Bolt blazes to victory in blustery Stockholm
STOCKHOLM, July 30 — Usain Bolt defied blustering winds today to record his first victory in three attempts on Swedish soil with victory over the 200 metres in the Stockholm Diamond League meeting.
The Jamaican Olympic and world 100 and 200 champion cruised comfortably into the curve and powered home in 20.03 seconds.
“It’s awesome to get a first victory here,” Bolt told reporters, adding that he felt a little pain in one side of his back after the race.
“Generally it was a good race despite the fact that I wanted a better time.”
Despite the winds swirling around the 99-year-old stadium, there were some outstanding performances as the competitors fine-tuned their preparations before next month’s world championships in Daegu, South Korea.
Kenya’s Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot ran the third-fastest women’s 5,000 ever, clocking 14:20.87.
“If it wasn’t for the wind she could have taken the world record,” her manager Ricky Simms told Reuters.
A week after 77 people were killed in a bombing and shooting massacre in Norway by anti-Islam attacker Anders Behring Breivik, Norwegian Andreas Thorkildsen was a popular winner in the men’s javelin, posting a winning throw of 88.43 metres.
“It’s hard after last week, but on the runway you don’t think about what happened,” he said.
Russia’s world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva returned from a hand injury to post a season’s best jump of 4.76 metres to win the women’s pole vault ahead of Germany’s Silke Spiegelburg.
Another athlete making a return, albeit for different reasons, was LaShawn Merritt. The American Olympic and world champion came second in the 400 metres in his first race after a 21-month ban for using a banned substance.
South African 800 metres world champion Caster Semenya had a disappointing evening, finishing eighth in a time of 2:01.28.
“It’s a little bit worrying, these are times when I should be running at least below two minutes,” Semenya told Reuters, adding that she and her coach would have to do some “deep thinking”.
American sprinter Carmelita Jeter cruised to victory in the women’s 100 in a time of 11.15. The second-fastest woman ever told Reuters television that the strong headwind had affected her performance.
“Today it was just a case of going out there and getting it done,” she said. — Reuters