Usain Bolt beats Asafa Powell

Usain Bolt beats Asafa PowellKINGSTON (Reuters) – World 100 meters record holder Usain Bolt defeated his closest rival Asafa Powell to qualify for the Beijing Olympics on Saturday, but his coach remained tight-lipped about whether he will run in the prestige event.

In what had been billed as the clash of the world’s two fastest men, Bolt ran 9.85 to finish first in Jamaica’s Olympic trials, while Powell, the former record holder, clocked 9.97 seconds.

Bolt took the world record from Powell last month when he lowered the mark to 9.72 at the Reebok Grand Prix in New York.

Michael Frater secured the third berth on the Jamaican team for Beijing with his run of 10.04 seconds.

Local fans had hoped for a close battle between their two heroes but Bolt let up in the final five meters with his victory secure.

“I had been telling everyone that it wouldn’t be a clash,” Bolt said.

“We just came to qualify for the Olympics. But in the end I guess the crowd was a little bit disappointed with this but, actually, I did tell them.”

Bolt will run in the 200 meters on Sunday, his favored discipline, in which he claimed silver at last year’s world championships.

It is hard to imagine Bolt not running in 100 in China but his coach Glen Mills again declined to reveal his plans.

NO DECISION

“There is no decision yet and there won’t be until August,” Mills told Reuters.

But Powell’s coach Stephen Francis said he was certainly expecting rival Bolt to be lining up in the shortest race.

“Why not? We assume he will be there,” he said.

Francis said Powell was short of his best and was still recovering from a knee injury that delayed his start to the season.

“We still have a lot of work to get the point where I am satisfied,” Francis said.

“But I think it is the best start he has executed in a multiple round meet, so I am fairly happy about that first 50 meters.

“He needs about three more weeks to be where he could have been and should have been now.

“I think that he is getting there and the important thing is that he is executing different parts of his race okay,” he added.

World women’s 100 meters champion Veronica Campbell-Brown failed to qualify for that event after finishing fourth on Saturday.

Campbell-Brown missed out on qualification by just a 0.01 seconds, finishing fourth in 10.88 in a race which showed the impressive strength in depth of Jamaican women’s sprinting.

The top three finishers, Kerron Stewart (10.80), Shelley-Ann Fraser (10.85) and Sherone Simpson (10.87), will contest the event in Beijing in August.

Campbell-Brown still has a chance to qualify in the 200 meters Sunday, an event in which she won the gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics. She was also a gold medalist in Jamaica’s 4×100 relay in Athens and will be part of what looks an impressive line-up for that event.

Source: Reuters

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