A flat-looking Usain Bolt raced his worst 100m in three years in Ostrava on Friday, still managing to claim victory after he recovered sufficiently from a dreadful start and a limp drive phase.
The Jamaican double Olympic sprint champion clocked 10.04 seconds, some distance off the 9.7 second time he was seeking to build on his season-opening 9.82 seconds earlier this month.
A false start played its part, throwing a distinctly average field into automatic play-safe mode.
Into a 0.8m/s headwind, Bolt grimaced his way from the 50m mark and did enough to beat home veteran Kim Collins of St Kitts and St Nevis (10.19 seconds) with American Darivs Patton third (10.22 seconds).
Elsewhere on the track, defending Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo of Kenya fired a broadside at South African pretender Caster Semenya with a convincing victory in the women’s 800m.
Jelimo, also the newly crowned world indoor champion, but who missed almost three years of competition after her Beijing Games triumph through injury, dominated the race to win in 1 minute, 58.49 seconds, with Semenya in second in 2 minutes, 80 seconds.
Semenya, with doubts over her real gender long buried in her past, left her push for the line too late.
The South African settled in at the back of the pack and only kicked with 150m to go.
By that stage, Jelimo had kicked and there was too much for Semenya, now coached by Mozambique running legend Maria Mutola, to make up.
There was more South African disappointment when double amputee Oscar Pistorius raced a horrendous 400m in his ongoing bid to nail qualification for the able-bodied Olympics.
The 25-year-old South African, who runs with carbon-fiber artificial “blades,” came in a sorry eighth and last in 47.66 seconds, 2.54 seconds off US winner LaShawn Merritt and far away from the 45.70 seconds he needs to run to ensure his participation at the London Games.