Brussels: World and Olympic champion Usain Bolt powered away late in the race to destroy his rivals and win the 100 metres in 9.8 seconds at the season-closing Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday.
Bolt, who won 100, 200 and 4x100 relay gold medals at last month’s World Championships, was one of several Moscow medallists in action here.
After a poor start, Bolt’s acceleration over the second half of the race was again the difference in a 100 metres featuring six of the finalists from Moscow.
Bolt, performing fewer of his customary pre-race theatrics than at previous meetings, said despite the win, he was not satisfied with his start.
“My reaction time was very poor, I think it was my slowest one for the season,” the 27-year-old told reporters. “I’m just really bad at starting. I think if you watch my races, in most you see I’m coming from behind to get back into the race. There’s no time to slow down. As soon as I pass my competitors, there’s the line,” he added.
His main aim for next season is to stay injury free. “I remember going to my doctor and he told me I had to pay close attention to my back. I know I have to be more focused on staying in shape,” he said.
“The older you get the harder it is to come back from injury. I gotta stay injury-free during the season that’s the main factor,” added Bolt, who was dogged by a hamstring problem earlier this year.
“I’ve been smiling ever since I came to the stadium because I knew it was the last one of the season. I’m just happy to be done and looking forward to going home,” said Bolt, who will take a few weeks holiday before beginning his training again in mid October.
With no Olympics or World Championships being held next year, Bolt has yet to make up his mind on his participation in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Bolt said he still loved being the centre of attention and the showman of athletics. “I never get tired of this. This is what I do, I’m not trying to be someone I’m not. It’s something I love to do. The crowd makes it easy,” he said.
“It’s all about the crowds. I love meetings that have great crowds. I give them energy, they give me back energy. It’s all about putting on a great performance for them.”
American Michael Rodgers was second in his season’s best of 9.90 and Jamaica’s world bronze medallist Nesta Carter was third. Justin Gatlin, second to Bolt in Moscow, finished fourth.
Bolt’s compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has been the dominant women’s sprinter this year and the World and Olympic champion set a meeting record of 10.72 as clear winner of her 100 event.
“I don’t think about times, I just focus on execution. I know once I’ve executed what I can do, I know that I’ll set a good time,” Fraser-Pryce told reporters.
Jamaican Warren Weir, silver medallist to Bolt in the 200 in Moscow, edged compatriot Nickel Ashmeade over the longer sprint for victory in 19.87 seconds.
It was an evening of top competition in the Belgian capital and the King Badouin Stadium was a sell-out for the event, despite the fact that many local fans would have been watching the national soccer team’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland.