'I could have done better'
- Bolt reflects after slamming field to win Zagreb 100m
ZAGREB, Croatia (CMC):
Usain Bolt continued to rebuild his air of invincibility with a peerless victory in the men's 100 metres in an IAAF World Challenge meet yesterday.
The world sprint king from Jamaica put his false-start disqualification at the recent World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, firmly behind him, when he clocked a season's best 9.85 seconds in the first 100 he has contested since that ill-fated trip to the start line.
"It was a poor start," said Bolt. "I kind of lost concentration and just went through the line. It was OK, I suppose, but I could have done better, especially with the weather like this."
There was standing room only at the 61st Boris Hanzekovic Memorial,where Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and club official Emilio Butragueno arrived in time to see Bolt in action. Madrid kick off their Champions League campaign at Dinamo Zagreb today.
"It was wonderful, the crowd here," Bolt said. "I loved that they were excited and that the fans come up to me. I'm always grateful for that."
However, security had trouble controlling the crowd as 'Boltmania' took hold when he celebrated with delirious fans.
"It's not as bad in Jamaica, where they see me every day," Bolt laughed.
The Jamaican star's news conference was cut short when too many journalists tried to force their way into the room.
Bolt came under pressure early in the race, but finished well ahead of ageless World bronze medallist, Kim Collins, the former World champion from St Kitts & Nevis, with a season's best 10.01 seconds, two-hundredths of a second ahead of Richard Thompson of Trinidad & Tobago.
Mario Forsythe, another Jamaican, finished fifth in 10.16.
Bolt was one of three Jamaicans who grabbed victories on the programme.
Novlene Williams-Mills redeemed herself, following a disappointing World Championships, with a morale-boosting victory in the women's 400.
Williams-Mills won in a meet record time of 50.31 seconds, prevailing over World silver medallist Anastasiya Kapachinskaya of Russia by nine hundredths-of-a-second, with Shericka Williams running third in 50.45.
Sprinter Schillonie Calvert followed up a runner-up position (11.13) behind World champion Carmelita Jeter (11.00) in the women's 100 with a victory in the 200.
Calvert led a 1-2 finish for the Jamaicans in the half-lap, finishing with a time of 22.55 ahead of Sherone Simpson (22.95) and Bahamian veteran Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie (22.97).
Jeter won the 100 in 11 seconds flat, with Bulgaria's Ivet Lalova finishing third in 11.33 seconds.
Trinidad & Tobago quarter-miler Renny Quow was the only other English-speaking Caribbean athlete to make it to the podium, with a third-place finish in the men's 400 in a time of 45.95, edging out Dominica's Erison Hurtault (46.21).
American LaShawn Merritt used the absence of World champion Kirani James of Grenada to give a gentle reminder, with a victory in 45.22 ahead of compatriot Greg Nixon (45.73).
National record holder Dwight Thomas of Jamaica ran 13.25, finishing fourth in the men's 110 hurdles, which was won by Dayron Robles of Cuba in 13 seconds flat.
Robles, who finished first at the World Championships but was disqualified after clashing hands with China's Liu Xiang, beat newly crowned world champion Jason Richardson (13.04) of the USA. Another American, David Oliver (13.20), finished third.