World record-holder Bolt beats teenage training partner Zharnel Hughes, while David Rudisha enjoys comeback victory
Usain Bolt returned to the scene of his 100m world record breakthrough race in 2008 as he won the Adidas Grand Prix 200m in 20.29 into a headwind.
The multiple Olympic champion ran a conservative bend but was too powerful for his rivals in the home straight as Zharnel Hughes of Anguilla was second in 20.32 and Julian Forte of Jamaica third in 20.46.
Hughes, only 19, trains with Bolt in Jamaica and there has been speculation in the past that he could potentially represent Great Britain one day due to the Caribbean island of Anguilla being a British overseas territory and the athlete having a British passport.
The teenager has also been described as ‘the new Bolt’ after breaking Yohan Blake’s Jamaican high school 100m record, although he still has to find a few metres yet if he wants to beat the world record-holder.
“That was my worst ever curve,” said Bolt, who still looks a little rusty during the early stages of this 2015 season. “I wasn’t too happy with the time, but training is going well and I’m looking forward to what the rest of the season has to bring.”
Bolt, who set his first 100m world record – a time of 9.72 – in New York in June 2008, on the eve of the Beijing Olympics, added: “I love coming to New York as the crowd are always great – it’s always a pleasure.”
Another of the sport’s biggest names was also in action at the seventh meeting of the Diamond League series as David Rudisha got back to winning ways after sustaining an injury in Ostrava which later kept him out of the Diamond League in Birmingham. The Olympic champion clocked 1:43.58 as he grittily held off a number of athletes behind who were running the races of their lives.
Runner-up Boris Berian of the United States ran a huge PB of 1:43.84 as Frenchman Pierre-Ambroise Bosse was second in a season’s best of 1:43.88 and Matt Centrowitz of the United States also running a PB with 1:44.62.
“I was very happy to get my fourth win in New York,” said Rudisha, “I felt very smooth and am looking to do well at the worlds.”
Tori Bowie was in impressive form in the women’s 200m as she won comfortably in 22.23 – a great time into a 2.8m/sec headwind. Similarly, Sharika Nelvis took another win for the host nation in the 100m hurdles as she beat Britain’s Tiffany Porter – 12.66 to 12.81 into a 1.7m/sec headwind.
Tyson Gay also struggled against a headwind in the men’s 100m as he beat Keston Bledman narrowly with a time of 10.12.
The gusts in the Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island in New York didn’t affect Francena McCorory over one lap, though, as the American produced one of the best performances of the day with a world lead of 49.86 as she won the 400m easily.
Wayde Van Niekerk showed his 300m win in Birmingham a few days earlier was no fluke either as he set a South African record for 400m with 44.24m as he won by half a second.
American victories came thick and fast with Ajee Wilson taking the women’s 800m in style in 1:58.83 as Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya was second and Lynsey Sharp passing Jenny Meadows in the home straight to finish leading Briton in sixth in 2:00.37 as Meadows came close behind in eighth.
The men’s 5000m was not as quick but saw an exciting burn-up in the final stages which was won by Ben True of the United States in 13:29.48 as he passed Nick Willis of New Zealand in the home straight, leaving a phalanx of African runners such as Thomas Longosiwa in their wake.
There was great pole vaulting from Fabiana Murer of Brazil and Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou of Greece as they both cleared 4.80m. Murer won on countback but Kiriakopoulou had the consolation of equaling her own national record.
Ruth Beitia of Spain and Blanka Vlasic of Croatia had another great duel in the high jump with Beitia winning on countback with 1.97m as Britain’s Isobel Pooley equalled her season’s best of 1.91m in fourth.
In the shot put, there was a big throw of 21.67m from Joe Kovacs to win. Fellow American Jordan Clarke was second with 21.34m as US throwers filled five of the top seven places.
In the women’s long jump, Christabel Nettey of Canada took the win with 6.92m as UK record-holder Shara Proctor was third with 6.72m.
Pedro Pablo Pichardo wasn’t able to produce another 18m-plus triple jump, but the Cuban won by half a metre with 17.56m into a 2.5m/sec headwind as his superb season continued.
With 68.44m, Sandra Perkovic of Croatia continued her Diamond League discus domination as she won by almost three metres from Yaimi Perez of Cuba.
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