World 100m champion Yohan Blake showed he was in good heart to challenge compatriot Usain Bolt for Olympic sprint dominance in London by clocking 9.85 seconds to win at the International Athletics Meeting in Lucerne, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
Blake, making his first appearance since beating Olympic 100m and 200m champion Bolt over both distances at the Jamaican trials in late June and early July, burst clear in the final 30m to win easily on a warm and sunny evening in the Swiss city.
Jamaica’s Michael Frater was second in 10.0 seconds with Trinidad and Tobago’s Marc Burns, given the same time, in third place.
Blake shocked training partner and world-record holder Bolt with an emphatic win in the 100m at the Jamaican trials in Kingston, following up with an even more impressive performance in the 200m.
Set to bolt: Yohan Blake is likely to be Usain Bolt’s chief rival for the 100m and 200m gold at the 2012 Olympics. Photo: Keystone/Urs Flueeler/AP
The 22-year-old won the world 100m title in Daegu, South Korea, last year, a race notable for the absence of Bolt, who was disqualified for a false start.
Jamaica appear to have unearthed another sprint sensation in little-known 21-year-old Jason Young, who clocked the third fastest 200m of the year by winning in 19.86 seconds, smashing his lifetime best of 20.42 by over half a second.
Only Blake (19.80 seconds) and Bolt (19.83 seconds) have gone quicker in 2012.
There was disappointment, however, for Jamaica’s Olympic 200m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, who suffered a surprise defeat by American ChaRonda Williams.
Campbell-Brown, 30, who could only finish third in the Jamaican trials, appeared to have the race in control but faded into second as a fast-finishing Williams won in a relatively pedestrian 22.52 seconds.
“Not the result I wanted. But I am thankful that I am healthy and have the opportunity to move forward towards the Olympics,” the 2004 and 2008 Olympic champion tweeted.
American Kellie Wells, who inflicted the first defeat of the season on world 100m hurdles champion and Olympic favourite Sally Pearson in London on Saturday, failed to follow up after finishing third behind compatriot Ginnie Crawford.
Wells (12.79 seconds) lost momentum after hitting the second hurdle and could not recover as Crawford won in 12.61 seconds, ahead of Turkey’s European champion Nevin Yanit (12.73 seconds).
Jamaican Sheri-Ann Brooks (11.12 seconds) just pipped Trinidad’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste (11.13 seconds), the world bronze medallist, to win the 100m.
Top Indian discus thrower Krishna Poonia seemed to be getting into the groove for the forthcoming Olympics as she threw an impressive 63.16m in the Woodford Green Open Graded Meet in London. Poonia’s fine attempt came at an event organized by the Woodford Green and Essex Ladies Athletics Club at the Ashton Playing Field ground on Tuesday.
High-flying: Indian discus thrower Krishna Poonia. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Krishna is hopeful of breaching the 65m barrier, with her husband and coach Virender saying the athlete seems to be in great shape. “Today’s throw shows we are on track to deliver peak results during the Olympic Games. Hitting big distance in the opening rounds is essential to remain in contention and that’s what Krishna achieved today with the 63m opener,” he said. Krishna will compete in one more local meet before the qualification round of the Olympic Games on 3 August.
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