LONDON // Usain Bolt, the world record holder, brought a flash of Jamaican sunshine to another miserable European evening when he raced to 100 metres victory in 9.91 seconds at the London Grand Prix on Friday. The triple Olympic champion, who has had to overcome wind or rain in virtually every outing as he prepares for next month's world championships in Berlin, faced a 1.71.7m/sec headwind but cruised home ahead of his 19-year-old compatriot Yohan Blake (10.11 secs).
Blake, who ran 9.93 secs last week, is the latest sprinter to roll off the Jamaican production line and left the former world record holder Asafa Powell, also Jamaican, trailing in sixth in 10.26 secs. Bolt's presence drew a 16,000 capacity crowd, many dressed in the yellow and green of Jamaica, and he delivered a trademark dance after an impressive run during which he led after 20m before easing home.
"It's a Jamaican crowd so it was always going to be good for me," said Bolt, who last week posted 9.79 secs on a rainy night in Paris. "That's just me, the crowd loves it so I'll just continue." It was not all good news for the Caribbean island however as Bolt's victory came hours after it was announced five unnamed Jamaicans had been withdrawn from the world championships after testing positive for a banned substance.
All five tested positive for a "minor substance" after last month's national championships in Kingston. Two of them were members of the newly formed Racers Track Club who were due to provide a team for the 4x100 relay at Crystal Palace today. "If it's somebody from our group I can't comment," said Bolt, who is also part of the relay team. "It's sad for the sport, it's a step backwards but it shows if people take drugs they get caught.
"It just takes hard work and I don't think some people want to work that hard." Tyson Gay, who leads the way over 100m this season with a best time of 9.77 secs, looks Bolt's biggest rival and the American won the 200m final today easing down to finish in 20.00 secs. The 26-year-old Gay got a fast start and overtook his United States teammate Wallace Spearmon on the bend. Gay had a clear lead going into the straight and relaxed in the final 30m. He will defend his 200m world title against Bolt in Berlin next month. Gay has run the fastest 200m in the world this year - 19.58 secs in New York in May. Bolt's best this season is a 19.59 secs run at Lausanne, Switzerland, this month.
Meanwhile a chink appeared in the armour of the pole vault world record holder and world and Olympic champion Yelena Isinbayeva as she was beaten into second place on countback by Poland's Anna Rogowska. The Russian, with a best effort of 5.05m, suffered her first defeat of the season and looked sluggish in needing three attempts to clear her opening height of 4.68 before failing all three at 4.78. "I'm not in form, I think I'm tired from competitions but I'm confident for Berlin," said Isinbayeva, who has won the last two world titles.
Cuba's 110 hurdles world record holder Dayron Robles was also close to a first defeat this year but just held off Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados in a fierce headwind to win in 13.29 secs. "It felt like a cyclone in my face," he said. * With agencies