Bolt, Blake defy weather to post new Zurich records
ZURICH, Switzerland, CMC – Not even rain and chilly temperatures could prevent sprint icon Usain Bolt and fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake from sweeping the sprints in record times at the prestigious Weltklasse Zürich Diamond League here yesterday.
While Bolt clocked 19.66 seconds to win the 200 metres and lead a Jamaica one-two-three, Blake raced to 9.76 seconds to capture the 100 metres, as they signed off their campaigns for the year on the international circuit.
Olympic 100m champion, Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also tasted victory, exacting revenge for two back-to-back defeats to American Carmelita Jeter by storming to 10.83 seconds to win the event.
On a rain-soaked night at Zürich’s Letzigrund Stadium, Bolt had little problems as he ambled the first 100 metres before stepping up his momentum in the stretch.
Nickel Ashmeade challenged at 75 metres but Bolt easily pulled away to cross the line unchallenged and break American Wallace Spearmon’s meet record of 19.79 set two years ago.
Ashmeade was second in 19.85 seconds while Jason Young claimed third in 20.08. Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir, also of Jamaica, finished fourth in 20.18.
“I’ve been through this (bad weather) a couple of times. I’ve been through the rain and cold. I’ve been to Europe many, many times so it’s not a problem,” Bolt told reporters afterward.
“It was a good run. I came out here just to run as fast as I could, just to take it easy and not to get injured. Everything was a success so I am happy.
“I went out there to win, that was the aim. I went out there to run a good time so the people would be satisfied. They told me it was a meet record so that’s good, I’m happy about that.”
His heir apparent Blake overcame the distraction of a false start that claimed American Tyson Gay, to rocket to victory.
He powered out of the blocks and was ahead after 40 metres, leaving the field scrapping for the minor places as he broke Asafa Powell’s six-year-old meet record of 9.77 seconds.
Fellow Jamaican Nesta Carter finished second in a season-best 9.95 seconds while American Ryan Bailey claimed third in 9.97 seconds, edging veteran St Kitts and Nevis sprinter Kim Collins (10.01).
Blake was quick to dismiss the weather as a major factor. “I am not surprised that I can run so fast in bad weather because I am a beast, bad weather cannot stop me,” he boasted. “The weather was pretty tough and I’m looking forward to compete in warm weather.”
Fraser-Pryce, meanwhile, who suffered two defeats to Jeter following her triumph at the London Olympics earlier this month, won the sixth meeting this season with her archrival.
Jeter was second in 10.97 with the reigning Olympic 200m champion American Allyson Felix third in 11.02.
Trinidadian Kelly-Ann Baptiste was disqualified because of a false start.
The head-to-head contests this season between Fraser-Pryce and Jeter stand at 3-3.