OSTRAVA, June 18 – Triple Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt was helped by a favourable breeze to cover the 100 metre distance here in 9.77 secs, just outside the world record he set in Beijing last year.The 22-year-old Jamaican was ahead of Briton Craig Pickering and Frenchman Ronald Pognon in the race at the Grand Prix athletics event in Ostrava.
"It was a good race overall. I’m happy with myself. I had a very poor start. Horrible. The gun was fast and surprised me," said Bolt, who raced with favourable wind of 2.1 metres per second.
In the event of a record it would not have been validated, 2.0 metres a second being the permitted limit.
"The wind is part of life. It’s not frustrating. You have to deal with it. Sometimes you have the wind with you, sometimes against."
It was Bolt’s first challenge in a top category athletics event this year. In March he ran a wind-affected race in the Caribbean before appearing at high-profile media opportunities, including a 150 metre race in Manchester city centre, and at Toronto.
But the runner is now involved in rigorous preparation period for the World Championships in Berlin in August.
Meanwhile Olympic champion Dayron Robles set the fastest 110 metres hurdles time of the year on his way to victory in the discipline at the Ostrava meet.
Benefiting from favourable wind conditions, the Cuban threw himself forward at the line to win the race in 13.04, just ahead of the USA’s Dexter Faulk and Shamar Sands of the Bahamas.
The 22-year-old Robles set a world record of 12.87 last year on the same track, inside his Olympic gold winning time of 12.93.
The previous best time of 2009 time in the discipline was the 13.09 set by American David Oliver at Doha on May 8.
Elsewhere at the Ostrava event, Bershawn Jackson of the USA won the 400m hurdles in 48.32 secs, ahead of 2004 Olympic champion Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic and Poland’s Marek Plawgo.
Among the women, Ethiopia’s Meselech Melkanu ran the 5,000m in 14min 34.17sec, narrowly beating the Kenyan Linet Masai.