x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Sprinter sets bar even higher after winning the fastest race in history

A year after amazing the world in Beijing at the Olympics, 'Lightning' Bolt rocketed to World Championship gold in an astonishing world record time of 9.58secs on Sunday night.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates after winning the men's 100m final in Berlin. Bolt set a new world record.
Jamaica's Usain Bolt celebrates after winning the men's 100m final in Berlin. Bolt set a new world record.

Apparently, lightning does not strike twice; unless your name is Usain Bolt that is. A year after amazing the world in Beijing at the Olympics, 'Lightning' Bolt rocketed to World Championship gold in an astonishing world record time of 9.58secs on Sunday night. As Berlin's Olympic Stadium - a venue already etched in athletics' pantheon courtesy of Jesse Owens's heroics in 1936 - witnessed arguably the greatest 100m race of all time.

Bolt, somewhat inevitably, was the big name, knocking 11 hundredths of a second off his record-breaking Olympic run. "I was ready, I knew it was going to be a great race and I came out and executed it. It's a great time - I feel good in myself," said Bolt. For the first time in 100m history, five of the eight finalists ran in less than 9.93secs. None of them - not even Tyson Gay, whose 9.71secs effort is the third-fastest time recorded - challenged the world's fastest man.

As Gay sweated anxiously in the starting blocks, Bolt smiled and winked at TV cameras, before shouting: "I'm ready. Are you ready? Let's go!" The gun sounded and by the time Bolt hit full stride 50 metres in, Gay's slim hopes of defending his title were shattered - a silver medal and a new national record his sole rewards. Attentions now turn to the 200m Bolt-Gay face-off, which begins today with the first round heats, and whether Bolt can break his own 200m record of 19.30secs. The man he edged from top spot, America's Michael Johnson, is glad he was not among the Jamaican's competition.

"It's truly unbelievable what [Bolt] can do. "I think about the people who have to run against him, and I'm glad I'm not one of them," Johnson said. Gay, the most high profile of Bolt's rivals, concurs there seems to be no limit to the world record holder's potential to re-write history. "I'm happy he ran 9.58 because I knew he could do it. I'm happy for him," he said. Gay will be less content if, as expected, Bolt reproduces his velocity in tomorrow's heats.

emegson@thenational.ae