2011 Compeed Rome Golden Gala: Bolt Thrills 47,772 fans! release, note by Larry Eder

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Bolt_Usain-Rome11.jpg
Usain Bolt, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

In a setting that may be the most magnificent setting for a track meet in the world, Usain Bolt opened his season for the year 2011. It was not elegant, it was not smooth, but it was a win, as Usain Bolt showed that even track gods have to come back to earth and run with the humans.

Usain Bolt did not have one of his best starts, but, Usain put in the effort, and it showed. Powering away after seventy meters, it took a strong effort for Usain to get past a very fit Asafa Powell, who had a strong start and ran one of his best races in the past four years.
Usain Bolt won in 9.91 and Asafa Powell took second in 9.93. One of the true highlights of the evening! And there were many highlights!

In the end, Usain Bolt enthralled 47, 722 fans, who came to see him and their Italian stars. Andrew Howe served his Italian countryman well by winning the 200 meters, his first healthy race in nearly three years!
Bolt_UsainR-Rome11.jpgUsain Bolt, Celebrating his win, 2011 Compeed Golden Gala, Roma, photo by PhotoRun.net

COMPEED GOLDEN GALA: BOLT TOPS THE BILL IN ROME

A great night of athletics was celebrated in the historic Olympic Stadium
in Rome in front of 47732 enthusiastic spectators were thrilled by a
fantastic men's 100 metres which topped the bill. Jamaican Usain Bolt
recovered from a bad start from the blocks to overtake his compatriot
Asafa Powell into the finish-line. Powell had a great start and led until
the final metres of the race before being edged by triple world and
Olympic champion Bolt who crossed the finish-line in 9.91 to Powell's
9.93. Christophe Lemaitre narrowly missed his PB by 0.03 seconds to finish
third with 10.00. Bolt set the second fastest time in the world in 2011
behind Jamaican Steve Mullings who clocked 9.89 earlier this year.

"I think over the time should be OK. I got through my first race. I was so
nervous. I got a bad start and then kind started to panic. My coach will
analyse the race. I was not proud of the race. But I am back to business.
This is my first time in Rome and I appreciated the reaction of the crowd.
About Asafa's race ? I guess for him it was different because he had
already started his season. He was already in the season, unlike me", said
Bolt. "I was too focused on Usain. I was very relaxed at the start but
during the race I have lost my focus and so he could beat me", said
Powell.

Bolt's win over a great Asafa Powell, who improved his seasonal best from
Shanghai by 0.02 seconds, was the perfect finale to a memorable meeting
which was highlighted by seven world seasonal best times set by Allyson
Felix in the women's 400 metres (49.82), Imane Merga in the men's 5000
metres (12:54:21), Phillips Idowu in the men's triple jump (17.59 m),
Frenchan Renaud Lavillenie in the men's pole vault (5.82), Maryam Yusuf
Jamal in the women's 1500 metres (4:01.60) and Kenyan Milcah Chemos Chewya
in the women's 3000 metres (9:12.89) and Russian Javelin thrower Mariya
Abakumova (65.40).

The other competitions:

Men:
200 metres: Italian star Andrew Howe contributed to make the atmosphere
for the local crowd more exciting with a powerful 200 metres win in an
impressive 20.31, the third best time of his career after 20.28 at the
World Junior Championships in Grosseto 2004 and 20.30 at last September's
Notturna di Milano. The former long jump European champion sensationally
beat strong 200 metres specialists like Jamaican Marvin Anderson (20.49)
and Trinidad and Tobago's Rondel Sorrillo (20.68). "This 20"31 is great
even if in training I run even faster. But this was my first race in the
200 metres this season and I didn't know what to expect. Running in Rome
gives me a lot of pressure. My finish today was ot perfect. I have lost
something in the last ten metres of the race. I went close to my PB and
for being the first race of the season I may say I can be satisfied", said
Howe.

400 metres: Reigning world indoor champion Cristopher Brown from the
Bahamas set a new seasonal best to win in 45.16 holding off Jamaican
record holder Jermaine Gonzales (45.43).

800 metres: US Khadevis Robinson came off the bend in first place and
pulled ahead in the final straight to take the win in 1:45.09 ahead of
South African reigning world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (1:45.58). Doha DL
winner Asbel Kiprop finished fourth

5000 metres: Ethiopian Imane Merga, World Cross Country champion and 2010
Diamond League winner, repeated his last year's win in Rome with 12:54:21,
a new world seasonal best thanks to his impressive final kick in the last
200 metres. Isaiah Koech Kiplangat, who made the headlines this winter
with world junior indoor records in the 3000 and the 5000 metres,
impressed again with a new PB of 12:54:59. In a race where six men dipped
under 13 minutes Kenyan Vincent Chepkok Kiprop ran 12:55.29. .

400 metres hurdles: South African Louis Van Zyl clocked an impressive
47.91, his third sub-48 seconds time of the year showing that he is the
number one athlete in the world this season. For the former world junior
champion it's the second win this year in the Diamond League after Doha
where he clocked 48.11. European champion David Greene from Great Britain
opened his season with a solid 48.24 for second place ahead of US Angelo
Taylor, who also improved his seasonal best with 48.66.

Triple Jump: Briton Phillps Idowu, reigning European and World champion,
got off to a flying start in his season with an impressive world seasonal
best of 17.59 m. Former Olympic champion Christian Olsson produced a good
return to form with 17.29 in the triple jump beating World bronze
medallist Alexis Copello from Cuba (17.14).

Pole Vault: European Outdoor and Indoor champion Renaud Lavillenie bounced
back from his fourth place in the opening leg of the Diamond League in
Doha by setting a new pole vault world seasonal best with 5.82. German
Malte Mohr, winner in Doha with with the previous world seasonal best of
5.81, is still in the lead in the Diamond Race with six points after his
second place in Rome with 5.72. "The competition went very well. I just
achieved a WL. At 5.72 I was very tired. My legs felt very tired. It is
grear that I got some points for the Diamond League."

Shot Put: Canadian Dylan Armstrong, who already won in the opening leg of
the Diamond League in Doha,  continued his strong season by taking his
second win in this year' s Diamond League with 21.60 m, 12 cm off his
seasonal best. Four men went beyond the 21 metres: Olympic champion Tomas
Majewski from Poland improved his seasonal best with 21.20 beating US
former World champion Reese Hoffa (21.13) and US reigning World champion
Christian Cantwell who produced his first release over the 21 metres
barrier this outdoor season with 21.09.

4x100 relay: Canada beat the Italian team, European silver medallist from
Barcelona, in 38.65 to 38.89.

Women's competitions:

200 metres: Allyson Felix was too tired after her 49.82 in the 400 metres
run just 45 minutes before the 200 metres and had to settle with fourth
place in the half-lap race in 22.81. The win went to US Bianca Knight who
set her seasonal best of 22.64 to take the victory ahead of Jamaican
Olympic bronze medallist Kerron Stewart (22.74) and former 200 metres
world champion Debbie Ferguson McKenzie (22.76). Sanya Richards Ross took
fifth place in her new seasonal best of 22.88.

400 metres: 2010 Diamond League winner Allyson Felix won the first sprint
clash of the night with a new world seasonal best of 49.82, the first
sub-50 seconds of the year. The US triple 200 metres world champion beat
for the second time in this year's Diamond League Botswana's Amantle
Montsho who clocked 50.47 finishing second ahead of US rising star
Francena McCorory (50.70). World champion Sanya Richards-Ross, who is on
comeback trail after being sidelined by an injury last year, finished a
distant fifth in 50.98. "The two events were a big challenge. My legs hurt
a lot. I am not sure if I am going to do it again this year. I will decide
about my events in Daegu after the US Nationals.", said Felix.

1500 metres: Reigning world junior champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal set a new
world seasonal best with 4:01.60. Ethiopian Meskerem Assefa improved her
lifetime best to 4:02:12 beating compatriot Gelete Burka, third in
4:03.28. Doha Diamond League Anna Mischchenko came close to her PB in
fourth place with 4:03:53 holding off Olympic champion and 2010 Diamond
Race winner Nancy Langat (4:03.66).

3000 metres steeplechase: The first world seasonal best of the meeting
fell in the 3000 metres steeplechase race where reigning World bronze
medallist Milcah Chemos Cheywa clocked 9:12.89 which improved her 9:16:44
from Doha. Ethiopian Sofia Assefa set the new national record with
9:15.04. Ethiopian Birtukan Adamu set a new world junior record finishing
fourth in 9:20:37 improving the previous limit held by Sofia Assefa who
ran 9:20:72 in Brussels.

100 metres hurdles: Reigning Olympic champion Dawn Harper cruised to a
new seasonal best of 12.70 to take the win over Doha Diamond League winner
Kellie Wells (12.73) and Danielle Carruthers (12.80): Swiss Lisa Urech, a
European Championships finalist in Barcelona, ran a great race taking
fourth place in a new seasonal best of 12.84 beating European Indoor
bronze medallist Christina Vukicevic (12.86).

Long Jump: US reigning world champion Brittney Reese narrowly missed the
world seasonal best with 6.94 which she repeated twice in the fourth and
in the sixth attempt. Reese overtook Doha's Diamond League winner Funmi
Jimoh who led until the third round with 6.87.

High Jump:  Croatian super-star Blanka Vlasic took her fifth Golden Gala
win but she could not clear the 2 metres barrier. Vlasic had to to settle
with 1.95 in the second attempt, one cm better than her winning mark set
in Shanghai. Vlasic then failed three attempts at 2.00 metres.
"This season is different and is going to be quite long. I feel in great
shape but sometimes, even if you feel good, you cannot see it in
competition", said Vlasic.

Javelin Throw: Mariya Abakumova from Russia, Olympic silver medallist in
Bejing, improved the world seasonal best to 65.40 to take the win in the
first DL competition in this event beating European silver medallist
Christina Obergfoll (63.97).

Discus Throw: European champion Sandra Perkovic scored her second win in a
row in this year's Diamond League with 65.56 in the second attempt,
missing her best seasonal mark set in the Shanghai Diamond League meeting
by just two centimeters. Thanks to her wins in Shanghai and Rome Perkovic
leads the Diamond Race with 8 points. World silver medallsit Yarelis
Barrios from Cuba finished runner-up with 64.18 m.

RESULTS: http://www.diamondleague-rome.com/Archivio-Risultati/Overview/

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