London Anniversary Games: Usain Bolt surges to 200m win, Kendra Harrison breaks WR in hurdles
This was the last race for Bolt before the Rio Olympics.
Everybody waited with bated breath for the biggest moment of the 2016 Anniversary Games at the London Olympic Stadium on Friday night when the world’s fastest man, Usain Bolt, would be taking the stage. After his pullout from the 100m final at the Jamaica Trials last month due to a hamstring strain, his fans were naturally concerned.
It was the same Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where the legendary Jamaican stole the show four years back en route to winning triple Olympic gold for the second time in his career. And he did not disappoint the roaring crowd even on this night.
The soon-to-be 30 Bolt did what he does the best – winning. Erasing all doubts about his fitness, the six-time Olympic champion surged to take the gold in his first 200m race of the year, finishing in 19:84.
But clearly, the trademark Bolt swagger was missing and he grimaced to hold on to the lead. There was rustiness no doubt, but the man definitely sent out the signal that he is injury-free. Also, his timing was way below the season-leading 19.74 set by LaShawn Merritt of the USA at the US Olympic track and field trials just a few days back.
Later on, he admitted that he is still not at his peak and needs work to be done before the Rio Olympics, which starts in two weeks’ time.
“I’m not fully in shape, I need more work, but I will be fine. The key thing is I came out injury free so that’s the main thing,” Bolt said.
That might not be his very best performance but it was good enough to leave everybody else behind at the London Diamond League and it only means he will get more devastating by the time the athletics event starts in Brazil.
The second and third places, meanwhile, went to Panama’s Edward Alonso and Great Britain’s Adam Gemili, who clocked 20.04 and 20.07 respectively.
New world record for Kendra Harrison
The other big news coming from the first night of the London Anniversary Games was the new world record set by America’s Kendra Harrison in the 100m hurdles. The 23-year-old, who has been a revelation all season, shockingly failed to make the cut at the US Olympic Trials when she ended up in the sixth place. Only the top three were selected and Harrison was left to rue her chances.
But she rebounded from that setback in an amazing fashion, racing away to a new world record timing of 12.20 seconds in London last night. That saw the 28-year-old record of 12.21 set by Bulgaria’s Yordanka Donkova getting shattered.
”After not making the Olympic team I wanted to come out here and show what I could have done,” Harrison told BBC Sport after the race.
“The US team is the hardest to make, our country wants the top three from the trials and I was not that person. The pressure got to me on the day. I wish I could re-do that day.
“I came out here with a lot of vengeance. I knew I had it in me.”