LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Former world record holder Asafa Powell equaled the second fastest time ever over 100 meters when he clocked 9.72 seconds at the Lausanne grand prix on Tuesday.
The Jamaican, who finished a disappointing fifth in the Beijing Olympics final, equaled the mark set by compatriot Usain Bolt in New York City this year.
Bolt reduced his own mark to 9.69 seconds in the Olympic final and also set a world record in the 200 meters. He was a member with Powell of the Jamaican quartet who set a world record in the 4x100 meters relay final.
On Tuesday Bolt cruised to victory over the 200 in 19.63 seconds.
“After all my problems this year I’m satisfied with my performance tonight,” said Powell after racing away from a strong field comprising all of the Beijing finalists except for Bolt.
“It’s also great to set a new personal record.”
Making the fastest start out of the blocks, Powell finished 0.2 of a second clear of Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix of the United States with Jamaica’s Nesta Carter taking third place, a further 0.06 seconds back.
Victory in the 200 meters was never in doubt for Bolt who finished more than half a second clear of runner-up Churandy Martina.
While Powell was greeted to rapturous applause by the Lausanne crowd, Bolt, though, heard the rare sound of jeers from the spectators after slowing up in the final meters.
“It was a good time,” Bolt told reporters after matching Xavier Carter’s 2006 Lausanne track record. “But I’ve made history now so a lot of people are looking to me for big times and great things.
“I’m always going out to do my best but it’s been a long season and I trailed off tonight because I want to stay injury-free right the way to the season end.
“I’m happy for Asafa tonight. He has always been there, but he’s looking pretty good now. There are a lot of guys to think about in the 100 meters.”
Powell and Bolt were among six Jamaicans celebrating on Tuesday as the country’s athletes won all but two of the sprint events.
After owning the podium in the Olympic women’s 100 meters, Jamaica sealed a one-two finish in Lausanne with Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser again finishing in front of joint Beijing silver medalist Kerron Stewart.
In a thrilling race, Fraser crossed the line in 11.03 seconds, just 0.03 seconds ahead of Steward with American Marsehevet Hooker coming up in lane one to take third place, a further 0.03 seconds back.
Melaine Walker, another Jamaican Olympic champion, finished more than a second clear of her rivals in the 400 meter hurdles while silver medalist Shericka Williams won a 400 meters race in the absence of British gold medalist Christine Ohurogu.
Delloreen Ennis-London completed Jamaica’s strong showing, clinching the 100 meter hurdles after a late mistake by Olympic champion Dawn Harper.
The American brought down the final hurdle while leading the race, recovering to cross the line 0.03 seconds behind Ennis-London.
Bizarrely the same thing then happened in the men’s sprint hurdles with Cuba’s Olympic champion and world record holder Dayron Robles also catching the last barrier to finish second behind American Olympic bronze medalist David Oliver.
Olympic 400 meters champion LaShawn Merritt provided the United States with their only other victory on Tuesday.
In the absence of his main rival and fellow American Jeremy Wariner, Merritt posted a respectable time of 43.98 seconds.
Twice Olympic 400 meter hurdles champion Angelo Taylor demonstrated his talent on the flat, finishing second behind Merritt in 44.38 seconds to complete an American one-two.
Editing by John Mehaffey and Sonia Oxley
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