BRUSSELS, Belgium, September 17 – Jamaican sprint kings Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake sprinted to landmark times at the Diamond League on Friday, Bolt running the fastest 100m this year and Blake the second fastest 200m in history.
Blake sprinted home in 19.26sec, just behind the world record of 19.19sec held by Bolt, but overtaking Michael Johnson’s mark of 19.32.
The world 100m champion from Daegu, 21-year-old Blake finished ahead of America’s Walter Dix (19.53) and another Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade (19.91).
“I was looking for this and I got it. I expected to run fast but not this fast,” said Blake.
“The last 40 metres was crazy, but I’m like a beast when that happens. I just take control of the track…the 19-second barrier is not insurmountable.”
Blake managed to overshadow Bolt, whose 100m world title he took in Daegu last month when his world record-holding compatriot was disqualified for a false start.
Bolt, 25, clocked 9.76sec to win the 100m, bettering the previous season-leading time of 9.78sec set by compatriot Asafa Powell in Lausanne on June 30.
Olympic champion Bolt, who still collected gold in the 200m and 4x100m in South Korea, arrived in Belgium straight from Zagreb where he ran 9.85sec on Tuesday, his best time of the season until Friday.
“I never doubted that I could run this fast,” said Bolt. “I was happy with my race although I didn’t get to my transition very well.”
Bolt insisted that false-starting was a thing of the past.
“I made one mistake — it won’t happen again.”
He also suggested he had a hand in Blake’s stunning performance.
“I’ve seem him run a couple of 200m and he’s run them badly. I told him to take it easy round the bend. He ran a wild time,” said Bolt.
Double Olympic champion Kenenisa Bekele ran the fastest 10,000m of the season, clocking 26min 43.16sec.
The 29-year-old bettered the previous leading time of 26:46.57 set by Britain’s Mo Farah in Eugene in June.
Kenya’s Lucas Rotich (26:43.98) and Galen Rupp of the United States (26:48.00) took second and third respectively.
Bekele, who won 5,000m and 10,000m gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, has endured a miserable, injury-hit season.
He was a no-show in heats for the 5000m at the world championships in Daegu after limping out of the 10,000m, in which he was also defending champion from Berlin in 2009.
Bekele dropped out of the 10,000m with 10 laps to go, saying he was still suffering with a groin injury that affected his right hip muscle.
Elsewhere, women’s high jump world champion Anna Chicherova cleared 2.05m and then attempted to smash Stefka Kostadinova’s 24-year-old world record of 2.09m.
But the Russia was unable to clear the bar set at 2.10m.
Australian world champion Sally Pearson fell in the 100m hurdles but shrugged off the setback.
“I’m pretty shattered, but I wouldn’t trade my world title for anything. You take the highs with the lows,” she said.
“Something came up and bit me. I remember I hit the hurdle and then I was on the ground.”
South African double amputee Oscar Pistorius was third in the 400m behind Belgian twins Jonathan and Kevin Borlee.
“It’s my second fastest time. I was a little tired after the worlds, but I wanted one more good race,” said Pistorius, who timed 45.46sec.