Brilliant Bolt highlights #RacersGrandPrix
Andre Lowe, Special Projects Editor – Sports
It's not looking good for his rivals.
Usain Bolt literally walked out of his blocks, looked at everyone’s backs, then made light work of one of the toughest 100m fields assembled inside the National Stadium to win in 9.88 seconds (+1.0) at the Jamaica National Racers Grand Prix.
Bolt's time – the second fastest time in the world this year, which came after the six-time Olympic champion had time to take his foot off the gas pedal and look around at everyone else, took him ahead of Nickel Ashmeade and Yohan Blake, who both clocked 9.94 with Asafa Powell finishing fourth in 9.98.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce seems to be shaking off the rust after a disrupted start to her season due to a troublesome toe.
The defending Olympic champion won the women’s 100m in 11.09 seconds to cross the line ahead of Barbara Pierre, 11.11 and Kelly-Ann Baptiste, 11.15.
Wayde van Niekerk, the world champion over 400m, was just as impressive over 300m as he enjoyed a classy win over American Lashawn Merritt, as both men dipped below the previous world leading time in the rarely contested event.
Van Niekerk, who has spent much of the last week training alongside double world record holder and Olympic and world champion over 200m and 100m Usain Bolt, sped to 31.03, leading Merritt, 31.23 and Tony McQuay, 3164 to the line.
“I was very nervous before the start of the event but the crowd really gave me a lot of energy,” said van Niekerk after the event. “Its great to compete with Lashawn Merritt, its like the 400m in Rio and this win has put me in good shape for the rest of the season.”
Merritt pointed to his poor curve but was pleased with his personal best effort.
“I am not a good curve runner and I was a bit off but it was a personal best for me so I am pleased with the time,” Merritt said.
Antigua’s fast rising sprinter Miguel Francis laid waste to his previous personal best in the 100m, romping to his third straight win this season, as he stopped the clock at 19.88 seconds (+1.2).
Julian Forte, 20.18, was first off the curve but had no answer to Francis, with Warren Weir taking third place in 20.23.
Shaunae Miller had to put in some extra work on the stretch but she maintained her unbeaten streak in Jamaica to win the women’s equivalent in a personal best 22.05. Jenna Prandini was next best in 22.39 with Audra Segree taking third in 22.89.
American Johnny Dutch was commanding as improved his season best and world leading (48.36) to win the men’s 400m in 48.10 ahead of Jamaicans Roxroy Cato, 48.98 and Annsert Whyte, 49.25.
“I am really happy that I was able to come here and run fast. The crowd was amazing and they really helped me. I didn’t expect it to feel this easy but I am right where I want to be before the (US Olympics) trials,” Dutch told The Gleaner.
The returning Kenia Sinclair tested Natoya Goule for about 700m but in the end it was the latter who held on for a solid win in the women’s 800m in a time of 2:00.23 with Sinclair, who has had a rough time with injuries, crossing the line in second place in a time of 2:01.32. Charlene Lipsey (USA) was third in 2:01.43.
Shericka Jackson, who was a last minute replacement for Natasha Hastings, showed good power in the last 100m of the one lap event, winning the women’s 400m in 50.72, her fastest time this year, with Day finishing second in 51.22. USA’s Ebony Eutsoy, 51.39 was third.
Danielle Williams, 12.77, was strong in the last phase of the women’s 100m hurdles event but she could not stop the fast starting Sharicka Nelvis, 12.61 with Megan Simmonds finishing third in 13.86.
The men’s 110m hurdles event went to David Oliver in 13.08 ahead of Duece Carter, who clocked a new personal best 13.20, while Jarrett Eaton, 13.28 was third.
Machel Cedenio took control of the race at the 350m mark to win the men’s 400m in 44.37, making him the fifth fastest man in the event so far this season with Bralon Taplin, 44.76 and Javon Francis, 44.81 finishing second and third.
Lars Hamann, produced the best ever throw witnessed inside the National Stadium in the Javelin - 80.73m to win ahead of Petr Frydrych, 78.88m and Riley Dolezai, 75.97m.
The women’s triple jump was won by Nadia Eke with a best effort of 13.51m, ahead of Tamara Myers, 13.48m and Ayanna Alexander, 13.43m.