Kingston - Yohan Blake won Jamaica's men's 100 metres Olympic trials in 9.95
seconds on Friday after world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt pulled out
minutes before the final with a hamstring injury.
Bolt handed in a medical exemption after aggravating in Friday's
semifinals a right hamstring injury that he had sustained Thursday
Blake had to stave off a false start, which was wrongfully charged to
him by the team of starters, who took back the red card in favour of a
yellow card that was charged to the field.
Running in lane four, Blake held his nerve on the second time of asking,
beating Nickel Ashmeade (9.96s) to the line by one hundreds of a
Newcomer Jevaughn Minzie, training partner of Bolt and Blake, ended
third in a personal best 10.02secs, while former world record holder
Asafa Powell was fourth in 10.03 seconds.
"God is alive. A lot of people didn't think I'd be back but watch here, I am." an elated Blake said.
"It has been a struggle (batting back from hamstring injuries)...I
wanted to go faster but because of the tragedy that was going on at the
start I couldn't because I had to conserve and be cautious," the 2011
world champion told Reuters.
Bolt's withdrawal does not affect his participation in the Rio Olympics,
where he is expected to defend his 100 and 200 metre titles.
Unlike the United States, where the first three finishers in the trials
win Olympic berths, Jamaica's selection policy allows medical
Bolt had clocked 10.04 seconds to win the first semifinal after a poor
start and was due to square off in the final against Blake.
Elaine Thompson stormed to women's 100 metre final win, clocking
10.70secs to equal two-time defending Olympic champion Shelly-Ann
Fraser-Pryce's national record while punching her ticket to Rio.
Thompson was in destructive form after taking control of the final after
30 metres to win ahead of Fraser-Pryce who clocked 10.93 seconds.
Their training partner Christania Williams, 21, came third with a career best 10.97 seconds.
"It's been a wonderful season from the start and coming to this trials
to make my first Olympic team with a personal best I can't complain as
you see I'm actually crying right now, " Thompson told Reuters.
She also had words of encouragement for Fraser-Pryce, who has struggled with a toe injury all year.
"I know Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce wasn't healthy and coming out year you
have to be tough and she was determined and came out and book her spot
to the Olympics," the world 200m silver medallist said.