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Bolt (9.83) wins easily

August 30, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Usain Bolt easily won the 100 meters in 9.83 seconds Friday night in the Weltklasse meet at Zurich, Switzerland, his first competition since a record-shattering performance in the Beijing Olympics.

Bolt's return was nearly upstaged by Pamela Jelimo, an 18-year-old Kenyan who won the women's 800 in 1 minute 54.01 seconds, the fastest time in more than two decades and the third-fastest in history at the distance.

Bolt, who broke world records in the 100 (9.69), 200 (19.30) and 400 relay (37.10) in China, was the undoubted main attraction for the capacity crowd of 26,000 at a meet that calls itself "the Olympics in one night."

Yet the 22-year-old Jamaican was never likely to threaten the world record-time of 9.69 seconds he set in his astonishing run to Olympic gold.

Bolt was slowest of the nine starters to react to the gun, and it was fully 20 meters before he pulled his 6-foot-5 frame into the lead.

He drew clear of American Walter Dix by the 60-meter mark, but there was no trademark showboating as he eased smoothly to the line. Beijing bronze medalist Dix was second in 9.99 and silver medalist Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago third in 10.09.

"You can't really compare it to the Olympics," Bolt said. "The Olympics bring so much pressure. It was easy here. As I'm starting to get a cold I was not able to think about any faster time. My coach told me that I should make sure to end the season healthy."

Running minutes before Bolt, Jelimo improved her gold medal effort in Beijing by almost a second to run away from the field in the women's 800.

Her time of 1:54.01 was a new African and world junior record and left her 0.73 of a second off the world record set by Czech Jarmila Kratochvilova in 1983.

Americans Jeremy Wariner and Lolo Jones, both coming off defeats at the Olympics, won the men's 400 and women's 100 hurdles, respectively. Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia followed up his 5,000-10,000 gold medal double by running the fastest 5,000 in the world this year.

Wariner ran a strong turn to hold off Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt, running lane three inside him, and kicked clear in the final straight to win in 43.82. Jones won the 100 hurdles in 12.56.

The Weltklasse crowd rose to honor Bekele in the 5,000 as the double Olympic champion ran a strong final lap to cross the line in 12:50.18.

Olympic champion Dayron Robles of Cuba was pushed all the way to the line in the 110 hurdles by American David Oliver. Robles won in 12.97 seconds, one-hundredth ahead of Beijing bronze medalist Oliver.

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