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'Tired' Bolt cruises to 200m title in Jamaica

DOUBLE Olympic champion Usain Bolt won the Jamaican 200 metres national title yesterday, his first run at that distance this year, but conceded he is far from top shape ahead of the world championships in August.

After bursting through the bend, Bolt eased off in the final stages to finish with a time of 20.25, nearly a full second shy of his world record 19.30 set at the final of the Beijing Games last year.

"I'm feeling alright, I'm a little bit tired because I am not really in the best shape of my life, but I'm OK," Bolt told reporters after the race.

"There were a lot of fast guys behind me so I ran the corner pretty hard and then I came off and saw where I was and shut it down -- it was ok," said Bolt, who also won the 100 metres race on Saturday.

In contrast to his dancing jubilation in Beijing, a no-nonsense Bolt crossed the line without celebration in front of cheering home fans to finish ahead of Steve Mullings, second with 20.40, and Marvin Anderson on 20.63.

The run was enough to win the national title and secure passage to the world championships, but betrayed little of the awesome power the Jamaican revealed at last year's edition in the lead-up to Beijing.

"I'm probably a little bit back, compared to that. I've still got a lot of work to do, day by day. But I am ready to do it," he said.

"I ran the corner very well I think and my coach will decide what to do to improve it."


Bolt faces a showdown in Berlin with world champion Tyson Gay, who last week said he could break the Jamaican's 100m record if he could improve his start.

After winning the national 100m title on Saturday, Bolt hit back by declaring the American had little chance of setting a new mark.

The Jamaican said he hoped to come up against his main rivals, Gay among them, at least once before the world championships in Berlin.

"I wouldn't mind meeting them in every race in the build-up so I know what I have to do but at least once before would be good," Bolt said.

Bolt and Gay may face off before the worlds at the London Grand Prix, with the Jamaican signed up and discussions being held with the American's camp, according to organisers of the July 24-25 event.

Like Bolt, two-time women's 200 metres Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown had little trouble securing first place in the Jamaican trials, holding off rival and 100 metres gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser to win in 22.40.

Fraser was .18 seconds behind with Simone Facey finishing third on 22.96.

Campbell-Brown is one of a number of Jamaica's elite athletes with injury concerns, but the bubbly sprinter said she was pleased with her progress.

"I'm not 100 percent over the toe injury but it is good enough, I can get the training done," said Campbell-Brown, who will defend her 100 metres championship in Berlin, but has yet to win a world title at 200 metres.

"I have to admit the five weeks that I lost have hurt me but I have enough time to get back in the 21 region for Berlin," she said.

"It doesn't matter what you run now, it is Berlin that counts."


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