STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - World record holder Usain Bolt lost his first 100 meters final in over two years when he was beaten into second by American Tyson Gay at a Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on Friday.
Gay got a good start and was narrowly ahead by halfway before storming clear to win in a meeting record of 9.84 seconds for his first victory over Bolt.
The Jamaican triple Olympic champion, who had looked out of sorts in suffering his first defeat in 15 100 meters finals, was second in 9.94.
Bolt’s previous loss was also in Stockholm in July 2008 when he finished behind compatriot Asafa Powell, who missed Friday’s race because of a back injury.
“I know Usain Bolt is not in his best shape, but I’m still happy with the victory,” Gay told reporters.
“My body worked well today, I was excited and motivated. The start was OK but I must admit I was surprised not seeing Usain in front after half the race,” added Gay.
The American received a one-carat diamond for breaking the stadium record and planned to give it to his mother.
It was only the third occasion the two fastest sprinters of all time over 100 meters had met in competition. Their two previous clashes, at last year’s world championships and in New York in 2008, resulted in world records for Bolt.
But the 23-year-old Jamaican has been troubled by an Achilles tendon problem this season and is unable to run over 200 meters for fear of further injury.
“I need to work on my strength, my strength is really low,” Bolt told reporters, adding he had been put off when the athletes were twice asked to stand up from the blocks before the start of the race.
“I start fastest when the gun fires quickly, that’s when I’m ready to go,” he said.
Bolt, whose world record stands at 9.58, Gay and Powell are scheduled to race over 100 meters at the final Diamond League meeting in Brussels on August 27.
Editing by Alison Wildey