PRAGUE (Reuters) - Sprint king Usain Bolt ramped up his preparations for the Rio Olympics by pulling away to post a time below 10 seconds in the 100 meters at the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting.
The Jamaican, making his second start this season, faced little competition in his annual trip to the Czech event as he ran 9.98 to finish 0.23 ahead of Ramon Gittens of Barbados.
American Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton pulled out of what would have been their first head-to-head meeting after feeling tightness in his leg during the long jump.
Coming out of lane four, Bolt began slowly but took control midway through the race, showing little sign of the discomfort he showed in winning the 100m in 10.05 seconds in the Cayman Invitational this month in his first event of the season.
He had received treatment in Germany on his hamstring before traveling to the Czech Republic.
“I am happy I got under 10 seconds,” he told Czech TV after achieving the target he had set himself before the race.
“I had no problems. I didn’t feel my hamstrings today. That means the doctor did a great job as always. I am always happy when I come out of a race injury free.”
Bolt, the 100 and 200 world record holder, is preparing for Jamaica’s Olympic trials from June 30 to July 3 in Kingston.
As he approaches the end of his Olympic career, Bolt is aiming for an unprecedented threepeat at the Rio Games in August where he will defend his 100, 200 and 4x100 relay titles.
Eaton, a decathlon world record holder who is also set to defend his title in Rio, was due to take on Bolt for he first time but decided against running after the long jump.
Czech Radek Juska won the event with a distance of 7.92 meters. Eaton finished third, having recorded 7.55 after completing only two jumps.
Paralympic champion Markus Rehm, nicknamed “Blade Jumper”, reached 8.13. The 2012 Paralympics gold medalist and 2014 German long jump champion hopes to become the second athlete with a carbon fiber running blade to compete in the Olympics after South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius in 2012.
In the men’s pole vault, France’s world record holder and Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie won with his season’s best of 5.83m.
On Thursday, Poland’s Anita Wlodarczyk won the women’s hammer throw, smashing the meeting record by almost half a meter with a throw of 78.54.
Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Ken Ferris