LAUSANNE // The Former world record holder Asafa Powell equalled the second fastest time ever over 100 metres when he clocked 9.72 secs at the Lausanne grand prix. The Jamaican, who finished fifth in the Beijing Olympics final, equalled the mark set by compatriot Usain Bolt in New York City this year. Bolt reduced his own mark to 9.69 secs in the Olympic final and also set a world record in the 200 metres. He was a member with Powell of the Jamaican quartet who set a world record in the 4x100 metres relay final.
Bolt cruised to victory in the 200m here with a time of in 19.63 seconds. "After all my problems this year I'm satisfied with my performance," said Powell after racing away from a strong field, comprising all of the Beijing finalists except for Bolt. "It's also great to set a new personal record." Making the fastest start out of the blocks, Powell finished 0.2 of a second clear of the Olympic bronze medallist Walter Dix of the United States with Jamaica's Nesta Carter taking third place, a further 0.06 secs back.
Victory in the 200m was never in doubt for Bolt, who finished more than half a second clear of the runner-up Churandy Martina. While Powell was greeted to rapturous applause by the Lausanne crowd, Bolt heard the rare sound of jeers from the spectators after slowing up in the final metres. "It was a good time," Bolt said after matching Xavier Carter's 2006 Lausanne track record. "But I've made history now so a lot of people are looking to me for big times and great things. I'm always going out to do my best but it's a long season and I trailed off because I want to stay injury-free right the way to the end.
"I'm happy for Asafa tonight. He has always been there, but he's looking pretty good now. "There are a lot of guys to think about in the 100 metres." Powell and Bolt were among six Jamaicans celebrating as the country's athletes won all but two of the sprint events. After dominating the podium in the Olympic women's 100m, Jamaica sealed a one-two finish in Lausanne with Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser again finished in front of the joint Beijing silver medallist Kerron Stewart.
In a thrilling race, Fraser crossed the line in 11.03secs, just 0.03secs ahead of Steward. Melanie Walker, another Jamaican Olympic champion, finished more than a second clear of her rivals in the 400m hurdles, while Shericka Williams won the 400m race in the absence of the British Olympic champion Christine Ohurogu. Delloreen Ennis-London completed Jamaica's strong showing, clinching the 100m hurdles after a late mistake by the Olympic champion Dawn Harper.
The American brought down the final hurdle while leading the race, recovering to cross the line 0.03 secs behind Ennis-London. Bizarrely the same thing then happened in the men's sprint hurdles, with Cuba's Olympic champion and world record holder Dayron Robles also catching the last barrier to finish second behind the American David Oliver. LaShawn Merritt provided the United States with their only other victory in this meet.
In the absence of his main rival Jeremy Wariner, Merritt posted a respectable time of 43.98 secs. Twice an Olympic 400m hurdles champion Angelo Taylor demonstrated his talent on the flat, finishing second behind Merritt in 44.38 secs. * Reuters