Report16 Jul 2010


Bolt decisively handles Powell, Oliver threatens WR with 12.89 in Paris - Report - Samsung Diamond League

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Usain Bolt defeats Asafa Powell in Paris (© Errol Anderson)

World record holder Usain Bolt handily beat rival Asafa Powell in their first face-off of the year while David Oliver came close to the World record in the 110m Hurdles to highlight the Meeting Areva in Paris, the ninth stop on the 14-meeting Samsung Diamond League series.


Oliver’s sizzling 12.89, the third fastest performance in history, was one of five world-leading performances produced before a wildly enthusiastic crowd of 40,597 at the Stade de France. It’s safe to say that most of them were attracted by the prospects of what might transpire when the season’s two fastest men – and two of the three fastest in history – would butt heads for the first time this season. But Bolt’s convincing victory in 9.84 clearly illustrated that despite questions about his fitness, the double World record holder is still very much the man to beat in the 100m.


Despite a mediocre start, Bolt was already a half step ahead by the midway point before extending his lead over Powell even further over the final 30 metres. His clocking – 0.02 shy of his co-world lead from Lausanne eight days ago - wasn’t as quick as was expected, but Bolt was satisfied.


“I had a good race, but my strength still isn’t at my normal level,” said Bolt, who knocked 0.01 from Powell’s meeting record set four years ago. “Now I’m flying home to work on my strength."


Accepting defeat, Powell, the former World record holder, eased up over the final 10 metres to reach the line in 9.91. Yohan Blake, one of Bolt’s training partners, was third in 9.95, a 0.01 improvement on his career best.


Oliver improves to 12.89


While Bolt vs Powell was the headline act, the performance of the evening came about 40 minutes earlier when Oliver made it abundantly clear that at the moment there is simply no stopping the powerfully built American in the high hurdles.


After a relatively conservative start, the Olympic 110m Hurdles bronze medallist already had a clear lead by the second hurdle, one he confidently extended barrier after barrier. Despite hitting two, including the last, he still dipped through the line in 12.89, tantalizingly close to Dayron Robles’ 12.87 World record.


His performance came just 13 days after tying Dominique Arnold as the third fastest high hurdler of all-time. He now solely occupies position No. 3 and with his step-by-step approach, the 28-year-old American seems to be inching towards a World record which appears all but inevitable.


“Records will come when they should,” said Oliver, who began the season with a 12.95 PB from 2008. “I’m not thinking about that too much.”


Oliver races again on Thursday at the next Samsung Diamond League stop in Monaco, where warmer conditions could help him edge even closer to the mark. “Record in Monaco? Who knows?” Oliver said. “Every race is different.”


While the race itself was lopsided, runner-up Ryan Wilson was certainly satisfied with his 13.12 season’s best. Ronnie Ash, the NACAC U-23 champion, was third clocking 13.21.

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