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Bolt breaks world-record, Campbell-Brown runs world-leading time - Caribbean Reebok report

2 June 2008

By Gary Smith

There is a saying that goes “three-times lucky,” but it took Usain Bolt four tries to break the men’s 100m world record and he is not complaining one bit. It was only weeks ago he was seen as the world’s second fastest-man ever over the shortest event outdoors, now at the fourth annual Reebok Grand Prix at the Icahn Stadium here in New York City, he says he does not have to chase the top mark, because it now belongs to him.

Moving away at the 50

Anticipating something big on the day, fans poured in the stadium in numbers, so determined they were to see the final race no one left, despite the one hour track time set back, because of bad weather and then another 40 minute delay because of a thunderstorm.

The 21-year-old had promised something spectacular in his last two meetings, when he came close to the record at the Jamaica Invitational in Kingston, on May 3 with 9.76 and then at the Hampton Games in Trinidad on May 18 with a cruising 9.92.

After waiting close to two hours to take the track for his race in New York, the Jamaican gave his supporters something to remember for a long time to come, even after a false start and delay at the start. Bolt’s performance erased the 9.74-secs previously held by fellow countryman Asafa Powell, and he said he never went out with the record in mind.

"I wasn't really looking for a world record, but it was there for the taking," Bolt said after his gallant run on the wet track.

Record was not in mind

Bolt said he was only looking forward to giving a good performance in front of the thousands of Jamaican supporters.

"Just coming here, knowing a lot of Jamaicans were here giving me their support, it meant a lot," Bolt said. "I just wanted to give them what they wanted."

World sprint double champion Tyson Gay, another favourite to win the event was nowhere close to the Jamaican. The American ran his second fastest time in his career of 9.85, just .01 seconds slower than his fastest time, but not even a performance such as that could match Bolt’s top-end speed.

The American, however, was gracious in defeat, noting that Bolt is currently on fire.

"We were on the same rhythm," Gay said, adding that "his (Bolt's) stride was covering more ground.

"He's run 9.7 before; his body knows what it feels like."

Another American Darvis Patton ran 10.07 for third, while Antigua’s Daniel Bailey equalled his personal best when finishing fifth in 10.12. Earlier Trinidadian Aaron Armstrong won the 100-B race in 10.11.

Campbell-Brown going fast too

He may have been the highlight at the meet, but Bolt was not the only Caribbean star at Icahn Stadium.

World 100m champion Veronica Campbell-Brown, showed that her preparation too is on the right track when she captured the women’s 100m in a world-leading 10.91. The Jamaican used her blinding closing speed to sneak past the front runners – breaking her own meeting record of 10.93, set last year to send the stands wild.

USA’s Marshavet Hooker and Muna Lee both ran new personal bests of 10.94 and 10.97, respectively to take second and third. The other Jamaican in the event, Sheri-Ann Brooks, finished eight of the nine competitors in 11.19.

Campbell-Brown’s start was a bit better than usual, but she still had to race from behind to win again. After the race she said getting left in the blocks is becoming a routine and bad starts are not too discouraging anymore.

"This doesn't discourage me." Brown admits. "I'm so happy to come in and execute the race as planned."

Strong finish sees Quow to career best

Trinidad and Tobago’s Renny Quow was not a race winner in New York, but a winner at heart. Drawn in lane seven for the men’s 400m, Quow showed courage in the last 100m with a strong finish to take second in 45.04, a new personal best for him. His run bettered the 45.35 he set last year in Rio de Janeiro.

American Xavier Carter won the race in 44.70, while Jamaica’s Sanjay Ayre finished fifth 45.79.

In the women’s race, Jamaican-born American Sanya Richards won comfortably ahead of Jamaica’s Novlene Williams.

Richards posted 50.04, to beat Williams, at 50.70 and then said afterwards that she was hoping to have gone below 50-seconds.

"I would have liked to be under 50," she said. "But I am happy to run almost 49-seconds today and be beat the field convincingly.

"I knew I would win with 150m to go," she added.

Mary Wineberg of USA was third in 50.93, while Jamaica’s Shereefa Lloyd ran 51.49 for fourth.

Third for Christian in 200m

In the men’s race, Antigua’s Brendan Christian ran a scorching first 100m, but was reeled in by USA’s world bronze medallist Wallace Spearmon, who won in the second-fastest time of the year, at 20.07.

Christian, the national record holder for Antigua finished third in 20.39, American Rodney Martin ran 20.30 to also beat him to the line. Jamaica’s former world silver medallist Chris Williams was fourth in 20.75.

McFarlane and Stoddart stay strong in Obstacles

Olympic silver medallist Danny McFarlane of Jamaica picked up second in the men’s 400m Hurdles, won by Trinidadian-born American Kerron Clement in 48.40.

The Jamaican hit the flight of hurdles at the 150m mark, but as always, he managed to recover and finish with another strong kick for second place with 48.95.

In the women’s race, McFarlane’s fellow countrywoman Shevon Stoddart also finished with some strength to take second place. Stoddart ran home second in 55.54, as American world-leader Lashinda Demus was too strong for everyone on the day.

She came home first in 55.17, this after taking the lead from start to finish. Another American Tiffany Williams took third in 55.78.

Brave Bernard-Thomas takes second

On another day Grenadian 800m female star Neisha Bernard-Thomas would have gone under the two minute mark, but in the earlier events at the meeting she ran in a strong head-wind and despite a gallant performance, she had to settle for second in 2:00.92.

Bernard-Thomas ran well close to the leaders for the opening lap, before moving away with Bahraini Maryam Yusuf Jamal. The Grenadian made a late charged at the 30m mark, but Jamal, the world 1500m champion, held on to the end to win the race in 2:00.42.

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