Usain Bolt re-stated his 100 metres credentials in Olympic year here as he won his latest Samsung Diamond League event in a meeting record of 9.79 that has been bettered this year only by his own recent mark of 9.76 in Rome.
Bolt’s final flourish at the ExxonMobil Bislett Games rounded off a night in which there were four 2012 world-leading performances – or five, if you count Sally Pearson’s achievement of matching her 100m Hurdles time of 12.49. Top marks went to Kenya’s Milcah Chemos, with a national record of 9:07.14 in the 3000m Steeplechase that puts her fourth on the all-time world list, Javier Culson, who won the 400m Hurdles in 47.92, Asbel Kiprop, who won the Dream Mile in 3:49.22, and Vitezslav Vesely, who earned a breakthrough Javelin victory in Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen’s home patch with a throw of 88.11m.
Powell puts on the pressure – for 85 metres
Bolt, who had made his first appearance here over 200m a year earlier in pouring rain, had no precipitation to contend with on this occasion –but he had his work cut out to beat his friend and fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell, as his gritted teeth at the 60 metres mark indicated.
At that point Powell, whose 9.72 clocking here in 2010 would have been a meeting record save for a following wind that was marginally over the limit of record purposes at 2.1metres per second, was pushing for the lead, having got away fractionally fastest of the field – his reaction time was 0.156, Bolt’s was 0.157. In the end, though, he had to be content with second place in a season’s best of 9.85.
“It was an awesome race,” said Powell. “I was well there until 85 metres, then my legs were tired. Usain is a lot stronger at the end so that was it. But it is good for me to go to the Olympic trials with such a fast time, which will give me confidence.”
Bolt commented: “The starting reaction was good, but I did not have the flow in the first metres like in Rome. Overall, technically, the race was not as good as in Italy, but I showed I can compete well under pressure.”
He added that he was “not comfortable” with the new blocks, adding: “I’m guessing how to adjust them. In Rome the guess was good, here not that good. But it is all about consistency. I’m pleased to win here for the second time. I will now go back to Jamaica, work on a few things and run at the trials. Specially I need to work on my start. After the trials I have only one race planned, over 200m in Monaco.”