Perhaps the Olympic Stadium effect was all that Triple World Record (WR) holder, Usain Bolt needed to get his groove back as the Jamaican bounced back to reckoning at the venue of his Olympic Games triumph from three years ago.
Bolt was received at the Queen Elizabeth Park with deafening cheers from the crowd, taking a bow as his name was announced ahead of his opening race where he competed in Heat 2. He was pitted against the likes of USA’s Michael Rodgers, the evergreen Kim Collins and the British pair of Chijindu Ujah and James Dasaolu.
The race wasn’t without its own share of drama as World Indoor champion, Richard Kilty beat the gun by a thousandth of a second and was disqualified from the event. The race got underway subsequently and despite his poor start, Bolt caught up with the rest of the field and soared past, clocking a Season’s Best (SB) of 9.87s, which incidentally is his first sub-10s of the season.
The final was not too different as once again, the two-time Olympian suffered a terrible start and had to labour much harder to secure victory, returning a time of 9.87s for the second time despite the cold damp conditions.
The reigning world and Olympic champion couldn’t hide his disappointment as it was apparent that he expected to go faster, but then his fans will not be too bothered as they would expect their champion to tie loose ends ahead of next month’s World Championships in Beijing.
He was followed by USA’s Michael Rodgers in 9.90s as Commonwealth champion Kemar Bailey-Cole stormed to 3rd place with a PB of 9.92s. Running alongside Bolt was enough inspiration for Chijindu Ujah who equalled his Personal Best (PB) of 9.96s to finish 4th as European record holder, Jimmy Vicaut finished 5th (9.98s); homeboy James Dasaolu placed a distant 8th with 10.08s.
Bolt’s time catapults him to joint No.6 with USA’s Tyson Gay on the 2015 Top lists, a great improvement from his previous 60th position on the rankings. The 28-year old’s performance at the London Diamond League is only an indication of things to come as he gets set for a face-off with keen competitor and world leader, Justin Gatlin come Beijing.