Bolt sets new 100m world record
Athletics: Jamaican sprinters electrified the Reebok grand prix in New York yesterday with Usain Bolt setting a new 100 metres world record and Veronica Campbell-Brown posting the fastest time of the year in the women's event.
However, there was disappointment for China's world record holder and Olympic champion Liu Xiang, who had to withdraw from the 110m hurdles due to a tight hamstring.
The 21-year-old Bolt announced he is a genuine force in track and field's Blue Riband event by streaking home in a time of 9.72 seconds, breaking the previous record of 9.74 posted by compatriot Asafa Powell last September.
Bolt, world championship silver medalist in the 200, exploded off the starting line to get an early jump on world champion Tyson Gay and left the American second in 9.85.
"I had the idea that I could run the world record," Bolt said after his stunning win. "I was pretty confident coming in here.
"I wasn't looking for a world record but it came to me today and I'll take it."
Bolt's brilliant performance crowned a great night for Jamaica as world champion Campbell-Brown ran the fastest women's 100 of the year, winning her event in 10.91 seconds, two-hundredths of a second faster than American Allyson Felix's 2008 best.
American Jenn Stuczynski had three tries at setting a women's pole vault record but could not get over the bar set at 5.02 metres, winning the event at 4.80.
But the night belonged to Bolt, who waited out an hour's delay to the start of the meet due to the threat of a thunderstorm, and a 45-minute suspension during the meet forced by thunder and lightning in the area.
Once the air cleared, Bolt struck.
At 1.96m tall Bolt has struggled with his start, but he timed this one beautifully after another runner's false start, breaking out ahead of Gay and was never threatened.
"I was glad for the first false start," Bolt said. "My first start wasn't that good. I knew if I got Tyson on the start I'd get him.
"My coach said concentrate on the drive phase and that's what I did."
Earlier this month, Bolt had stunned the athletics world by running 9.76 in Jamaica, the second fastest time registered and only his third competitive race over the distance.
Gay was gracious in defeat.
"This is definitely great for the sport," he said. "Obviously I have some work to do. Right now, it's hats off to Bolt. Today was his day."
Other top performances included world championship bronze medalist Wallace Spearmon winning the men's 200 in 20.07 seconds, and Paul Koech of Kenya recording the fastest 3,000 steeplechase on US soil with a time of 8:01.85