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Bolt races to year's fastest 200 meters time

Usain Bolt of Jamaica crosses the finish line to win the men's 200 metres event during the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting at the Stad
Usain Bolt of Jamaica crosses the finish line to win the men's 200 metres event during the IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting at the Stad

By Gregory Blachier

PARIS (Reuters) - Olympic champion Usain Bolt sent out a warning to his rivals ahead of the world championships by running the fastest time of the year to win the 200 meters at the Paris Diamond League on Saturday.

The world record holder eased to the line in 19.73 bettering American Tyson Gay's world lead by 0.01 seconds and then said there was more to come.

"I came out to try and execute the best I could. I did a few things wrong but all I have to do is go back to the drawing board and get it right," Bolt, who was dogged by a hamstring injury earlier in the season, told a news conference.

"I lost one 100 meters and a lot of people are making a big deal out of it, and it doesn't really bother me," the Jamaican said in reference to his defeat by Justin Gatlin in Rome last month.

"I am a championship person, I'm not worried, as long as I'm in great shape."

Home favorite Christophe Lemaitre, who won the world bronze two years ago, finish third in 20.07 with Jamaica's Olympic bronze medalist Warren Weir second in 19.92.

Twice Olympic 100 meters champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce held off Nigeria's fast-finishing Blessing Okagbare for a thrilling win in 10.92 seconds, 0.01 ahead of her rival who beat her over 200 last weekend.

"Today it was not the best race technically but I still managed to win," Fraser-Pryce told reporters.

"I did not feel Blessing coming, I just ran my own race," said the Jamaican who is planning a sprint double in Moscow.

WORLD LEAD

There was a world leading time of 14:23.68 for Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba in the 5,000 meters as she bids for a third world title over the distance in Moscow next month before turning to the marathon.

"It's a good test before Moscow," Dibaba told reporters. "It was my last race before the world championships where I've decided to race the 5,000 and the 10,000," added the twice 10,000 meters world champion.

Fellow Ethiopian Almaz Ayana stunned the crowd by taking second place in 14:25.84, smashing her personal best by more than 26 seconds and becoming the sixth fastest woman of all times.

Olympic and world champion Kirani James produced a superb effort to win the 400 meters with a world-leading time of 43.96 seconds, the second quickest of his career. LaShawn Merritt of the U.S. was second in 44.09.

Aries Merritt, 110 hurdles world record holder, showed he was starting to run into form following a hamstring injury, with victory in 13.09.

France's Mahiedine Mekhissi, gave the home crowd something to cheer about with a European record of 8:00.09 in the 3,000 meters steeplechase but the twice Olympic silver medalist still finished second to London 2012 champion Ezekiel Kemboi who won with a world-leading time of 7:59.03.

Kenyan Kemboi seemed more excited by Mekhissi's performance than his own, pulling the Frenchman off the floor after the finish to celebrate with him.

Britain's Olympic champion Greg Rutherford pulled out of the long jump during the competition complaining of a hamstring problem, however he later played down the injury.

"Just realized worlds is still 5 and a half weeks away. Plenty of time for this old hand," Rutherford tweeted.

France's Renaud Lavillenie, who became Olympic champion last year but is still seeking his first world crown, won the pole vault with a meeting record of 5.92 meters, two days after failing at his opening height at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne.

(Additional reporting by Johnny Cotton; Editing by Alison Wildey)

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