PARIS, (Reuters) – Usain Bolt comfortably won the 200 metres at the Paris Diamond League meeting on Friday despite Christophe Lemaitre running a season’s best of 20.21 seconds.
On a newly laid Stade de France track based on the 2008 Beijing Olympic version where the Jamaican first took the world by storm, Bolt triumphed in 20.03 to deny his French rival and boost his preparations for next month’s world championships.
Showman Bolt, hiding his face behind his hands like a Paris mime artist, was welcomed into the stadium like a rock star with a string of pumping tunes warming up the crowd and putting his opponents including Lemaitre in the shade.
The 100 and 200 world record holder then asked for silence as he began to focus but was forced to wait for several minutes for the high jump and technical issues before blasting off.
“It was alright. There was a bit of a delay at the start,” he told the crowd in a slightly frustrated voice.
Jeremy Wariner’s preparations for the Aug. 27-Sept. 4 world championships in Daegu, South Korea took a blow when the American former Olympic champion could finish only fourth in the men’s 400 won by Chris Brown of the Bahamas in 44.94.
“I hope this is the start of good things for me,” Brown said. “Finally I executed my race well. This win means before Daegu I need to go back home and train twice as hard as before.”
Wariner had never lost in Paris.