3 Jul 2016

Bolt down but not out

7:53 am on 3 July 2016

Yohan Blake won Jamaica's men's 100 metres Olympic trials in 9.95 seconds, after world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt pulled out minutes before the final with a hamstring injury.

The Jamaican world sprint champion Usain Bolt.

Jamaican world sprint champion Usain Bolt Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Bolt handed in a medical exemption after aggravating the right hamstring injury he sustained on Thursday night in Friday's semi-finals.

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 hundredth of a second.

Newcomer Jevaughn Minzie, the training partner of Bolt and Blake, ended third in a personal best 10.02 seconds, 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 said.

Bolt's withdrawal does not affect his participation in the Rio Olympics, where he is expected to defend his 100m and 200m titles.

Unlike the United States, where the first three finishers in the trials win Olympic berths, Jamaica's selection policy allows medical exemptions.

Bolt had clocked 10.04 seconds to win the first semi-final after a poor start and was due to square off in the final against Blake.

Elaine Thompson stormed to women's 100m final win, clocking 10.70 seconds 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 30m 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.

- Reuters