ZURICH (AP):Usain Bolt considered it his worst race of the season, yet he still won the 100 metres at the Weltklasse Diamond League meet in 9.90 seconds.
The world and Olympic champion had the slowest reaction out of the starting blocks and was led deep into the race yesterday by fellow Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade.
Bolt got down to work and muscled through the slight headwind to hit the front at the 85-metre mark. Ashmeade clocked 9.94 for second place, and Justin Gatlin of the United States was third in 9.96.
"That was the worst race of the season," said Bolt, who timed 9.95 when losing to Gatlin in Rome in June. "The longer the season goes, the worse my style gets. This race, it was really hard. I was a little sore. It's time to get home now."
With a parade of new world champions in action, the sold-out Zurich stadium fell silent to watch Ukrainian high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko's latest attempt to break the 20-year-old world record of 2.45 metres set by Javier Sotomayor of Cuba.
But Bondarenko crashed through the bar at 2.46. He had earlier won the event with a clearance at 2.33.
In a stirring women's 5,000 metres duel between Ethiopian greats, Meseret Defar surged past Tirunesh Dibaba in the final straight.
Still, Bolt was the main attraction as usual and put on a typical pre-race act for the crowd, taking centre stage seconds after Bondarenko's record attempt.
On a cool evening, Bolt laboured at the start and a rare defeat seemed possible at halfway.
"The more I run, the worse my reaction time gets," Bolt acknowledged. "My coach (Glen Mills) knows that when it comes to the end of the season, I am not the perfect athlete."
Like Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica completed the sprint gold triple of 100, 200 and 4x100 relay this month at the world championships in Moscow. She won a low-key 200 in 22.40 yesterday. In the women's 100 metres Carrie Russell of Jamaica clocked a personal best 10.98 to beat American Alexandria Anderson, 11.02 and Germany's Verena Sailer, 11.21.
For once, distance runners took the spotlight with a rare Defar vs. Dibaba clash outside a major championship.
Dibaba, the world and Olympic champion at 10,000, forced a front running pace at the bell, with world and Olympic 5,000 champion Defar poised on her shoulder entering the final straight.
Defar passed her great rival with 70 metres to go and extended her lead all the way to the finish, crossing in 14 minutes 32.83 seconds. Dibaba timed 14:34.82.
Americans David Oliver, LaShawn Merritt and Nick Symmonds ran to victories in the 110m hurdles, 400 and 800, respectively.
World champion Oliver was a clear winner in 13.12 in the hurdles, and Symmonds clocked 1:43.57 in the 800, just two-hundredths outside his season's best set when taking silver in Moscow.
Merritt timed 44.13 to win after holding off a strong challenge from Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada.
MEN100m: 1. Usain Bolt Jamaica, 9.90 seconds. 2. Nickel Ashmeade, Jamaica, 9.94. 3. Justin Gatlin, United States, 9.96. 4. Jimmy Vicaut, France, 9.98. 6, Nesta Carter, Jamaica, 10.01. 7. Kemar Bailey-Cole, Jamaica 10.02.
400m: 1. LaShawn Merritt, United States, 44.13. 2. Kirani James, Grenada, 44.32. 3. Pavel Maslak, Czech Republic, 44.91. 4. Luguelin Santos, Dominican Republic, 44.93.
WOMEN100m: 1. Carrie Russell, Jamaica, 10.98 (personal best). 2. Alexandria Anderson, United States, 11.02. 3. Verena Sailer, Germany, 11.21. 4. Kerron Stewart, Jamaica, 11.28. 5. Natasha Morrison, Jamaica, 11.33.
200m: 1. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica, 22.40. 2. Murielle Ahoure, Ivory Coast, 22.66. 3. Mariya Ryemyen, Ukraine, 22.67. 4. Charonda Williams, United States, 22.84.
5,000m: 1. Meseret Defar, Ethiopia, 14:32.83. 2. Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia, 14:34.82. 3. Mercy Cherono, Kenya, 14:40.33. 4. Emily Chebet, Kenya, 14:46.89.
400m hurdles: 1. Zuzana Hejnova, Czech Republic, 53.32. 2. Kaliese Spencer, Jamaica, 54.22. 3. Denisa Rosolova, Czech Republic, 54.99. 4. Hanna Titimets, Ukraine, 55.05.
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