Bolt dominates as Shanghai cheers on Liu
World and Olympic triple gold medallist Usain Bolt launched his IAAF
Diamond League campaign in Shanghai on Sunday with a comfortable 200m
win in 19.76 seconds. Bolt, who holds the world record of 19.19, was the
only man to break the 20-second barrier, with American Angelo Taylor
second in 20.34 followed by American Ryan Bailey in 20.43. “It was a
good run, the feeling was good but it was not easy. I am not in the best
shape but enjoyed it,” Bolt said. “I look forward to the next race.”
Bolt and Chinese hurdling star Liu Xiang were highlight attractions
at the second stop of the 14-event Diamond League competition.
It was his first race in China since his triple-gold Olympic
performance at the 2008 Beijing Games and the crowd roared him on as he
jogged a victory lap around the stadium.
“I really wanted a good time, I’m not going to China very often,”
Bolt ran 9.86 seconds - the fastest time of the year so far - to win
his season-opening 100m at South Korea’s Daegu Pre-Championships Meeting
last week. His fastest 200m of the season was 19.56 in Kingston earlier
The 100m and 200m world record holder is being pursued by American
Tyson Gay and fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell, who have both made it clear
they aim to beat him this year - and Bolt himself has said it could be
the season to do it.
But with Gay and Powell staying away from Shanghai, Bolt dominated
the 200m race, part of what he is calling an “off-season” in which he
intends to get as much rest as possible ahead of next year’s world
Bolt’s 200m race in Shanghai helps set the stage for three upcoming
Diamond League showdowns with Gay, who fired a new warning in Bolt’s
direction by shattering the 44-year-old straight line 200m world record
on May 18. Fans screamed as Chinese star Liu stepped on to the track for
the men’s 110m hurdles. Liu, who complained of pain in his Achilles
tendon before the race, defied his own expectations with a third-place
finish of 13.40 seconds.
American David Oliver won the race with the fastest time of the
season at 12.99 and China’s Shi Dongpeng was second at 13.39.
But all eyes seemed to be on hometown hero Liu who is seeking to
regain world-class form after finishing seventh in his international
return at the World Indoor Championships in March.
Liu, who became the first Chinese man to win Olympics track and field
gold at the 2004 Athens Games, is striving for his one-time
record-breaking form after an Achilles heel injury force him out of the
2008 Beijing Olympics.
US sprinter Carmelita Jeter continued her women’s 100m winning streak
with a time of 11.09 seconds. World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser of
Jamaica came second finishing in 11.29 seconds.
The Diamond League awards points depending on performances throughout
the 14-event programme with the winners of the 16 meets taking home a
diamond trophy and a cash prize.
For next round, the Diamond League moves to Oslo for its first
European stop on June 4.