ZAGREB, Croatia, CMC – Usain Bolt continued to rebuild his air of invincibility with a peerless victory in the men’s 100 metres in an IAAF World Challenge meet yesterday.
The World sprint king from Jamaica put his false-start disqualification at the recent World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, firmly behind him, when he clocked a season’s best 9.85 seconds in the first 100 he has contested since that ill-fated trip to the start line.
“It was a poor start,” said Bolt. “I kind of lost concentration, and just went through the line. It was OK, I suppose, but I could have done better, especially with the weather like this.”
Only four men have run faster than Bolt this year – Asafa Powell of Jamaica (9.78 secs), Tyson Gay of the United States (9.79), Steve Mullings of Jamaica (9.80) and World champion and training partner Yohan Blake also of Jamaica (9.82).
Bolt came under pressure early, but finished well ahead ageless World bronze medallist Kim Collins, the former World champion from St. Kitts & Nevis, with a season’s best 10.01 secs, two hundredths-of-a-second ahead of Richard Thompson of Trinidad & Tobago.
Mario Forsythe, another Jamaican, finished fifth in 10.16.
Bolt was one of three Jamaicans that grabbed victories on the programme at the Sports Park Mladost.
Novlene Williams-Mills redeemed herself, following a disappointing World Championships, with a morale-boosting victory in the women’s 400.
Williams-Mills won in a meet record time of 50.31 seconds, prevailing over World silver medallist Anastasiya Kapachinskaya of Russia by nine hundredths-of-a-second, with Shericka Williams, the Jamaica No.1, running third in 50.45.
Sprinter Schillonie Calvert followed up a runner-up position (11.13) behind World champion Carmelita Jeter (11.00) in the women’s 100 with a victory in the 200.
Calvert led a 1-2 finish for the Jamaicans in the half-lap, finishing with a time of 22.55 ahead of Sherone Simpson (22.95) and Bahamian veteran Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (22.97).
Trinidad & Tobago quarter-miler Renny Quow was the only other English-speaking Caribbean athlete to make it to the podium, with a third-placed finish in the men’s 400 in a time of 45.95, edging out Dominica’s Erison Hurtault (46.21).
American LaShawn Merritt used the absence of World champion Kirani James of Grenada to give a gentle reminder with a victory in 45.22 ahead of compatriot Greg Nixon (45.73).
National record holder Dwight Thomas of Jamaica ran 13.25, finishing fourth in the men’s 110 hurdles, which was won by Dayron Robles of Cuba in 13 seconds flat.