– Usain Bolt’s storming return, along with seven other world season leads, capped a fully entertaining evening of athletics at the Athletissima, the seventh stop on the Samsung Diamond League series.
After a six-week break due to injury, Bolt certainly made his comeback a notable one, cruising to a 9.82 victory (+0.5) to equal the world lead set by his compatriot Asafa Powell in Rome early last month.
“It was more than I expected,” said the double World record holder after his first appearance since an Achilles tendon injury in late May sent him to the sidelines. “I was a little nervous before the race but after a good warm-up I felt better.”
Bolt was originally scheduled to run the 200m, but heeding doctors orders to avoid running a bend – even the wide curve on the Stade de la Pontaise track - he requested and was granted a late hour switch to the shorter distance. It was his first 100m race in nearly two months, and by any measure, a solid success, despite his post-race comment that he did feel some minor pain in his tender Achilles.
“My start wasn’t very good, but the second half was alright,” he said. That’s something he’ll need to improve upon when he meets Powell in Paris in eight days time.
Cautious at the start, the tall Jamaican powered through and finally towered over the field some 60 metres into the race, leaving his only real challenger of the evening, training partner Yohan Blake, behind for good by 70 metres. Bolt’s time barely made it inside his personal top-10 – it falls into the No. 8 position – rendering it almost routine. It’s nonetheless important to bear in mind that only three other men have ever run faster.
Blake performed admirably as well, clocking 9.96 for second, a season’s best just shy of his 9.93 personal best from last year.