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September 6, 2009

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Bolt wins in Brussels as trio shares jackpot

TRIPLE Olympic and world champion Usain Bolt cruised to 200 meters victory in a Brussels Golden League meeting record on Friday while three athletes shared the final US$1 million jackpot.

The irrepressible Jamaican, paraded around the King Baudouin Stadium in a convertible car at the start, glided round the bend on the newly-laid track to clock 19.57 seconds and beat the previous best of American Tyson Gay (19.79) in 2006.

"I was feeling kind of fatigued. That's why I backed off in the last 25 to 30 meters," Bolt told reporters.

"Oh my God, I can't wait. I'm really looking forward to going home," added the sprinter, who has been on the road since July 1.

Bolt delighted the capacity crowd at the rain-soaked meeting with his customary theatrics and broad grin.

Earlier, world champion Sanya Richards romped to victory in the 400 in a meeting record of 48.83 seconds to claim a share of the US$1 million jackpot.

The American said the money would ensure her wedding in February would be even more lavish.

Competitors must win their events at all six of the season's Golden League meetings to earn the cash prize.

Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva and Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele, Olympic and world champion at 5,000 and 10,000, shared the money with Richards.

Isinbayeva, who failed to retain her world title in Berlin last month, secured victory by dint of fewer failures at 4.70 meters before making three failed attempts to break her world record of 5.06 set in Zurich last week.

The Russian said she was over-confident and too relaxed in Berlin. "There, my head was at the top of the mountains, in the sky. Now I'm back on earth," said Isinbayeva.

Bekele was made to fight hardest for his prize, pushed all the way to the line in the 5,000 by four other Africans who all set personal bests. His winning time was 12:55:31.

The capacity crowd at the Van Damme Memorial was denied a sprint duel between Bolt and the world's second fastest man when Gay opted to run the 100.

Gay (10.00) made a poor start and finished second in the blue riband event to Jamaican Asafa Powell (9.90).

"I just got my butt kicked," said Gay.

Kenya broke the world record in the rarely run 4x1,500 relay with a time of 14:36:23.

The time was almost two seconds better than the previous best set by a West German team in 1977, which until Friday was the oldest existing world record.

The meeting marked the end of 12 seasons of the Golden League. Next year it will be replaced by the Diamond League, a 14-city tour, including events in Asia and US.


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