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Updated: August 21, 2009 03:30 IST

Lightning Bolt strikes 200m gold in record time

AP
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Jamaica's Usain Bolt runs to setting a new World Record as he wins the Men's 200m final during the World Athletics Championships in Berlin on Thursday.
AP Jamaica's Usain Bolt runs to setting a new World Record as he wins the Men's 200m final during the World Athletics Championships in Berlin on Thursday.

Usain Bolt extended his stunning domination in the sprints on Thursday, adding the 200-meter gold to his tally at the world championships with yet another world record.

Gritting his teeth and pointing to the clock as soon as the record flashed, Bolt is now 5-for-5 in major sprint events going back to the Beijing Olympics, winning gold each time with a world record.

His time of 19.19 slashed .11 seconds off the mark he set last year at the Beijing Olympics and came four days after breaking his 100 record by the same margin.

“I am on my way to being a legend,” Bolt said.

No one among the near capacity crowd at the 70,000-seat Olympic Stadium disagreed, while Bolt was already thinking of more titles.

“If Queen Elizabeth knighthooded me... I would get the title Sir Usain Bolt,” the Jamaican said. “That sounds very nice.”

Alonso Edward of Panama was second, a massive .62 seconds behind Bolt. Wallace Spearmon of the United States took bronze.

Bolt’s spirits got a boost before the start when teammate Melaine Walker added the world title to her Olympic gold in the women’s 400 hurdles, another success for the Caribbean island with outsized performances at the championships.

With defending champion Tyson Gay out injured, Bolt’s only true competition stood beyond the finishing line {mdash} a huge track clock painted in the same colors as his Jamaican jersey.

Again he warmed up to the crowd like no one else can.

With a new take on former U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s famous Cold War quote “Ich bin ein Berliner,” Bolt pleased the locals with a training jersey saying “Ich bin ein Berlino,” referring to the bear mascot of the championships.

His running was even better than his show. From Lane 5, he gobbled up all the opposition by the end of the curve, and then let those huge arms and legs loose in a whirl of unmatched speed.

Once across the line, he stuck his tongue much like basketball great Michael Jordan used to. And in athletics, he now has the same exalted stature.

He took off his yam-coloured shoes, which had taken him though through eight races in six days, and he started celebrating on the eve of his 23rd birthday.

It was the first sultry evening in Berlin, with temperatures exceeding 30° C (almost 90° F), reminiscent of that same day, exactly one year ago, in Beijing.

“I definitely showed people that my world records in Beijing were not a joke,” said Bolt, who won gold in the 100, 200 and sprint relay in Beijing, each time with a world record.

Now he is one race away from doing the same thing in Berlin.

During warm-ups, Bolt faked knocking out Spearmon, with the American happily playing along as he also was sucked up by the Bolt aura. Afterward, Spearmon could do nothing but applaud greatness.

If Bolt is by far the world’s greatest sprinter, the title of “greatest athlete” traditionally giving to the winner of the decathlon went to Trey Hardee of the United States, taking over from injured compatriot Bryan Clay.

Despite a slow closing 1,500 meters, Hardee held on for gold, edging Leonel Suarez of Cuba.

Thursday’s finals left Jamaica at the top of the gold medal standings with five compared to four for the United States. Overall, the Americans edge was 13-9.

Ahead of Bolt’s magic, Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia started their chase for their own doubles.

After winning the 10,000 on Monday, Bekele was dominant again and crossed first in his heat of the 5,000.

The Ethiopian great won a long-distance double at the Beijing Olympics and adding two more golds in Berlin would establish him as perhaps the greatest distance runner Africa has had.

Running on two hours sleep, Kamel followed up victory in the 1,500 late Wednesday with a win and easy qualification for the semifinals in the 800.

Olympic hurdles champion Dayron Robles had a bad day, however.

The world-record holder had been slowed by a hamstring injury the past few weeks and after hitting the first three hurdles in his semifinal, he cried out in agony, grabbed his leg and slowed to a stop.

Robles had to be helped off the track, unable to lean to take any pressure on his left leg.

Instead, Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados had the performance of a lifetime to win in a photo finish.

Brathwaite hit the first hurdle but ran a clean race the rest of the way and nabbed the gold with a dip at the line to finish in 13.14 seconds.

Terrence Trammell of the United States took silver in 13.15, and American teammate David Payne picked up the bronze.

Defending champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia won the high jump with a leap of 2.04 after she was upset at last year’s Olympics and had to settle for silver.

Olympic bronze medalist Anna Chicherova of Russia took silver with a jump of 2.02, and Ariane Friedrich of Germany finished third by clearing the same height.

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