Usain Bolt had to pull out all the stops to get past his Jamaican compatriot, Asafa Powell to win the 100m in the Rome Golden Gala today. The clash was the most anticipated event of the meet as it was Bolt’s first outing in almost ten months when he lost to Tyson Gay in the 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm, Sweden on August 6, 2010, and he cut his season short with a back injury.
Powell on the other hand has run this season though with mixed results. He ran a blistering opening leg for the Jamaican team, which won the 4 x 100m relay in 38.33 at the Penn Relays at the end of April, and then had a disappointing 200m in Kingston in early May when he practically stopped running and finished at the back of the field. He said afterwards that he felt a slight cramp and decided to shut it down.
Powell was off to a great start, taking an early lead, while Bolt looked a bit sluggish and at 70m it looked as if the race was Powell’s to lose. Bolt however kept driving and caught Powell in the last 10m of the race to win in 9.91 secs. Powell was second in 9.93. The wind speed was +0.6 m/s. The nearest competitor was France’s Christophe Lemaitre who did 10 sec flat.
Bolt has every reason to feel good about his victory considering his long layoff and the fact that his coach Glen Mills has stated that since Bolt does not have to compete at the Jamaica Trials next month, his charge will only have to peak once this year when he competes in the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea which runs from August 27 to September 4.