Usain Bolt ends DN Galan losing streak
STOCKHOLM -- Complaining about a stiff back, an unusually tight bend and the windy conditions, Usain Bolt still won the 200 meters at the DN Galan meet in emphatic style Friday.
The Jamaican had lost over 100 meters in this meet in 2008 and 2010. But the switch to the 200 -- his preferred distance -- changed his luck at the Diamond League event.
In his last race before he defends his sprint titles at the world championships next month, Bolt cantered over the line well ahead of the field in 20.03 seconds.
In other events Friday, LaShawn Merritt was second in the 400 in his return from a 21-month doping ban, and Caster Semenya struggled again, finishing eighth in the 800.
Bolt said he felt a twinge on one side of his back toward the end of the race.
"Technically it was not a good race because the curves here are a bit tight," Bolt said. "I was careful not to get injured before the world championships. But generally, it was a good race despite the fact that I wanted a better time."
Bolt said the tight bend at Stockholm's Olympic Stadium, which was built to host the 1912 Games, had aggravated a long-standing back problem but dismissed concerns it might affect him in Daegu.
"My back is a little bit tight on the left side and I know that's because of the curve," Bolt said. "I'll be OK, no worries."
With the world championships starting Aug. 27, Semenya is preparing to defend her title. But she finished eighth in a race won by Kenia Sinclair of Jamaica.
Semenya's time of 2:01.28 seconds was well off her personal best of 1:55.45, set at the world championships in Berlin two years ago.
"It's very disappointing," Semenya said. "I don't know what happened. It's a little bit worrying. I should be running maybe under two minutes.
"I thought I was running faster so I was surprised I couldn't go in front. I just have to stay positive. What else can I say?" she said.
The 20-year-old South African missed most of last year because of controversial gender testing and hasn't been able to rediscover her best form. She plans to compete at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China, next month before heading to South Korea for the worlds.
In the men's 400, Merritt made a solid return after his 21-month doping ban expired Wednesday. The world champion was in contention coming off the final bend but tied up in the home straight and was beaten by Jermaine Gonzales of Jamaica.
"I missed competing, this is what I love the most," Merritt said after finishing in 44.74. "I will go back home now and get ready for Daegu. I will come there to defend my title and that is what I expect from the championships."
Merritt tested positive for a banned substance found in a male-enhancement product but had three months knocked off his two-year ban when an arbitration panel ruled he had not used the product to gain a competitive advantage.
While he has been cleared to run at the world championships, his participation in next year's London Olympics will be decided by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which is due to hear his case Aug. 17.
Carmelita Jeter won the women's 100 in 11.15. Marshevet Myers came in second for an American 1-2, ahead of Kerron Stewart of Jamaica.
Kaliese Spencer won the 400 hurdles in 53.74, while Vivian Jepkemoi Cheruiyot set the third-fastest time ever in the 5,000, finishing in 14:20.87 to set a Kenyan record and post the quickest time in the world this year.
American Jason Richardson beat world leader David Oliver in the 110 hurdles with a 13.17 clocking. World record-holder Dayron Robles pulled out Thursday with a foot injury.
Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway was a popular winner in the men's javelin, just a week after the bomb and shooting attacks in his home country.
Thorkildsen, the world championship favorite, threw a world-leading 290 feet, 1 inch on his second effort. He acknowledged the crowd's approval by turning and bowing.
"It was nice to satisfy people after the terrible thing that happened in Norway," Thorkildsen said.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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