Usain Bolt did not get off to the best of starts in the 100m at the Bislett Games Diamond League meeting in Oslo last night but at least he got off to a legal one – unlike Jessica Ennis, who was disqualified for a false start in the 100m hurdles final, and Mark Lewis-Francis, who suffered the same fate in the same race as the world's fastest man.
It made little difference. It took a little longer than in Rome last week for Bolt to make up the lost ground on Asafa Powell but in the final 40m he pulled ahead of his Jamaican compatriot to win by 0.06sec in 9.79sec. It was not quite as swift as the 9.76sec he clocked in the Italian capital but such was the Lightning Bolt's momentum he knocked over the poor flower girl who was attempting to hand him a bouquet some 20m beyond the finish line.
It was not an entirely wasted night for Ennis but, having clocked 12.83sec for third place in her 100m hurdles heat, and taken the scalp of former world indoor champion Lolo Jones, she would have been hoping to crack her lifetime best of 12.79sec in a super-fast final. That race was won in 12.49sec by world champion Sally Pearson of Australia, with Ennis' GB team mate Tiffany Porter third in 12.70sec.
It was not the best of nights for Dai Greene either. The world 400m hurdles champion had been obliged to withdraw from the Golden Gala Diamond League meeting in Rome last week because of a virus and signs of rust were evident as the Welshman strove to keep up with Javier Culson, the early season world leader in the event from Puerto Rico.
Greene entered the home straight down in third and faded to fourth in 48.98sec as Culson finished a clear winner in 47.92sec, the fastest time in the world this year, with Jehue Gordon of Trinidad second in 48.78sec and Justin Gaymon of the United States nicking third place in 48.98sec.
"It's very disappointing," Greene said. "But, given how things were last week, maybe it was asking too much to up my game. Hopefully I can bring that time down with a few weeks of training. I've got to mix it with these guys. I'll be alright come the Olympics."
Whether Kenenisa Bekele will be alright come London 2012 is open to question. For the fourth race in succession this summer, the reigning Olympic 5,000m and 10,000m champion was a long way short of his best last night, struggling home fifth in the 5,000m in 13min 00.54sec – one place and 0.13sec behind his younger brother Tariku. The Ethiopian's faltering form will doubtless offer encouragement to Mo Farah, the Londoner who took the 5,000m gold and 10,000m silver at the World Championships in Daegu last summer.
One would have imagined that second place in the 200m behind the in-form Ivory Coast sprinter Murielle Ahoure in the 200m would have been a source of encouragement for Abi Oyepitan but the 32-year-old Shaftesbury Barnet Harrier was far from happy with her time of 22.71sec. "I've got to be in better shape than that," the 2004 Olympic finalist said.
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