Zürich, Switzerland – Usain Bolt’s 19.66 meeting record in the 200m and Mohammed Aman’s dramatic upset victory over David Rudisha were just a pair of the highlights at the Weltklasse Zurich on Thursday, the first of two Samsung Diamond League finals for 2012.
In all 15 series-long Samsung Diamond Race trophies, and the USD 40,000 prize that accompanies them, were awarded – the men’s and women’s Shot Put winners were crowned yesterday – before another sell-out crowd of 26,000 who packed Letzigrund Stadium despite steady rains and unseasonably cool temperatures.
Bolt beats the chill
By the time Bolt was adjusting his blocks for the 200m, the rains had finally relented but the temperatures had dipped to a chilly 14 C. The cold didn’t seem to affect the double Olympic champion, or his compatriot Nickel Ashmeade, who pushed, and even threatened Bolt for some 160 metres of the contest.
The pair was relatively even off the curve and into the stretch until Bolt finally pulled away for good to beat the 19.79 meeting record set by Wallace Spearmon two years ago.
“Since my disappointment at the London Olympic Games, where I finished fourth in the 400m Hurdles final, I decided to call a premature end to my season. To be honest, I had lost a bit of motivation to compete and after the problems I had with my knee during the winter it made sense to have a long rest.
“I have just returned from a short break on holiday with my girlfriend and her family in France. It was good to spend some quality time with Sian’s family. We stayed about 90 minutes from Nice and not far from St Tropez. In the mornings we spend travelling through nearby villages, in the afternoon I played a bit of volleyball and sat, mainly in the shade, reading and on an evening we’d go for meals out.
“I plan to have about seven weeks off before returning to training on October 8 with my coach, Malcolm Arnold. I’ll start going out for small runs about two weeks before that date but the slightly extended break won’t be too bad as I normally take five to six weeks out at the end of every season.
“As for the Olympics it was obviously a huge disappointment for me and it may take some months to fully recover.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t in the best shape of my life for the biggest competition of my career. The semi-finals certainly took me by surprise (Dai finished fourth and only qualified for the final as one of two fastest losers). I had aspirations to win a medal and even win the event and to get through to the final as a fastest loser was a big shock.