Bolt sets meeting record in Zurich 200m
ATHLETICS/DIAMOND LEAGUE:NO WORLD records and still the Weltklasse in Zurich lived up to reputation, Usain Bolt defying the cold and wet conditions to set a meeting record over 200m.
Even without “executing” very well, as he said himself, Bolt clocked 19.66 seconds, the big Jamaican mimicking a shiver on the start line to emphasise the coolness of the Swiss night.
“Racing here it is all about the fans,” said Bolt, “and I do love it here. I know what they want to see, and I want to give it my best, always.”
It definitely wasn’t his smoothest race this season, either, yet Bolt still did more than enough to win, looking as comfortable as ever as Jamaican team-mate Nickel Ashmeade chased him home in second place, clocking a season best of 19.85.
It definitely wasn’t as quick either as the 19.32 Bolt clocked when motoring to the defence of his Olympic title earlier this month, but coming towards the end of the season, he looked perfectly content nonetheless.
Bolt will now have one more race, moving back down to 100m for the Brussels Diamond League meeting next Friday night.
The Letzigrund Stadium was a sell-out, and while Bolt was the headline act, Kenya’s David Rudisha was given top world record billing as he looked to improve on the 1:40.91 he set when winning the Olympic 800m in London.
Well, things didn’t work out as planned, and instead Rudisha was beaten into second place by the young Ethiopian Mohammed Aman, who in fact inflicted a similar defeat on Rudisha at the end of last year, ending his then 34-meet winning streak.
Rudisha has a famous dislike of the cold, wet weather – and won’t even train when it’s raining – and indeed never looked comfortable.
Kenyan team-mate Sammy Tangui hit the bell in 49.59 and even then Rudisha didn’t look happy, and so coming down the final straight, the 18-year-old Aman gunned him down, winning in an Ethiopian record of 1:42.53, with Rudisha a tired-looking second, his 1:42.81 still a truly world-class time.
“The pace was okay, but I really don’t like the track when it’s wet and raining,” admitted Rudisha, “but I am still very happy with this year, that I’ve achieved all of my goals.”
The penultimate stop in the IAAF Diamond League, not even Zurich’s world-class billing could pitch Bolt against his Jamaican team-mate and training partner Yohan Blake, who like Lausanne last week, ran the 100m, and once again had it all his own way too, also clocking a meeting record of 9.76 seconds, with apparent ease, although that was still a little down on the 9.69 he ran in Lausanne a week ago.
With the American Tyson Gay false-starting, Blake wasn’t troubled at all, with Jamaica claiming second there as well, as Nester Carter ran a season best of 9.95.
The women’s 100m also saw a false start which eliminated Shelly-Ann Baptise, although no one was about to stop fellow Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the Olympic champion, running a brilliant 10.83 seconds into a slight headwind.
A typically African-dominated 5,000m was won by the young Kenyan Isiah Koech, striking from the front to in 12:58.99, thanks to a 55-second last lap: like Aman he too is still only 18.
There was some world-class high jumping for the second week in succession, when Olympic champion Ivan Ukhov took the honours, this time with a best of 2.31, with Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Robbie Grabarz taking second with his 2.28 – enough to give him the overall Diamond League honours, worth a tidy €40,000.