KINGSTON (Reuters) - World record holder and Olympic champion Usain Bolt put in a workmanlike display to win the 100 meters on Friday at the Jamaican trials for the world championships.
Bolt recovered from a slow start to catch Nickel Ashmeade at the 50-metre mark and clocked a time of 9.94 seconds after easing off over the last 10 meters.
The sub-10 second run was the 35th of his career.
“It was good to win ... I‘m not too worried about the time as I have one solid month to work on getting ready for Russia,” Bolt told Reuters.
“The start wasn’t perfect, but the drive phase was better than it was when I lost to (Justin) Gatlin and then the turbo chipped in,” the 2009 world champion added, noting that coach Glen Mills advised him to do just enough to win.
Kemar Bailey-Cole sneaked up to take second in 9.98, while Ashmeade, who made the 200m final at the 2011 world championships, placed third in 9.99.
In the surprise of the trials, former world record holder Asafa Powell failed to fire in his third straight race in two nights, finishing seventh in 10.22.
Bolt expressed sympathy for Powell, who has struggled with hamstring troubles this season.
“Asafa has been through a lot this season and I was surprised he ran at these trials,” the six-time Olympic gold medalist said.
“He will just have come again on the European circuit.”
Olympic double sprint silver medalist Yohan Blake will be the fourth Jamaican in the men’s 100m in Russia by virtue of being the defending world champion.
In the absence of two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the women’s title went to 2008 Beijing silver medalist Kerron Stewart in 10.94.
“I knew as long as I executed a good race, I would win.” Stewart told Reuters. “I have to give all credit to God (because) when everybody counted me out, he got me through.”
Sherone Simpson, who shared the Beijing Olympic silver, placed second in 11.02.
“It has been rough coming to the trials, but I‘m happy I got into the second place,” she told Reuters.
Schillonie Calvert was third in 11.07 seconds and will join Fraser-Pryce at the August 10-18 world championships, who has a wild card entry to Moscow.
Olympic finalist Leford Green posted a season best 49.20 seconds to win his fourth straight Jamaican 400m hurdles title with a dogged run to hold off Annsert Whyte, who slammed into the final hurdle.
Whyte held on for second in 49.30secs.
Isa Phillips placed third in 49.59 to make his fourth straight world championships team.
Ristananna Tracey, the 2011 semi-finalist at Daegu, South Korea, posted a personal best 54.52 seconds to win the women’s 400m hurdles.
Daneille Dowie and Nickiesha Wilson were both credited with 54.94 for second and third respectively to book their tickets to Moscow. Kaliese Spencer will be Jamaica’s fourth athlete in the event in Russia.
Editing by Ian Ransom