Bolt runs season’s best in a 100m short of Britain’s current fastest man, James Dasaolu
Usain Bolt turned up the volume on the 65,000 spectators to a level similar to that heard at the Olympics one year ago and stepped into top gear in the 100m at the close of the first of three days of action at the Sainsbury’s Anniversary Games.
The six-time Olympic champion – the No.1 reason the stadium sold out for this meeting within 75 minutes of tickets going on sale – recovered from a sluggish start to run a season’s best 9.85.
However, the race was marred by the precautionary withdrawal of Britain’s latest sub-10-second runner, James Dasaolu, who felt a tight hip flexor in the warm-up.
After the recent drugs positives of world No.1 Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, Bolt’s path to regaining his 100m world title from the out-injured Yohan Blake is looking ever clearer.
However, with a season’s best of 9.94 he went into the race only third quickest on the start list behind Nesta Carter (9.87) and Dasaolu (9.91). He suffered a rare defeat earlier in the season, too, at the hands of Justin Gatlin.
And for much of the race he found himself behind a 37-year-old in the shape of 2003 world champion Kim Collins. But the world record-holder typically powered away in the last 30 metres to win by 0.13 from American Michael Rodgers. Carter was third in 9.99, just ahead of Collins on 10.03. Dwain Chambers was fifth with 10.10.
Admitting his poor start, Bolt said: “I have improvements still to make, so I have some work to do.”
Bolt will return to take part in the 4x100m relay tomorrow, the concluding day of the Diamond League part of the meeting, while the Sainsbury’s International Para Challenge takes place Sunday.
Earlier in the national-level 100m, world junior champion Adam Gemili edged out Harry Aikines-Aryeetey with a season’s best, both sharing 10.16. Mark Lewis-Francis was third with 10.21.
Gemili, who will run in the 200m in Moscow, said: “My reaction time was really, really bad. If I get that, the rest of my race, I felt, was a lot better.”
Relay great by Britain
The only other British win of the night came in the women’s 4x100m where the GB senior quartet clocked 42.69 – the fastest time nationally since 2001.
Dina Asher-Smith, Anyika Onuoura, Annabelle Lewis and Ashleigh Nelson combined to produce the fourth quickest time ever by a British quartet. Not far off the UK record of 42.43, it makes Britain fourth on the world rankings for 2013 behind USA, Jamaica and Ukraine.
Hejnova beats determined Perri Shakes-Drayton
Buoyed perhaps by the incredible home support, Perri Shakes-Drayton blazed around the first 200m into a five-metre lead over athlete-of-the-moment Zuzana Hejnova in the 400m hurdles. She led into the home straight but was caught by the Czech athlete, who usurped Kori Carter at the top of the world rankings with 53.07.
Nevertheless, Shakes-Drayton took a tenth of a second off her PB with 53.67 and is clearly Hejnova’s No.1 challenger for Moscow.
Despite needing just a short journey on the Docklands Light Railway from home to arrive at the event, she went a long way towards the sort of form which might see her challenge the so-far dominant Hejnova by the time of Moscow.
She is now up to third on the world rankings, notably moving ahead of American Georganne Moline, who placed fourth, while another scalp was that of Carter, who was fifth and will not be in Moscow anyway.
Bold Bondarenko hits 2.38m
Bohdan Bondarenko may have been audacious in putting the bar two centimetres above the existing world record, but the quality of his attempts at 2.47m showed the rapidly improving Ukrainian’s confidence was justified.
After clearing first-time at 2.28m, 2.34m and 2.38m, he failed at a PB 2.43m. Then he unexpectedly asked for the bar to go four centimetres higher rather than the 2.46m which would have surpassed Javier Sotomayor’s 1993 world mark. The man who until this season had a PB of 2.31m made two respectable attempts at a mark which would have added six centimetres to his best.
American Kynard was a centimetre below his PB with 2.36m in second. Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz was below-par with a best of just 2.24m. The other Brits, Allan Smith and Tom Parson, both achieved 2.20m.
Silva beats world champion
Cuba’s Yarisley Silva continued her rapid ascendancy as she beat world pole vault champion Jenn Suhr.
Already world No.1 this year on paper with her best clearance of 4.90m, she scored a notable victory with a Diamond League record 4.83m. Suhr was second with 4.73 and Fabiana Murer third with 4.63m.
Sally Peake, the only British competitor, went out at 4.20m after a successful clearance at her opening height of 4.00m.
Weir blitzes to sub-20
With a time of 19.89, Jamaica’s Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir led compatriot Jason Young by a tenth in the 200m. American Wallace Spearmon was third with 20.18.
Richard Kilty, who controversially lost out on Worlds selection, proved a point as he beat two Moscow-bound British athletes.
Running from lane two, he clocked 20.57 for seventh, five hundredths ahead of UK champion James Ellington. Delano Williams, the British No.1 this year, who suffered from a slow start at the trials and was behind Kilty, was again short of his best, although his 20.74 was from lane one.
Rowbury fast over 3km
Shannon Rowbury, the world 1500m bronze medallist, stepped up to 3000m to clock 8:41.46. That time is second only this year to the 8:40.53 by Almaz Ayana en route to a 5000m in Paris.
The American passed compatriot and bell-leader Molly Huddle around the final bend, while another of their team-mates Gabriele Anderson also came past for second. Those two set PBs of 8:42.64 and 8:42.99.
Scottish steeplechaser Eilish McColgan was four seconds outside her PB with 8:53.66 for ninth, one place ahead of Emelia Gorecka, who set a season’s best of 8:55.59. The other Brits in the race, Steph Twell and Kate Avery, brought up the rear with 8:58.57 and 9:02.48 – a PB for the latter.
Martinez runs 1:58.19
American Brenda Martinez missed her PB by just 0.01 in stopping the clock at 1:58.19 in the 800m. She is fourth on the world rankings behind Francine Niyonsaba, Malika Akkaoui and Alysia Montano.
British champion Marilyn Okoro used her trademark fast-starting tactics as she went close behind the pacemaker through 400m in under 58 seconds. She led with 200m to go at 1:28.54, but then faded to fourth in 2:00.35 behind Romania’s Elena Mirela Lavric (1:59.79) and American Ajee Wilson (2:00.20).
Kuria takes metric mile
Kenyan’s unheralded Mary Kuria took a relatively low-key 1500m with 4:08.77. After they went through the bell in 3:06.5, the last lap was unremarkable 62 seconds.
Brits Josephine Moultrie and Emma Jackson took the last two places with 4:12.42 and 4:13.30.
No shock in the discus
Poland’s Piotr Malachowski was well down on his world-leading mark but duly took victory in the discus with a third-round 67.35m. Germany’s Martin Wierig was second with 66.60, just ahead of Estonia’s Gerd Kanter (66.29m).
Brett Morse said beforehand he wanted replace his bad memories of going out in qualifying at the Olympics with a best of 58 metres. With three throws over 63 metres in the first three rounds, he did just that, briefly taking the lead, although his challenge petered out. He eventually finished a solid sixth with a best of 64.84m.
James is still king
Despite appearing to be challenged until the home straight by American Tony McQuay, Olympic champion Kirani James pulled clear over the final 100m to run 44.65. He was comfortably ahead in the end of McQuay’s 45.09. Britain’s Nigel Levine was sixth with 45.58, while another Brit Conrad Williams was last with 46.43.
Symmonds leads US 1-2-3
Nick Symmonds won the battle of the Americans in the 800m, beating world No.1 Duane Solomon into second.
He marginally improved his season’s best with 1:43.67 after Solomon led through 600m in 1:16.35. Brandon Johnson was third with 1:44.19.
British champion Michael Rimmer was eighth with 1:45.46 and, two places behind, Britain’s Mukhtar Mohammed took 0.23 from his PB with 1:45.67.
Koneva leaps to win
Russia’s Yekaterina Koneva won the triple jump as expected with 14.52m, while world indoor champion Yamile Aldama of Britain continued to struggle for form with 13.25m for seventh.
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