Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Bolt back with a bang


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LAUSANNE – Usain Bolt marked his return from a 42-day injury layoff by equalling the year’s fastest time over 100 metres at the IAAF Diamond League meet.The megastar from Jamaica out-sprinted his rivals easily, and clocked 9.82 seconds to equal the year’s fastest time by compatriot Asafa Powell in Rome on June 10.Bolt, the 100 and 200 world record-holder, conceded he felt a slight pain from the Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him for over a month.“I would not say it was painful, but that it takes time to heal,” he said.“I was feeling extremely nice and good. It’s getting better, and the weather was warm, so it was good.”Compatriot Yohan Blake finished second in a personal season’s best time of 9.96 secs, and Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles ran 10.16 to place third, with Jamaican Ainsley Waugh fifth in 10.22, and Antigua and Barbuda’s Brendan Christian sixth in 10.44.The reigning Olympic and world 100 and 200 champion will face Powell next Friday in Paris over the same distance in one of the highlights of the Diamond League season.“It’s going to be something big,” said Bolt.No other English-speaking Caribbean athletes won their events, but they were encouraging performances for several, with Jamaicans Sherone Simpson and Shericka Williams, as well as Churandy Martina of the Netherlands Antilles taking creditable second-place finishes.Martina distinguished himself when he shaved three hundredths-of-a-second off his own Netherlands Antilles men’s 200 record.The 26-year-old clocked 20.08 to finish second behind American Walter Dix, whose time was 19.86, with Jamaican Ainsley Waugh fifth in a season best 20.46.Simpson clocked 11.15 in the women’s 100, where American Carmelita Jeter rebounded from her defeat to Jamaican Veronica Campbell-Brown on home soil over the weekend to win in 10.99.Chandra Sturrup of the Bahamas kept up appearances with a third place finish in 11.18, to be followed by compatriot Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie in 11.27, and Jamaican Sherri-Ann Brooks in 11.35.Olympic and World champion Shelly Ann Fraser of Jamaica did not participate. (CMC)

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