Two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica reasserted her authority over American Carmelita Jeter, while sprint stars Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake both set meeting records at the Zurich Diamond League meet yesterday.
The win gave Fraser-Pryce her first 'diamond', with the diminutive Jamaican joining two of her compatriots, Nickel Ashmeade (200m) and Kaliese Spencer (400m hurdles) as Diamond League winners in their respective events. Spencer did not compete in Zurich but has an unassailable 16 points with one outing left in the series.
Jolted by two defeats in the 100 metres to her American rival in the past week, Fraser-Pryce was fast out of the blocks and never looked troubled as she crossed the line in 10.83 seconds with Jeter clocking 10.97. Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix of the United States was third in 11.02 while Jamaica's Kerron Stewart took sixth in 11.25. Trinidad and Tobago's Kelly-Ann Baptiste was disqualified following a false start.
BOLT TAKE 200M
Bolt and Blake were just too good for their rivals. The hottest star attractions in athletics continued to fulfil their post-London Olympics plan of dividing the glamour sprints between them - and making fast times seem routine.
Bolt playfully shivered for the television cameras at the 200 metres starting line, then timed 19.66 in the fastest half-lap race ever seen in Zurich.
"Running after the Olympics is much more fun. It is less stress. The fans make me enjoy it," Bolt said.
Jamaicans took the first four places in the event. Ashmeade was second in a personal best of 19.85, but finished the series with 15 points, three more than Bolt, who competed in fewer 200m races. Jason Young took third in 20.08, while Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir was fourth in 20.18.
BLAKE WINS, GAY EJECTED
Earlier in the 100 metres, fellow Jamaican Blake blazed to a dominating victory in 9.76, after Tyson Gay of the United States was disqualified for a false start. Fellow Jamaican Nesta Carter was second in 9.95, and Michael Frater was fifth in 10.04.
Blake ran perhaps a technically better race than Bolt, and used a chilling 1.4 metres per second wind to accelerate clear of Olympic relay teammate Carter.
"Bad weather cannot stop me. Next year, I can be even better," said Blake, who will defend his 100-metre World title in Moscow next August.
The 22-year-old Blake ran 0.01 faster than Asafa Powell here in 2006, which was good enough then to equal Powell's own world record.
Bolt will complete his season over 100m next Thursday when Brussels hosts the second half of the Diamond League finals. Blake will run the 200m there.
Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross of the US extended her season-ending good form, winning in 50.21 seconds, beating Botswana's Amantle Montsho, 50.33, and Jamaica's Rosemarie Whyte, 50.41.
There was a major surprise in the 800m as Olympic champion David Rudisha was beaten by Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia. Rudisha was targeting the world record he set at the London Games but said he was unsettled by the poor weather. Rudisha arrived at Zurich with the stated aim of lowering the 1 minute 40.91 world mark he set on a warm London evening three weeks ago.
In swirling winds and steady rain, Rudisha was paced through the first lap but could not get very far ahead of Aman on the back straight and was headed coming off the final bend.
"My legs felt tired and I cannot run good if the weather is not good," Rudisha said. "The race was good, really. It was the rain that stopped me."
The Ethiopian winner timed 1:42.53 to take two-thirds of a second off his personal best set when placing sixth in the Olympic final.
"Hopefully, next year I will beat the world record," Aman said.