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Bolt reigns in Paris with 100m win

Paris: Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the 100 metres at a Paris Golden League meeting on Friday in 9.79 seconds, recording his best time of the season despite a poor start in damp, chilly conditions.

His time was only marginally slower than the 9.77 seconds ran by US rival Tyson Gay in Rome last week — the fastest mark of the year so far.

Bolt, who holds the 100m record with 9.69 seconds set at the Beijing Olympic Games last year, was slow out of the blocks on Friday but pulled clear of the field after the first 50 metres.

“It was not the perfect race, but it was good enough for me. I had a bad start in bad weather so it’s a good result,” he said afterwards, adding that he had played it safe.

“I was careful because I didn’t want to be injured ... You don’t want to be injured at this time in the season just before the World championships so you just have to be cautious.”

He chalked up his previous best of the year of 9.86 seconds in June and Bolt said he would only take part in one more meeting, in London next week, before the Berlin World championships in August.

“The World championships are very important to show the world that last year was not a joke,” said Bolt, who also set world records in winning the 200 metres and 4x100 metres relay at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Bolt is the favourite to steal Gay’s 100 and 200m crowns in Berlin and he did not face any of his main rivals in Paris. Daniel Bailey of Antigua came second on Friday in 9.91 seconds and Jamaican Yohan Blake third in 9.93.

Bolt said he was looking forward to a showdown with Gay.

“It’s going to be wonderful and it’s going to be an exciting time,” he said.

The unseasonal cold cast a pall over all the events at the Paris meeting with few athletes able to shine in the gloom.

However, it was a good evening for the quartet of athletes still in the running for a cut of the $1 million jackpot that will be shared out between those who win at all six Golden League meetings this year.

Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia completed his fourth consecutive victory in the galas, winning the 3,000m in 7 minutes, 28.64 seconds.

US world 1,500m and 5,000m champion Bernard Lagat came second in 7:33.15.

“Conditions were difficult. It was very windy. It was difficult also for all the others, but when you are in front it’s even more difficult,” said Bekele.

“It’s my last race before the World Championships. I’m going back to Ethiopia to train,” he added.

The other three contenders for the $1 million jackpot — Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart (100m), American Sanya Richards (400m) and Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva (Pole Vault) — all maintained their 100 percent records with relative ease.

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