Usain Bolt storms to victory in Rome in 9.76 seconds
5/31/2012 11:30:57 PM -
Usain Bolt stormed back to form by winning the 100m at the Rome Diamond League meeting in 9.76 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year.
The Jamaican star was almost sluggish by his own standards in clocking a mere 10.04 in last Friday's 100m in Ostrava.
But he exploded out of the blocks in Rome to hit the front early on and power away from compatriot Asafa Powell, who was second in 9.91 secs.
Britons Greg Rutherford and Robbie Grabarz won the long and high jumps.
The performance of Grabarz was particularly noteworthy, clearing 2.33m to set a new personal best and the leading height in the world this year, while Rutherford continued his good recent form by winning the long jump in 8.32m, 3cm off his new joint British record.
But the undoubted star of the night was Bolt, who admitted some relief at returning to the sort of style and times for which he is known.
"I knew I could do it," the triple Olympic champion told BBC Sport. "Since I've been in Europe I've not been sleeping regularly, so after Ostrava I made sure I started going to bed earlier and started eating right.
"I felt extememly well, extremely great today, so it's come back and I am pleased.
"People expect me to do well all the time but I expect a lot of myself also, so it is not a pressure for me. I came out tonight not to prove anything to the world but to tell myself I've still got it."
Powell was left complaining he was unable to hear the starter's gun properly, while Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre trailed in a distant third in 10.04.
The other outstanding display of the night saw Kenyan Paul Koech run the third fastest time ever in the 3,000m steeplechase, powering home in 7:54:33, 0.7 seconds outside the mark set by Saif Saaeed Shaheen in Brussels eight years ago.
There was a surprise in the women's 100m as Murielle Ahoure of the Cote d'Ivoire set a new personal best and national record of 11.00 dead to pip Jamaican duo Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Kerron Stewart.
Javier Culson won the men's 400m hurdles ahead of American Bershawn Jackson in the absence of Welshman Dai Greene, who pulled out after waking up on Thursday morning with a virus .
Britain's Nathan Woodward finished fifth, while former world champion Felix Sanchez fell after coming off the final hurdle feeling cramp in his calf, but later declared the problem was not serious.
Dwain Chambers could not inspire Great Britain's 4x100m relay team on his first appearance in the quartet since the 2006 European Championships in Gothenburg, when team-mate Darren Campbell refused to share a lap of honour with the former drugs cheat .
Running the first leg, Chambers and company finished second behind Canada, but the men's 4x400m quartet won their race comfortably, ahead of Botswana in second.
Andrew Osagie finished strongly to take third in the men's 800m behind 17-year-old Kenyan winner Leonard Kosencha, while Goldie Sayers finished third in the women's javelin with a season's best throw of 64.73m, with Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic taking victory with 68.65m.
"I knew I only had one or two throws in me because I was ill with food poisoning during the week," Sayers said. "But I beat the world champion and Olympic bronze medallist so I am pretty happy with my day's work."