By Gary Smith, World-Track
PARIS — Jamaica’s sprint marvel Usain Bolt says in spite of the flourish of success thus far this season, he is still 15-percent shy of full capacity.
Bolt, who seems to invite appalling conditions everything he announces his intentions to land a fast time on the circuit, again beat the rain, the cold and wind to send another warning to his rivals on the back of a start he would rather forget in a blink.
Following Thursday’s pre-meeting training session, which was ideal for sprinting, a confident Bolt promised “something special” on Friday evening’s Meeting Areva fourth ÅF Golden League 2009 meeting in France.
But as it did on his last outing in a 200m in Lausanne earlier this month, during a 150m street race in Manchester in May and his appearance in Toronto last month, the rain came pouring down minutes before he suited down for his event at the Stade de France.
Flickering on the sizzling 19.59seconds he ran in similar conditions during the Athletissima on 7 July, Bolt confidently stepped into his blocks after a couple of swags for the audience and laid down a remarkable 9.79seconds with a -0.2m/s wind in his face.
"When you run in bad conditions, you have to push hard to get good times, when the conditions are not favouring you," Bolt said.
"You can’t do anything about the weather. The World Championships will be in Berlin, so I think it’s good for me to get some racing in the rain. You never know what the weather will be like there," he added.
If the conditions were not bad enough then Bolt’s start, which he said was worse than Ostrava’s nightmare, did not help his causes.
But like he does with such perfection, the lanky Jamaican world record holder powered his way back in the last 40m to prove how much of a champion he truly is.
In the midst of his celebrations, however, Bolt took the time to mention that he was only 85% ready and still had some work to do before the World Championships next month.
"I’m at 85% – there is more work for me to do," Bolt told reporters – a testimony that should left even the inform world leader and reigning world sprint double champion Tyson Gay puffing.
He went on to say: "My reaction is poor, this is something I have to work on in the next weeks before Berlin. It was just a bad start from me – the execution into the drive-through wasn’t good.
"I didn’t do so well in the first 30 metres. But overall it’s a good time, I’m happy with it."
"It’s life, things don’t ever happen the way you want."
He added: "I had a good feeling on the track, it was like I was flying."
It was a good boasting meeting for Bolt’s coach Glen Mills, who watched his pupils swept the top three spots in the race.
Antiguan Daniel Bailey clocked a national record of 9.91secs for second and the 19-year-old Jamaican Yohan Blake finished third in 9.93, adding to the 9.96, he ran behind Gay and Asafa Powell in Rome last Friday.
Meanwhile, Bolt’s next race will be a 100m against fellow countryman and former world record holder Powell at Crystal Palace in London next week. Powell is undefeated at this meeting.
Gay will also race at the meeting, but he will race over 100m.
Photo: Sporting Actions