LAUSANNE, Switzerland, (Reuters) – Jamaican triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt overcame a nagging Achilles tendon strain to equal the season’s fastest 100 metres at the Lausanne Athletissima Diamond League yesterday.
The quick-finishing Bolt clocked 9.82 seconds in his first race in six weeks to equal compatriot Asafa Powell’s season leader.
“There was definitely pain,” said the world record holder who had not raced since straining his left Achilles tendon in late May. “But it was not unbearable, it was slight.”
Bolt easily beat Jamaican club mate Yohan Blake, who clocked his season’s best of 9.96 seconds. Churandy Martina of Netherland Antilles was third in 10.16.
The sellout crowd cheered each time Bolt’s name was announced and roared with approval with his victory.
“It was not the best start,” Bolt said, “but it was a very good first 10 meters.”
He dominated the final half of the race but did not appear to be his overpowering self against a relatively weak field.
A sterner test is expected on July 16 when Bolt meets Powell for the first time this season in Paris.
Bolt admitted it could be his biggest challenge since he set his world record of 9.58 seconds in defeating American Tyson Gay and Powell in Berlin’s world championships.
“It’s going to be big,” Bolt said.
He said the appreciative crowd and warm weather had him excited to run.
“After warm ups, I said I was going to run 9.88,” Bolt added.
He originally was scheduled to run the 200 but switched to the 100 as his doctor asked him not to run the longer race.
American Walter Dix took the 200 in 19.86 seconds and Cuban world record holder Dayron Robles ran his fastest 110 metres of the season, clocking 13.01 seconds.
American David Oliver, who was not here, remained the season’s leader at 12.90.
In addition to Bolt, five other season’s bests were either tied or broken.
Former Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner helped lead the way, winning the 400 metres in 44.57 seconds. Kenyan Nicholas Kemboi added another with a stirring 1,500 metres in 3:31.52 with compatriots Brimin Kipruto winning the 3,000 metres steeplechase (8:01.52) and Vivian Cheruiyot taking the women’s 3,000 (8:34.58) for two more.
Ethiopian Gelete Burka became the first female to run the 1,500 metres under four minutes this season, edging Moroccan Btissam Lakhouad in 3 minutes, 59.28 seconds.
Cuban Yargelis Savigne needed her final triple jump for her season’s best, bounding 14.99 metres.
American Carmelita Jeter won the women’s 100 in 10.99 seconds and Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie surprised Australian Olympic champion Steve Hooker in the pole vault, clearing 5.85 metres.