Usain Bolt overcame a poor start to claim an easy victory in the 100m at the AF Golden League meeting in Zurich despite clearly being under the weather.
Despite claiming he was suffering no tiredness from his performances in Beijing where he won both the 100m and 200m Olympic titles in world record times and earned another in Jamaica’s 4x100m relay success, Bolt never tried to raise his game to those heights.
The triple champion was the last contestant out of his blocks and the race was past the halfway point before he opened his long legs to power to the front and clinch victory in 9.83seconds.
The time fell short of the Weltklasse meeting record of 9.77secs which his fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell – who he succeeded as world record holder - achieved two years ago.
The USA’s Walter Dix reversed placings with Trinidad’s Richard Thompson who beat him for the silver medal in Beijing with the pair clocking 9.99 and 10.09.
“My start was not too good,” admitted Bolt. “I concentrated on winning and as I’m starting to get a cold I was not able to think about a faster time.”
Bolt, who received an ecstatic reception from the capacity 26,000 crowd, added: “My coach told told me that I should make sure to end the season healthy.”
Now the 6ft 5in athlete will be hoping for a swift recovery before competing over 200m at the IAAF Super Grand Prix meeting in Lausanne next Tuesday.
There were high expectations of at least one world record in a meeting proudly boasting the reputation of the “Three Hour Olympics,” but all forecasted attempts failed to materialise.
The closest came from Pamela Jelimo who in a well-paced race fell short of Jarmila Kratochvilova’s 25-year-old mark in the 800m of one minute 53.28 seconds set in Munich 25 years ago.
However the 18-year-old Olympic champion broke her own world junior record for the fifth time this season thanks to a powerful run for home from 250m.
The Kenyan raced well clear of the field to win in a time of 1min 54.01sec as runner-up Maryam Jamal set a Bahrain record of 1:57.80 with world champion Janeth Jepkosgei third in 1:58.26.
“I am so tired,” said Jelimo, along with high jumper Blanka Vlasic, the sole survivor in the chase for the IAAF US dollars one million Golden jackpot.
“But this was my best race with the best pacemakers.
“The world record is now closer but I’m not sure I can do it this year – maybe next.”
Vlasic suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Tia Hellebaut in Beijing but returned to winning ways and looks set to share the jackpot with Jelimo.
The Croatian won with a height of 2.01m from Russian and American rivals Anna Chicherova and Chaunte Howard who both cleared 1.98.
Belgium’s Hellebaut could jump no higher than 1.90m for eighth place.
Pole vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva also struggled and with the bar at 4.75m faced elimination, before soaring over and improving to a winning height and meeting record of 4.88m.
Cuba’s Olympic 110m hurdles champion Dayron Robles was pushed to the limit by David Oliver as he looked to smash his world record of 12.87, but he survived the American’s late challenge to win by 0.01secs in a time of 12.97.
Kenenisa Bekele dominated the 5,000m after breaking clear after just two kilometres.
The 26-year-old Ethiopian winner of both the 5000m and 10000m, won by a huge margin of almost 10 seconds, with the world’s fastest time this year of 12:50.18.
Andreas Thorkildsen, the first Norwegian to retain an Olympic title, won the javelin with a throw of 90.28m – just 29cm short of his season’s best – from Finnish rivals Tero Pitamaki and Tero Jarvenpaa.
Jeremy Wariner returned to winning ways to defeat fellow American LaShawn Merritt who deprived him of his Olympic title by 0.61 in a season’s best of 43.82.
There was a shock defeat for Bahrain’s Olympic 1500m champion Rashid Ramzi who finished 0.80sec behind fast finishing Haron Keitany, the Kenyan posting a personal best of 3:32.06.
Marilyn Okoro finished fifth in the 800m with a time of 1:59.03 while Tom Lancashire placed 11th in teh 1500m, narrowly missing his personal best by just 0.33sec with a time of 3:35.66.