Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Usain BOLT Strikes Again
World record-holder Usain Bolt struggled to win his first race in nine months, clocking 9.91 seconds in the 100 meters to narrowly beat former record-holder Asafa Powell at the Golden Gala on Thursday. Powell timed 9.93 and European champion Christophe Lemaitre crossed third in 10.00. As usual, Bolt got out to a slow start but unlike in most of his recent races he was behind until pulling in front with his very last strides.
"I was nervous as it was my first race of the season and I didn't think it went well and the nerves got to me," Bolt said. "In fact it was a totally bad race and I'm just pleased I won."Bolt had not competed since he was beaten by Tyson Gay in Stockholm last August, snapping the Jamaican's two-year unbeaten streak. The triple Olympic and world champion then ended his season because of back and Achilles' tendon problems. Bolt didn't celebrate as much as usual, waiting a while before kneeling down on one knee and pointing his arms diagonally to the sky in his usual victory salute - drawing a large cheer from the crowd of 47,732 at Stadio Olimpico on a pleasant evening.
"I don't think I should judge today," Bolt said. "Today was just to get the cobwebs out. But I got through the race injury free and now I'm just looking forward to the next race."
Bolt will run again on Tuesday at the Golden Spike in Ostrava, Czech Republic. His next Diamond League meet will be in Oslo on June 9, as he prepares for the world championships in Daegu, South Korea in August. Since Powell set a world record of 9.74 seconds in Rieti, Italy, in 2007, Bolt has broken the mark three times, the last being a 9.58 at the 2009 world championships in Berlin..
Yet another Jamaican, Steve Mullings, still holds this year's best time - 9.89 set in Clermont, Florida, five days ago. Bolt has beaten Powell in nine of their 10 meetings, with Powell's only win coming in Stockholm in 2008.
After the finish, Powell went over and wrapped his arm around his rival and said "I tired toward the end and if I had kept it up I would have been the winner tonight. I think I was too worried by Usain at the end of the race," Powell said. "I always said this was my race to win and I gave it away. I knew I could have won and I needed to stay focused and relaxed. I'm more confident now as I know I could have won."
Bolt added more muscle to his frame over the offseason to improve his starts, but he still had a much slower reaction time than Powell - 0.174 vs. 0.133, with Lemaitre at 0.129.
The wind registered plus 0.06.
Lemaitre's personal best is 9.97.