Bolt runs 9.79 in the rain; jackpot quartet still alive (Roundup)
Jul 17, 2009, 20:24 GMT
Paris - Usain Bolt flew to a personal season best 9.79 seconds over 100 metres in the rain on Friday at the final Golden League series stop ahead of the world championships.
The three-time Olympic champion and world record holder Bolt moved ahead at the halfway mark of the race as he improved his previous 2009 time of 9.88 seconds by nine hundredth in the Stade de France.
Daniel Bailey of Antigua and Yohan Blake of Jamaica ran personal bests of 9.91 and 9.93 seconds, respectively, to finish behind Bolt.
Bolt moved within two hundredth of the world-leading 9.77 seconds American world champion Tyson Gay ran last week in much better conditions in Rome.
'I'm happy ... In these conditions, the time is great. But it was hard to put everything in place, from start to finish,' said Bolt.
'I had a good feeling on the track, it was like flying.'
Bolt also had his best 200m of the year in the rain, 19.59 seconds earlier this month in Lausanne, Switzerland. His 100m world record stands at 9.69 and the 200m mark at 19.30 seconds.
Bolt and Gay have not run against each other this year with the big showdown set for the August 15-23 worlds in Berlin.
They will complete their tuneup next weekend in London, where Bolt will run the 100m and 4x100m while Gay has a 200m race there.
Meanwhile, Yelena Isinbayeva required just one jump on Friday to move within two victories of a 1-million dollar Golden League jackpot along Jamaican sprinter Kerron Stewart, American 400m runner Sanya Richards and Ethiopian distance runner Kenenisa Bekele.
The four athletes have won their event at the first four Golden League stops (Berlin, Oslo, Rome, Paris), with the meets in Zurich and Brussels to follow after the worlds.
Six-time winners win or share the full jackpot. If no athlete manages six victories, 500,000 dollars are won or shared by five-time winners.
Isinbayeva was 40cm below her world record of 5.05m, but decided in deteriorating conditions that it was not worth to continue after one jump for victory with 4.65m. Compatriot Svetlana Feofanova was second with 4.55m and third-placed Anna Rogowska of Poland had the same height.
'The weather was terrible. But I won and that was the most important for me. I am still looking for breaking my world record but I knew I could forget it with this hard rain,' said the world and Olympic champion Isinbayeva.
Stewart just dipped below 11 seconds in the 100m with 10.99 seconds as rain set in. Chandra Sturrup of the Bahamas had 11.15 and Jamaican Aleen Bailey 11.26 for third place.
In the rarely contested 3,000m, the 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic champ Bekele quickly ran away from Kenya-born American 1,500m and 5,000m world champion Bernhard Lagat to win in 7:28.64 minutes. Lagat had a personal best 7:33.15.
'I got a cold during the race. Now I am sick,' said Bekele. 'But I'm very satisfied to be still in the race for the jackpot.'
Richards surged on the home to win the 400m in 49.34 seconds from Jamaican Noviene Williams Mills (50.39) and Amantle Montsho of Botswana (50.61).
'Honestly, I am very satisfied by my victory. It was cold tonight and I am proud I ran under 50,' said Richards, who fell just short of her 2009 world leading 49.23 seconds. In other action, three-time defending world champion Jeremy Wariner won the 400m in a modest 45.28 seconds with a surge on the last 50m. The time was far away from the 2009 world lead 44.50 from fellow-American Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt.
Croatian world champion Blanka Vlasic won the high jump with 1.99m and new French star Renaud Lavillenie took first place in the men's pole vault with a modest 5.70m in the difficult conditions.