PARIS: Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the 100m at a Paris Golden League meeting on Friday in 9.79, recording his best time of the season despite a poor start in damp, chilly conditions.
His time was only marginally slower than the 9.77 ran by US rival Tyson Gay in Rome last week – the fastest mark of the year so far.
Bolt, who holds the 100m record with 9.69 set at the Beijing Olympic Games last year, was slow out of the blocks on Friday but pulled clear of the field after the first 50m.
“It was not the perfect race, but it was good enough for me. I had a bad start in bad weather so it’s a good result,” he said afterwards, adding that he had played it safe.
“I was careful because I didn’t want to be injured ... You don’t want to be injured at this time in the season just before the world championships so you just have to be cautious.”
He chalked up his previous best of the year of 9.86 in June and Bolt said he would only take part in one more meeting, in London next week, before the Berlin world championships in August.
“The world championships are very important to show the world that last year was not a joke,” said Bolt, who also set world records in winning the 200m and 4x100m relay at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Bolt is the favourite to steal Gay’s 100m and 200m crowns in Berlin and he did not face any of his main rivals in Paris. Daniel Bailey of Antigua came second on Friday in 9.91 and Jamaican Yohan Blake third in 9.93.
Bolt said he was looking forward to a showdown with Gay.
“It’s going to be wonderful and it’s going to be an exciting time,” he said.
The unseasonal cold cast a pall over all the events at the Paris meeting with few athletes able to shine in the gloom.
However, it was a good evening for the quartet of athletes still in the running for a cut of the US$1mil jackpot that will be shared out between those who win at all six Golden League meetings this year.
Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia completed his fourth consecutive victory in the series, winning the 3,000m in 7:28.64.
US world 1,500m and 5,000m champion Bernard Lagat came second in 7:33.15.
The other three women contenders for the US$1mil jackpot – Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart (100m), American Sanya Richards (400m) and Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva (pole vault) – all maintained their 100% records with relative ease. — Reuters