KINGSTON, Jamaica, June 12, (Agencies): Jamaica’s Usain Bolt shook off a “horrible start” to win the 100m at the Racers Grand Prix athletics meeting in 9.88sec, the second-fastest time in the world this year.
“It wasn’t a perfect race, but the good thing was that I won and I came out injury free,” said Bolt, who got away slowly but powered home, catching the field at about 50 meters and celebrating as he got to the line first to the delight of a big crowd at the national stadium in Kingston.
The sprint superstar led three compatriots under 10 seconds in a race run in a wind of one meter per second.
Nickel Ashmeade and Yohan Blake were both timed in 9.94sec, with Asafa Powell finishing in 9.98.
The race was only the fourth time that Bolt, former world record holder Powell and 2011 world champion Yohan Blake have clashed in Kingston and more than 30,000 fans turned out for the warm up for Jamaica’s Olympic trials later this month.
Powell had hoped for better, running fourth despite what he described as a calf cramp.
Running before his home crowd for the first time in about two years, Bolt said: “It’s good to be back, it has been a while since I ran here.”
While Bolt said execution was key in the 100m, he was pleased to overcome his technical flaws on the night.
Bolt improved on the 9.98sec he posted in Ostrava on May 20.
With the Aug 5-21 Rio Games less than two months away, Bolt moved ahead of US rival Justin Gatlin on the 2016 world list, the American owning a time of 9.93 that puts him fourth-fastest in the world this year.
France’s Jimmy Vicaut owns the fastest time in the world in 2016, 9.86sec at a meeting in Montreuil on June 7.
World and Olympic champion Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce won the women’s 100m in a subdued 11.09sec, coming back from a toe injury that has hampered her training.
American Barbara Pierre was second in 11.11 and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste took third in 11.15 seconds.
In other events, Shauna Miller of the Bahamas ran a personal best 22.05sec to win the women’s 200m.
The lanky runner came off the curve in second place but chased and caught American Jenna Prandin and eased away to win her second half-lap race in Kingston this year.
Prandin clocked 22.39 seconds while Jamaican Audra Segree was third in 22.89 seconds
Miguel Francis of Antigua ran a personal best 19.88sec to win a strong men’s 200m.
Jamaica’s Julian Forte was second in 20.18 ahead of compatriot Warren Weir, who settled for third in 20.32.
American Johnny Dutch won the 400m hurdles in a world leading 48.10sec, surpassing his own 48.6 set on April 16th in the Bahamas.
Jamaican Roxroy Cato was second in 48.98 seconds and Annsert Whyte of Jamaica third in 49.25.
South Africa’s 400m world champion Wayde Van Niekerk, won the rarely contested 300m in a blistering 31.03sec.
US 400m threat LaShawn Merritt was second in 31.23, and Tony McQuay third in 31.64.
Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast broke the African 100m record with a blistering 10.78sec Saturday at the Star Athletics Pro Meet in Florida.
The 28-year-old’s effort, in a wind of 1.6 meters per second, put her atop the world list for 2016 with the Rio de Janeiro Olympics beckoning in August.
Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown also broke 11 seconds, finishing second in 10.83sec.
Ahoure eclipsed the African record of 10.79 set by Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare in in London on July 27, 2013.
She improved her own personal best of 10.81, and moved moved past the 10.80 clocked by Tori Bowie at Doha on May 6 for the fastest time in the world this year.
At the same meeting, American Marvin Bracy won the men’s 200m in 9.94sec (wind 1.8m/sec).
In New York, London Marathon champ Jemima Sumgong of Kenya won the 45th edition of the New York Mini 10K on Saturday.
Sumgong finished in 31 minutes, 26 seconds. American Aliphine Tuliamuk was second in 32:14. Born in Kenya, she became a US citizen April 29 and plans to compete in the 10,000 meters on the track at the US trials next month.
Burundi’s Diane Nukuri was third in 32:18.