- athletics - France - Usain Bolt
AFP - Sprint king Usain Bolt fired out a warning to rivals ahead of the World Athletics Championships by cruising to a meet record of 9.79 seconds in the 100m at the Golden League event here on Friday.
Jamaica's triple Olympic champion had a terrible start in wet conditions at the Stade de France but once his head came up after 40 metres, he powered his enormous frame away from the rest of the field in an ominous sign for next month's worlds in Berlin.
"I felt I did well," said the 22-year-old. "I'm happy. I had a bad start but I ended up with a good time."
Asked about the upcoming world championships he replied: "I'm always ready, no matter the conditions. The only thing I've got to work on is my start."
He added: "With this weather the important thing is not to get injured.
"I run next at Crystal Palace (in London, July 25) then the worlds. I'd say I'm 85 percent and there's still work to do."
Bolt's training partner Daniel Bailey of Antigua and 19-year-old Jamaican Yohan Blake also posted sub-10sec races in 9.91 and 9.93 respectively.
Bolt's time was the second fastest this season after triple world champion Tyson Gay of the United States, who recorded 9.77sec into a headwind in Rome, and smashed the meet record of 9.85sec set in 2006 by compatriot Asafa Powell.
Away from the blue riband event, all four contenders for the one-million-dollar Golden League jackpot for the athlete who wins all six races in their discipline throughout the season won again here, the fourth of the six-leg series.
Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia cruised to an impressive 3000m win in 7min 28.64sec, 4.51sec ahead of Kenyan-born American Bernard Lagat. "I'm very satisfied to still be in the race for the jackpot," grinned Bekele.
In terrible conditions for pole vaulting, Russian Yelena Isinbayeva took just one vault at 4.65m to seal the win and make sure she stayed in the race while Jamaican Kerron Stewart posted her fourth consecutive 100m win in 10.99sec.
"The wind was turning around and around," Isinbayeva said. "It was difficult to produce a great performance under those kind of conditions."
On a good night for American athletes, Sanya Richards also ensured she stayed on course for the jackpot with victory in the women's 400m in 49.34sec, more than one gaping second ahead of her rivals.
Richards, who lost out on Olympic gold to Britain's Christine Ohuruogu, said: "Honestly, I am very satisfied with my victory. It was cold tonight and I am proud I ran under 50sec."
Her feat was repeated by her compatriot Jeremy Wariner, the Beijing Olympic silver medallist who claimed double gold at the Athens Olympics and also at the two last world champs in Osaka and Helsinki, in the men's event.
Wariner won in 45.28sec, a mighty 1.42sec off the meet best he set last year.
"I won, which is great because I'm still undefeated in the stadium," Wariner said. "Obviously I am not ready (for the worlds) but it will come."
In the absence of Olympic champion Dayron Robles, another American, Dexter Faulk, stole the thunder of France's 2005 world champion Ladji Doucoure by storming to a 13.14sec win in the 110m hurdles to follow up on his victory in Berlin.
And the 25-year-old Faulk promised more to come: "The time is excellent but I did make some mistakes. I'm sure I can go faster, so you will see some nice things from me in the future."
In the women's 100m hurdles, Olympic champion Dawn Harper, also of the United States, triumphed in 12.68sec in a close finish ahead of France's Sandra Gomis.
"This victory will give me a lot of confidence on the way to the worlds in Berlin," she said, having overcome a terrible start.
Croatian Blanka Vlasic claimed the high jump title with a best of 1.99m in a competition again hampered by the adverse conditions.