Bolt blitzes to victory at Cayman Invitational
Usain Bolt blitzed to victory in the showpiece 100m sprint finale at the Cayman Invitational track meet on Saturday evening.
The Jamaican sprint legend lived up to his billing with a 10.05 second run to take first place from American Dentarius Locke, who ran him close in 10.12.
Bolt celebrated with a lap of honor around the Truman Bodden Sports Complex, to the delight of thousands of adoring fans who packed the stadium, many waving Jamaican flags.
Afterwards he paid tribute to the crowd, saying, “They gave me a lot of love and I respect that. I’m happy about that. I really appreciate people coming out and I hope I can get to come back here.”
Bolt’s Jamaican teammate Kemar Bailey-Cole finished third in 10.18 seconds with Caymanian Kemar Hyman sixth in 10.32.
In his first race of the season, as he bids to become the first man in history to win three consecutive Olympic 100m golds, Bolt acknowledge he was not at his flying best.
“I didn’t feel smooth. It is hard to come into your first race and do extra well. I just need a few more runs to get fluent,” he said.
Bolt will run twice more before the Olympic trials and hopes to be consistently breaking the ten-second barrier by that point.
Kemar Hyman, Cayman’s own rising sprint star, said he was disappointed with his time but happy to be back in George Town to race in front of a home crowd.
“It was not a great time but it was an amazing race. I love the crowd, I’m very happy. I wish next year and the years to come it can be like this.
“I just love the support from the crowd. I want to be great and I hope they see that and support me through my career.”
He said it wasn’t intimidating lining up next to the world’s fastest man.
“It was just exciting. Just to run against him is a great honor, so I feel really well.”
Earlier in the night, U.S. athlete Jenna Prandini completed a sprint double, taking the women’s 100m and 200m.
Machel Cedenio, of Trinidad and Tobago, took the men’s 800m crown and Miguel Francis, of Antigua and Barbuda, won the men’s 200m.
In a press conference Friday, Minister of Tourism Moses Kirkconnell said Bolt’s presence in Cayman boosts an essential market here — sports tourism.
“The invitational itself has brought more than 100 athletes alone and the athletes are from 22 different countries,” Mr. Kirkconnell said. “Sponsoring world-class events which bring household names like Usain to Cayman sets us into the grand recognition that we want.”