USAIN Bolt lit up Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium by blazing to 100 metres gold at the World Championships.
The world record holder defied the pouring rain to storm to victory on a drenched track in a revised time of 9.77 seconds, his best time of the year. He held off the challenge of American Justin Gatlin, who clocked 9.85secs, with Bolt’s fellow Jamaican Nesta Carter getting bronze in 9.95secs. Great Britain’s big hope James Dasaolu, was eighth in 10.21secs.
Bolt said afterwards: “I am happy but I wanted to do better. My legs were sore after the semi-finals, I don’t know why, but the world record wasn’t on so I came out just to win. Back in Jamaica, they do not expect less than that from me. They always expect me to dominate.”
Bolt, meanwhile, hinted that he might make a first appearance at the Commonwealth Games, held in Glasgow next year. Bolt has mentioned the possibility before but the plan seems to be firming up.
When asked for his plans for the non-Olympic, non-world championship season, he said: “On ‘off-years’ I try not to stress myself too much. But next year I’ll have to train hard and push myself. I’ll be on the circuit trying to run fast times. I’ve never been to the Commonwealths so that’s something I’m thinking about. It’s always something good to add to the resume.”
Bolt had sauntered through his semi-final in 9.92secs and his final time was impressive given the terrible conditions. Gatlin admitted he was too good. He said: “I’m getting closer, I’m very happy with my race. The last 30m I got long. In Rome I was able to step down all my steps and do my race which I didn’t do tonight. He [Bolt] has been working on his start – in Rome he had the best reaction out of everybody and he is 6ft 5in. I had to make sure I was beating him to 50m. We saw the lightning and thunder in the warm-up and we said that normally they would postpone this, but it is Moscow and Russia and they wanted this.”
Dasaolu had also gone sub-10 in the semis, clocking 9.97secs, but, having struggled for fitness in the build-up to the championships with a hip problem, could not turn it on again in the final. The Briton said: “I got to 50 or 60 metres but then they just started to run away from me. I think the semi-final took it out of me, but I made it through three rounds and I’m happy that I’m injury-free and I can continue with the rest of the season.”
Before the final, Bolt performed all his customary pre-race preening, pretending to hold up an umbrella, all part of the show from the born entertainer, but when it came to the crunch he was, as always, ice cold. He was out of the blocks well and, just as it looked as if Gatlin, in the lane inside him, might be closing, he pulled clear to reclaim the title he lost after a false start in the final in Daegu two years ago. This final had been headed for a mouthwatering showdown between Bolt and a rejuvenated Tyson Gay, before the latter’s failed drug test sent shock waves through athletics. Former world record holder Asafa Powell’s failed test was confirmed hours later and the sport was on its knees.
So it was perhaps apt that last night’s race was a head-to-head between Bolt, the saviour of the sport, and two-time former doper Gatlin. The American had beaten Bolt by a whisker at a Diamond League meeting in Rome at the start of the season, but the world stage is where the world record holder feels at home.
Earlier, Britain’s Dwain Chambers and Harry Aikines-Aryeetey both went out in the semi-finals. Chambers, 35, was sixth in his semi in 10.15secs, with Aikines- Aryeetey seventh and last in a hugely disappointing 10.34secs.
A devastated Chambers said: “I don’t know what to say – I don’t have any thoughts. Being part of the World Championships has been great, it’s been great to be back here again and part of the team. Other than that it’s dis-appointing.”
Aikines-Aryeetey branded his run an embarrassment. He said: “I am disappointed in what just happened. To come here and run 10.34 in the semi-final when I am way better than that is really upsetting. It was a bit embarrassing.”
The Luzhniki Stadium was again some way off capacity, hugely disappointing given last night’s action included Bolt in the 100m final and an appearance by Russian darling Yelena Isinbayeva in pole vault qualifying. Tickets were still available for the 100m final for 300 Roubles (£5.88) just two hours before the blue riband event got under way.
In the women’s field events, Brittney Reese unleashed one giant leap to become the first woman to win three long jump titles at the championships.