Usain Bolt delivers 200m belter in Paris
AFP · 7 Jul 2013, 08:43
Published: 07 Jul 2013 08:43 GMT+02:00
It was the 26-year-old's second outing over his favoured event this season after clocking 19.79sec at Oslo on June 13th.
In the meantime, American rival Tyson Gay had raced 19.74sec in winning the US championships in Des Moines last month.
But Bolt fired another raking broadside Stateside with an emphatic victory in scorching style just one month out from the World Athletics Championships in Moscow.
"That's good, I'm happy with myself," said Bolt, the world record holder in both sprint events, and six-time Olympic gold medallist and five-time world champion.
"I love Paris, I always feel wonderful here, it's a great crowd."
But he said it was not all perfect.
"I'm getting there. I still need to work on a few mistakes, and my coach (Glen Mills) will determine on what exactly it will be."
Wearing a blue and gold peppered sleeveless shirt, black shorts, and white and blue shoes, Bolt looked as if he meant business at the Stade de France.
Unlike his experience in the Norwegian capital, he and the 50,000 spectators packed into the stadium north of Paris enjoyed balmy conditions, with temperatures around 27 degrees Celsius (81F).
After an average start reaction time, Bolt exploded into the corner and was up on compatriot Warren Weir in lane seven within 10 paces.
As he rounded the bend, Weir looked like he would resume parity, but teeth clenched and at full tilt, Bolt destroyed the field in the final 40 metres to set a new meeting record, the previous best of 20.01sec set by US track legend Michael Johnson in 1990.
Olympic bronze medallist Weir claimed second place in 19.92sec, with France's Christophe Lemaitre finishing third in a season's best of 20.07.
In the build-up to the race, Bolt was introduced to a raucous crowd sitting through the open top of a 2CV, the iconic French Peugeot car.
When he made his entrance onto the track, the noise levels went up a notch and, ever the actor, Bolt delighted in playing up to the television cameras, preening his eyebrows and hair before doing his trademark bow-and-arrow pose.
Come race time and there was no nonsense from Bolt, an awesome bend followed by the afterburners in his drive phase to ensure a comfortable win in his favoured event.
Gay will take note of his rival's performance but it is tough not to imagine Bolt adding to the five gold medals he garnered in the last two world championships come Moscow.
"All is building up towards a great world championships, you will see a big show there, it will be the climax," warned Bolt.
"And I want to be ready for that."