Against a strong headwind, Usain Bolt eased to victory in the 100m at the London Grand Prix on Friday in his last race over the distance before the world championships next month.
The Olympic champion and world record holder clocked 9.91 seconds at Crystal Palace.
Another of the sport’s biggest stars, Yelena Isinbayeva, was stunned in the pole vault, losing for the first time in six years.
Anna Rogowska of Poland beat her on a count back. Isinbayeva entered the competition at 4.68m, but cleared it only on her final attempt. The Russian failed three times at 4.78m.
“I’m a little disappointed, it’s unusual for me as I don’t know how to come second,” said Isinbayeva, who last lost a major event in 2003. “I had a really good indoor season and I was hoping to carry that to outdoors, but I have had some injuries which did not help with my training. I am confident for the worlds because I have three weeks before my competition. I will take a rest. I will be in my best shape.”
Bolt was also in high spirits for the worlds in Berlin from Aug. 15 to Aug. 23 after running against a 1.7m/s headwind.
Fellow Jamaican Yohan Blake was second in 10.11 seconds and former world record holder Asafa Powell, who was unbeaten on his three previous visits, finished back in sixth.
“I feel really good about going to Berlin and I’m going there on a mission,” Bolt said. “I’m just glad I got through the race injury free. My start wasn’t the best, but I’m improving and I now have more work to do. I’m in really good shape right now and I don’t see any reason to run myself out. I did well and was proud of myself. I got it right, so I’m happy.”
Bolt is confident of being in top form for the worlds.
“I’m still at 85 percent [fitness] and after this it’s all training. I’ve got two or three weeks of good training to put in,” Bolt said. “So I guess I will be 100 percent by Berlin.”
The 22-year-old Bolt was scheduled to be back on the track yesterday to race in the 4x100m relay. His victory returned the focus of Jamaican athletics back to the track after news emerged on Friday that five of the nation’s athletes — four men and one woman — tested positive for banned substances. There was no suggestion that Bolt, Blake or Powell were implicated.
“As long as I’m clean, I’m just going forward,” Bolt said. “It’s sad for the sport because the sport was getting on so well. I was trying to bring it back. This is probably a step backwards because people start questioning everybody, especially from Jamaica. For me, it doesn’t matter because I will be going out there, day after day, doing my best. I get tested all the time. It shows that people get tested and they get caught if they are on drugs.”
Also on the first day of the south London meet, Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas won the women’s 200m in 23.11 seconds.
Marshevet Hooker of the US withstood a late surge from Emily Freeman to finish second in 23.30 seconds.
“Everyone has been saying I am too old, but a week ago I realized that it has nothing to do with age,” the 33-year-old Ferguson-McKenzie said a week after setting a world-leading time at the Vardinoyiannia meet. “My heart is in it, I am healthy.”
Dayron Robles of Cuba won the 110m hurdles in 13.29 seconds. Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados was second in 13.31 seconds and Andy Turner of Britain was third in 13.31 seconds.