Bolt runs season’s fastest 200m in Diamond League


Mon, Jul 08, 2013 - Page 19

Usain Bolt ran the fastest 20m of the season on Saturday with a time of 19.73 seconds at the Areva Diamond League meet in Paris.

Bolt shaved 0.01 seconds off the previous best time of the year, set by US sprinter Tyson Gay at the US trials last month.

Fellow Jamaican Warren Weir was second in 19.92, ahead of former European champion Christophe Lemaitre in 20.07.

Bolt will next compete in the 100m and 4x100m relay in London on July 26 and July 27 in a one-year anniversary event for last year’s Olympics.

That will be his final major meeting before the worlds, which start on Aug. 10.

In other events at Areva, the ninth leg in the Diamond League circuit, Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada clocked a world-leading 43.96 in the men’s 400m, beating Americans LaShawn Merritt (44.09) and Tony McQuay (44.84).

“Today in comparison with previous races, I had a little bit better first 200,” James said. “You need to always pay attention to runners like LaShawn. If he would be too far ahead, it would be tough to beat him.”

James caught Merritt in the backstretch, before running away on the final straight.

“I could have done better,” Merritt said. “Some parts of my race were slower than they should be, but I will correct it. To win in Moscow, I need to use my speed. That is the key.”

Merritt won gold at the 2008 Olympics and the world title in 2009, before a 21-month suspension for failing a doping test.

Three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia ran 14:23.68 in the women’s 5,000m, also a world-leading time this season.

In the women’s 100m, Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce held off a late charge from Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria to win by one hundredth of a second in 10.92. US champion English Gardner finished a distant fifth in 11.13.

World record-holder Aries Merritt of the US led from start to finish to win the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.09. Frenchman Pascal Martinot-Lagarde came second in 13.12, edging US hurdler David Oliver (13.13).

Olympic champion Anna Chicherova of Russia leaped 2.01m at her first attempt to take the women’s high jump, 3cm higher than US champion Brigetta Barrett in second and former world champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia in third.

The next leg Diamond League meet is in Monaco on July 19.