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Powell powers past Bolt at Beijing tuneup

23 July 2008

Jamaica's Asafa Powell got off to a fine start and then held on to beat compatriot and world record-holder Usain Bolt in the men's 100 meters at a Grand Prix meeting on Tuesday.

Bolt, who took the world record off Powell earlier this year by clocking 9.72 seconds, nearly caught up with his compatriot toward the end of the race and finished just 0.01 behind Powell, who clocked 9.88 seconds.

The rest of the field was outclassed by the two men who along with American Tyson Gay are preparing to challenge for the gold medal at next month's Olympics in Beijing.

"A couple of weeks ago it was all about Usain and I was enjoying myself in the background," a smiling Powell told reporters.

"I didn't want to cause a lot of attention but I just did... I showed the world today that Asafa Powell is still here."

"It was very important to build up the confidence by beating him today. He's got the world record, but I've run 9.74 so you've got to watch out for me."

"It was a great race and I'm very happy. If I had lost today [to Bolt] I still would have been happy because this is my first race since I came back from my injury," added the Jamaican.

He will not face Bolt in Friday's Grand Prix in London but is due to clash with nemesis Gay.

Russia's pole vault supremo Yelena Isinbayeva was not quite at her best on the night but easily won by clearing 4.85 meters on her second attempt before failing to clear 4.95.

Poland's Monica Pyrek, who accomplished the rare feat of beating Isinbayeva here two years ago, finished second with 4.70 ahead of her compatriot Anna Rogowska in third on 4.60.

"It was a good and fine competition, but a little cold at 4.95," said world record holder Isinbayeva, who still managed a stadium record.

With her 4.85 clearance, the Russian improved on the record she set here three years ago by six centimeters.

Croatian Blanka Vlasic won her 34th meeting in a row by clearing 2.02 in the women's high jump before failing to get over 2.05.

"I'm happy with my win, but I felt a bit tired," said the world champion. "Of course, I was expecting to jump a bit higher but I have been competing a lot lately. Now I need some rest."

Earlier, Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner of the United States won the men's 400 meters in 44.29 seconds.

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