Tuesday 21 November 2017

'Rocket Man' Bolt fires warning to World rivals

Usain Bolt strikes a familiar pose after winning the 100m race in London last night
Usain Bolt strikes a familiar pose after winning the 100m race in London last night

Guy Aspin

Rocket man Usain Bolt recovered from an awful start to light up the Olympic Stadium once again tonight as he won the 100m in 9.85 seconds.

The Jamaican returned to the scene of his London 2012 triple triumph, but was made to sweat before blasting through to take the victory.

The 26-year-old entered the arena atop a missile for his customary lap of honour before the action, but he was not at his invincible best ahead of next month's World Championships. It was still his fastest time of the year, though, and he was a comfortable winner, with second-placed Mike Rodgers well adrift in 9.98secs.

Britain's newest sprint star James Dasaolu was unable to test himself against the world's fastest man. Dasaolu, who ran 9.91s in Birmingham earlier this month, withdrew as a precaution after feeling a tight hip flexor in the warm-up.


Flashbulbs galore and a roar to rival those heard at the Olympics greeted Bolt when he was introduced to the crowd ahead of the race.

His time was an improvement on his previous best this year of 9.94 and lifted him up to second in the rankings behind Tyson Gay, who is under a doping cloud, but it was still relatively sluggish by his stratospheric standards.

Not that that really bothered the capacity 60,000 crowd in east London as they relived London 2012 one year on for the first of the three-day Anniversary Games.

The Jamaican was back at the venue where he became a self-proclaimed "legend" by defending his 100m, 200m and 4x100m titles and lapped up the acclaim.

Bolt said: "The crowd here is unbelievable. They're wonderful. It's good to be back here. I've got a lot of love for this stadium and this crowd. I'm feeling good. It was nice to get the win and I'm confident going in to Moscow."

Bolt's fellow Jamaican Nesta Carter was third in 9.99, with Dwain Chambers fifth in 10.10 in a race run in balmy conditions.

The feelgood factor of last summer was in full evidence around the Olympic Park beforehand as fans kitted out in London 2012 gear assembled in the sun.

Fans had queued up at the gates from the afternoon in the forlorn hope of getting tickets, with the stadium long since sold out for the event.

There was certainly a party atmosphere inside the stadium, with every British athlete greeted with the cheer they could not get enough of last year.

Ever the showman, Bolt performed a lap of honour for his adoring fans at the end, even throwing his spikes into the crowd.

After all, this was the world's fastest man's first appearance on these shores outside of the Olympics since 2009, with Chancellor George Osborne granting a one-off tax exemption for overseas athletes taking part.

London Anniversary Games,

Live, BBC 1, 1.30

Irish Independent

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