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Bolt runs fifth-fastest 200 ever

14 July 2008

Jamaica's Usain Bolt laid down another marker for the Beijing Olympics when he ran the fastest 200 meters of the year at the Athens Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 21-year-old, who broke the 100-meter world record at the end of May, clocked 19.67 seconds, cruising home to a comfortable victory.

It was a personal best for Bolt and the fifth-fastest time ever over the distance.

However, he again played down suggestions that he would soon break Michael Johnson's 12-year-old record of 19.32.

"It is a very hard record to get, but someone will take it one day and hopefully I will be that person -- maybe next year," he said.

Cuba's Dayron Robles also sent out a warning for the Olympics, clocking 13.05 in the 110-meter hurdles. It was well off his world record 12.87, set last month, but still the third-fastest time of the year.

"I felt really good. I am working day after day to fulfill my personal objective for the Olympics," he said.

"I don't want to think too far ahead yet. I honestly believe it is a question of getting to the [Olympic] final because it is, of course, a desire and dream of every athlete to get an Olympic medal."

Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas took the 100 meters for the second year running, clocking 10.10, while Louis van Zyl produced a stirring finish to plow past Americans Danny MacFarlane and Reuben McCoy to take the 400-meter hurdles.

The South African's winning time of 48.22 was shy of American Kerron Clement's 47.79, the best so far this year, but there was a season's best in the high jump where Sweden's Stefan Holm cleared 2.37 meters.

Last year's triple-jump world champion Nelson Evora produced a leap of 17.23 to see off Athens Olympic silver medalist Marian Oprea and Cuban Arnie David Girat, while Louis Tsatoumas gave the home crowd something to cheer when he jumped 8.44 meters, the third-best long jump of the year.

Veronica Campbell-Brown made up for disappointment in the same meeting in 2007, winning the women's 100 meters in 10.92.

The Jamaican said: "I am satisfied with my race. I have been training very hard, and I hope I will stay healthy to achieve my goal in Beijing. I adore Athens. I run my best races here."

Sanya Richards of the United States missed out by 0.03 seconds on the fastest time of the year in the 400 meters but still won with something to spare in 49.86.

In the women's javelin, world-record holder Osleidys Menendez of Cuba had to settle for second behind Czech world champion Barbora Spotakova, who won with a throw of 63.70 meters.

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