Three weeks ago Usain Bolt showed that he could be beaten, albeit as part of a quartet at the IAAF World Relays in the Bahamas. Yesterday in Ostrava he regained his winning mentality over the 200m distance, although his winning time was almost a full second behind his own world record mark. His fellow Jamaican, Asafa Powell was also in good form when claiming the shorter sprint victory.
With conditions not helping the athletes to fast times nor prodigious distances at the Golden Spike meeting, it was perhaps to be expected that the level of performances would be slightly below those anticipated. Yet there was still plenty to enthuse the Czech Republic crowd, nonetheless, including meeting records in the women's 100m hurdles and men's triple jump.
Jamaican double in sprints
It was probably Bolt that most eyes were on though, as he went to his blocks in the longer of his preferred distances. Although clearly disappointed not to break 20 seconds for once, his winning time of 20.13 seconds gave him a clear two metre advantage over Isiah Young, despite rain and cool conditions for the race. There will be bigger challenges to come for the big man, especially when he renews his rivalry with Justin Gatlin.
Powell has already shown sub-10 form this season, but had to settle for 10.04 seconds in edging out the busy Young in the 100m event, as the American doubled up his races.
Nelvis smashes meeting record
Arguably the performance of the meeting was that achieved by Sharika Nelvis of the USA into a strong headwind (-1.7 m/s). Her nifty 12.55 seconds victory in the sprint hurdles took a tenth of a second off the existing meeting record from 1980. Britain's Tiffany Porter finished back in third place.
Injury for Rudisha
Reigning 800m Olympic champion and world record holder, David Rudisha failed to finish the rarely contested 600m event at the meeting. The Kenyan superstar withdrew after 100m with what looked like a thigh problem, although he claimed afterwards that the muscle pull was not a serious injury. In his absence, Poland's Adam Kszczot (1:16.02) was just able to catch Irishman Mark English (1:16.14) on the line for the victory. Although beaten on the day, English still had a national record to show for his efforts.
Double joy for the Poles
Kszczot's compatriot Marcin Lewandowski similarly claimed top spot in another non-championship distance, finishing ahead of Asbel Kiprop in the 1000m. The Polish middle-distance competitor's 2:17.25 timing proved too quick for the reigning Kenyan world 1500m champion.
Yego and Taylor excel in the field
Kenyan Julius Yego produced the throw of the night to snatch the men's javelin title. Last year's Commonwealth champion looked likely to exit the competition after two rounds, but his third throw flew out to 86.88m. That not only saved his 'bacon' on the day, it also won him the event and a new national record in the process.
For good measure, he also took the prized scalps of the world champion Vitezslav Vesely and Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott. Who says that Kenyans only make good runners? #AthleticsChristian Taylor obliterated the oldest meeting record on the books, dating back to 1979, in the triple jump. Not only that, he surpassed the old figures three times on his way to first place. His longest leap of 17.52m was some 70cm in excess of the previous best mark in Ostrava.