Kingston, JamaicaOlympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt, in his long anticipated season opener, and World 100m winner Yohan Blake were impressive on Saturday here at the UTech Classic (14).
First, both teamed up for what many believe would be the hottest 4x100m relay before this summer’s Olympic Games, and then Blake delivered the year’s first sub-10 second run over 100m.
In the Racers Track Club vs MVP Track Club 4x100m, Bolt anchored Racers TC team to a world leading meet record at 4x100m of 37.82.
Lead-off man Mario Forsythe, left behind Britain’s /MVP Dwain Chambers, before handing off to Blake, who never gave Michael Frater any chance to get back on the backstretch. Although Nesta Carter made up some ground on Kimmari Roach, MVP’s top man Asafa Powell was not going to catch Bolt running from behind, and it was no surprise when it ended the same with Racers in a world leading and meet record 37.82secs to MVP’s 38.27.
Bolt believes top clashes like these, which had the small crowd on its feet the entire race, are good for the spectators. “It’s always good to run with each other, it’s always good for the crowd because they always come out to see a good meet, so it was good.”
He commented on his first outing of the season. “It’s my first run, and I am happy, I got through it… It was a little bit chilly, because of the rain, but this is what we used to it Europe. I went out, just executed and I felt good.”
Powell, who watched as Bolt collected the baton, said it was always going to be hard beating Bolt from behind. “It was a good race. I knew if Usain got the stick in front of me it would be hard to catch him, so I wasn’t really trying too hard to catch him.”
Powell said the baton changes weren’t the best and “I was expecting a lot more from the guys, but they did their best. I felt good coming down, I crossed the line healthy. I am still happy, I still have a lot of work to do.”
Later in the evening, Blake, running in heavy drizzle, and despite not having the best of starts, separated himself from the field after matching stride for stride with Jacques Harvey of UTech for the first half of the race.
Blake’s last 30 metres, usually being the most impressive, was all alone after 60 metres and crossed the line in 9.90 seconds. Blake took two youngsters, Harvey who did 10.10 and Sheldon Mitchell 10.18, with him to personal best times. Oshane Bailey, the 2010 National champion, was fourth, also in 10.18
Blake, who told journalists, “I am a bit ahead of schedule” believes he could have gone faster if it wasn’t for the condition. “I feel good knowing that I could run fast today, but given the condition I will have to work with it.”
Blake said the 9.90 is an indication of what to expect later this season.
Meanwhile, Rosemarie Whyte delivered the evening’s other world season leading mark, 51.13 to win the women’s 400m race. She beat Anneisha McLaughlin 52.49 and Stephenie McPherson 52.98.
Former Jamaica national champion Oral Thompson of Swept Track Club, 45.95secs, was the only runner to dip under 45secs in the men’s 400m.
Carter ran 20.48 in the men’s 200m to beat Antiguan Daniel Bailey, who was representing Racers Track Club, 20.60secs.
Rushell Clayton of Mico University College ran a personal best 57.67secs to win the women’s 400m Hurdles while Jade Bailey of Barbados took the women’s 200m in 23.89.
UTech’s O'Dayne Richards threw a meet record of 18.89m in the men’s Shot Put to beat GC Foster College’s Raymond Brown 18.40m.
Anthony Foster for the IAAF
Click here for RESULTS