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The Honolulu Advertiser
Updated at 10:07 a.m., Sunday, July 13, 2008

Track: Bolt posts fastest 200 time of year at Athens meet

By DEMETRIS NELLAS
Associated Press Writer

ATHENS Usain Bolt, the 100-meter world record holder, ran the fastest time in the 200 this year, winning in 19.67 seconds today at the Tsiklitiria Athens Grand Prix track meet.

Although he started slowly, Bolt had recovered as he came out of the curve, leading comfortably in the home straight and winning by a wide margin ahead of Brendan Christian of Antigua, who was second in 20.36.

"I am very satisfied with my performance," Bolt said. "I feel sure I will be very strong at the Olympic Games."

Bolt has previously said he is unsure whether he will compete in both the 100 and 200 at the Beijing Olympics next month.

The 21-year-old Jamaican broke the 100 world record in May. He didn't run the 100 in Athens.

Asked if he would be going for the 200 world record, which Michael Johnson set in August 1996, Bolt said not yet.

"Not this year, maybe next," he said.

Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas won the 100 in 10.10, finishing ahead of Americans Darvis Patton and Mark Jelks.

"This is my second win in a row here in Athens and I am very proud," Atkins said.

Atkins, runner-up at last year's World Championships, surged in the second half of the race to win easily. Fearing disqualification after a false start, the sprinters were slow getting out of the blocks and ran into a slight head wind.

"(I was) tired after strong races at the U.S. champs," Patton said. "My next race will be in London. In Beijing, I want to win a medal."

In the 110 hurdles, world record holder Dayron Robles set a championship record by winning in 13.04 seconds.

"Getting the Olympic gold medal is the most important thing to me, because it's something you can only do every four years," the Cuban said. "I know Liu (Xiang) will be difficult to beat. The people love him in China and he's a good person."

Robles ran a 12.87 last month, bettering Liu's previous mark of 12.89.

In the women's 100, Veronica Campbell of Jamaica won in 10.92 to equal the meet record set in 1999.

"I'm satisfied with my race," said Campbell, the 200 Olympic champion. "I train very hard and I hope to stay healthy in order to achieve my goal in Beijing. I adore Athens, I run my best races here."

Campbell is to run the 200 and the 400 relay, but not the 100 at the Beijing Games next month.

In the men's 400 hurdles, Louis Van Zyl of South Africa won in 48.22 seconds, the third best time in the world this year, beating Reuben McCoy of the United States.

"I am very happy. I ran my best race over the past two years," Van Zyl said. "I found my rhythm and I feel great ahead of the Beijing Games."

Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic threw the javelin 209 feet, 0 inches to edge world-record holder Osleidys Menendez of Cuba by 2.8 inches.

"I didn't start well, but I found my rhythm in the end," Spotakova said. "I want to throw a personal best in Beijing."

In the triple jump, reigning world champion Nelson Evora of Portugal won with a leap of 56-6, beating the 55-8 posted by Marian Oprea of Romania.

"I checked my rhythm and my technique, because it was my first competition of the outdoors season," Evora said. "The crowd helped me a lot."