominated rival Bernard Lagat in the 3,000, surging ahead by 30 meters with three laps to go, and extending the gap even further by the end.

He won in 7 minutes, 28.64 seconds, while Lagat finished in 7:33.15.

Richards also won in style - but still claims the Golden League jackpot is not on her mind.

"You know what? I don't know what it is but I never feel pressured by the jackpot," she said.

She may share some of that prize with Stewart, who cruised home in the 100 in 10.99, well ahead of Chandra Sturrup of the Bahamas.

Richards beat second-place Novlene Williams-Mills of Jamaica by over one second, finishing in 49.34 seconds.

That took Richards below 50 seconds for the 37th time, breaking Marita Koch's record for most performances under 50.

"That makes me really proud. I told myself: No matter what, I'm going to go under 50 today, I don't care if it rains or pours or the wind is blowing me over," Richards said.

"Stockholm is next on my schedule. I'm still not 100 percent sure if I'll be competing or not. I might just go home and get prepared for Berlin."

Richards is backing herself for more success at the worlds.

"It's time to get prepared to become a world champion," she said.

In damp and slightly windy conditions, world record-holder Isinbaeva was way short of her best, but she still did enough to win with a vault of 4.65 meters.

"With these conditions, that (staying in contention for the jackpot) was the main goal," she said.

"The wind was the problem. The wind was bothering (me) so much. Pole vault is quite difficult against great wind, so I preferred to stop, not to get some injury and have a bad preparation for the world championships."

Also, Jeremy Wariner of the United States won the men's 400, easing up in the last 20 meters as he cruised over the line ahead of Christopher Brown of Bahrain.

Wariner won in 45.28 seconds, 0.16 seconds ahead of Brown.

"It's not where I wanted, time wise. But I think I executed right," Wariner said. "I expected somewhere in the 44 (seconds) middle to low.

But you know, conditions are a little chilly. Windy down the backstretch."

Dexter Faulk of the United States won the men's 110 hurdles in 13.14, with Dwight Thomas of Jamaica in second with a personal best of 13.30. Ladji Doucoure wanted to give the home fans at Stade de France something to cheer about, but the 2005 world champion could finish only eighth.

"I'm just not feeling right at all," Doucoure said.

Ahmed Ismail of Sudan won the men's 800, and Renaud Lavillenie clinched the men's pole vault.

There was further success for American women with Dawn Harper winning the 100 hurdles in 12.68.

Michelle Perry was second and Virginia Powell was third to complete a podium sweep for the Americans.

Anna Jesien of Poland followed up her win in Rome last week with victory in the women's 400 hurdles, just beating Melanie Walker of Jamaica - whose season best of 54.47 put her .10 behind Jesien.

Tiffany Williams of the United States also clocked a season's best of 54.72 to take third place. - AP

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