Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Regional gems dazzle


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LAUSANNE, Switzerland – Olympic legend Usain Bolt and his Jamaican heir apparent Yohan Blake set new meet records as they swept both sprints at the Lausanne Diamond League yesterday.
Bolt darted to a brisk 19.58 seconds to win the 200 metres while Blake clocked a personal best 9.69 to dismiss his field.
There was also success for Grenada’s newly crowned Olympic champion Kirani James who extended his growing dominance in the 400 metres with another handsome win.
In his first appearance since repeating as double sprint champion at the London Olympics earlier this month, Bolt appeared in fine form as he easily clipped his field to get home comfortably.
Running out of lane six, Bolt was away quickly and burst through the curve ahead of his field to stride to the finish unchallenged.
“I am very happy with how things turned out here tonight ­– 19.58 is a very good time and I am more than satisfied. This season has not always been great but I am thrilled with the way it is finishing,” the 26-year-old said.
“I have always enjoyed coming to Lausanne and I love the atmosphere in this stadium. The track is fast so you could see great results in the sprints tonight.”
He added: “I am very happy for Yohan Blake, too. I knew he was going to push real hard tonight and 9.69 is a wonderful result.”
Dutchman Churandy Martina, who clocked a national record 19.85 seconds, was second.
Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade finished third in a season-best 19.94 while Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir finished fifth in 20.03.
Blake, a double sprint silver medallist at London 2012, was also impressive in his first outing since the 30th Olympiad.
He stormed out of the blocks in lane four to lead from start to finish, easily brushing off former World champion, American Tyson Gay who was second in 9.83 seconds.
“I knew I was fast,” Blake said afterward. “Today I finally proved it.”
The time eclipsed Blake’s previous personal best of 9.75 which he clocked when he followed home Bolt at the London Olympic Stadium earlier this month.
Jamaican Nesta Carter was third in a season-best 9.95 seconds with Trinidadians Keston Bledman (10.14) and Richard Thompson (10.32) bringing up the rear of the field.
James, still nine days shy of his 20th birthday, took victory in a time of 44.37 seconds with the Dominican Republic’s Luguelín Santos second in 45.03.
Trinidadian Lalonde Gordon, who took bronze in London, was seventh in 45.62.
There was defeat, however, for Olympic 100 metres champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce who fell at the hands of her American archrival Carmelita Jeter in a photo finish.
Both were clocked at 10.86 seconds, with Trinidadian Kelly-Ann Baptiste third in 10.93 seconds and Olympic bronze medallist Veronica Campbell-Brown fourth in 10.99.
Jamaican Kaliese Spencer, who narrowly missed out on a medal in London when she finished fourth, clocked a season-best 53.49 to win the 400 metres hurdles. (CMC)


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