Bolt clocks his season's best

Bekele, Isinbayeva, Stewart, Sanya stay in contention for jackpot


Usain Bolt races past Daniel Bailey (left) and Yohan Blake (second from left) to win the 100M gold. afp

His time was only marginally slower than the 9.77 seconds run by US rival Tyson Gay in Rome last week -- the fastest mark of the year so far.

Bolt, who holds the 100 record with 9.69 seconds set at the Beijing Olympic Games last year, was slow out of the blocks on Friday but pulled clear of the field after the first 50 metres.

"It was not the perfect race, but it was good enough for me. I had a bad start in bad weather so it's a good result," he said afterwards, adding that he had played it safe.

He chalked up his previous best of the year of 9.86 seconds in June and Bolt said he would only take part in one more meeting, in London next week, before the Berlin World championships in August.

Bolt is the favourite to steal Gay's 100 and 200 metre crowns in Berlin and he did not face any of his main rivals in Paris. Daniel Bailey of Antigua came second on Friday in 9.91 seconds and Jamaican Yohan Blake third in 9.93.

The unseasonal cold cast a pall over all the events at the Paris meeting with few athletes able to shine in the gloom.

However, it was a good evening for the quartet of athletes still in the running for a cut of the $1 million jackpot that will be shared out between those who win at all six Golden League meetings this year.

Olympic 5,000 metre and 10,000 metre champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia completed his fourth consecutive victory in the galas, winning the 3,000 metres in seven minutes, 28.64 seconds.

US World 1,500 metre and 5,000 metre champion Bernard Lagat came second in 7:33.15.
"Conditions were difficult. It was very windy. It was difficult also for all the others, but when you are in front it's even more difficult," said Bekele.

The other three contenders for the $1 million jackpot -- Jamaica's Kerron Stewart (100M), American Sanya Richards (400M) and Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva (Pole Vault) -- all maintained their 100 percent records with relative ease.

Results: Men's: 100M: Usain Bolt (Jamaica, 9.79) 1; Daniel Bailey (Antigua and Barbuda, 9.91) 2; Yohan Blake (Jamaica, 9.93) 3. 400M: Jeremy Wariner (US, 45.28) 1; Chris Brown (Bahamas, 45.44) 2; Leslie Djhone (France, 45.47) 3. 800M: Ismail Ahmed Ismail (Sudan, 1:45.85) 1; Nadjim Manseur (Algeria, 1:46.31) 2; Khadevis Robinson (US, 1:46.47) 3.

3000M: Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia, 7:28.64) 1; Bernard Lagat (US, 7:33.15) 2; Morhad Amdouni (France, 7:37.50) 3. 110M Hurdles: Dexter Faulk (US, 13.14) 1; Dwight Thomas (Jamaica, 13.30) 2; Garfield Darien (France, 13.39) 3. 3000M Steeplechase: Mahiedine Mekhissi-Benabbad (France, 8:13.23) 1; Ezekiel Kemboi (Kenya, 8:15.27) 2; Jukka Keskisalo (Finland, 8:15.59) 3. Pole Vault: Renaud Lavillenie (France, 5.70) 1; Damiel Dossevi (France, 5.60) 2; Malte Mohr (Germany, 5.45) 3. Triple Jump: Phillips Idowu (Britain, 17.17) 1; Jadel Gregorio (Brazil, 17.12) 2; David Giralt (Cuba, 17.07) 3. Javelin Throw: Andreas Thorkildsen (Norway, 88.03) 1; Tero Pitkaemaeki (Finland, 86.68) 2; Vadims Vasilevskis (Latvia, 82.82) 3.

Women's:
100M: Kerron Stewart (Jamaica, 10.99) 1; Chandra Sturrup (Bahamas, 11.15) 2; Aleen Bailey (Jamaica, 11.26) 3. 400M: Sanya Richards (US, 49.34) 1; Novlene Williams (Jamaica, 50.39) 2; Amantle Montsho (Botswana, 50.61) 3. 800M: Anna Willard (US, 1:58.80) 1; Elisa Cusma Piccione (Italy, 1:58.99) 2; Oksana Zbrozhek (Russia, 1:59.13) 3. 100M Hurdles: Dawn Harper (US, 12.68) 1; Michelle Perry (US, 12.75) 2; Virginia Powell (US, 12.81) 3. 400M Hurdles: Anna Jesien (Poland, 54.37) 1; Melaine Walker (Jamaica, 54.47) 2; Tiffany Ross-Williams (US, 54.72) 3. High Jump: Blanka Vlasic (Croatia, 1.99) 1; Anna Chicherova (Russia, 1.97) 2; Antonietta Di Martino (Italy, 1.97) 3. Pole Vault: Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia, 4.65) 1; Svetlana Feofanova (Russia, 4.55) 2; Anna Rogowska (Poland, 4.55) 3.

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