Usain Bolt ran hard to win a 100m in a “slow” 9.98 seconds in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Friday, but didn’t grimace as he did last Saturday in his first race since Aug. 29.
“My first 40 meters, maybe 50 meters, was kind of sluggish,” Bolt, who shook his head left to right afterward, told media on the track. “That’s always needed to get up to speed quickly, so I thought that’s why I run so slow.”
The six-time Olympic champion beat a weak field that was further lessened by Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton pulling out of the meet during his earlier long jump competition with cramps in one of his quads.
Bolt, the world-record holder at 9.58 seconds, faced a 100m field that included zero other men who have broken 10 seconds for the first time since 2009, according to Tilastopaja.org. They ran into a slight headwind — .4 meters/second.
Bolt has now run 10.05 and 9.98 seconds in his first two races this season, seeing a German doctor to treat a minor hamstring injury in between. Bolt also reportedly dealt with an ankle injury in winter training. He said before Friday’s race that he would be happy with a 9.8.
Bolt’s biggest rivals in recent years — Justin Gatlin and Yohan Blake — have run 9.94 and 9.95 in the last week.
Bolt is next scheduled to race the Olympic silver medalist Blake and former world-record holder Asafa Powell in a 100m in Kingston, Jamaica, on June 11, according to meet organizers.
The Jamaican Olympic Trials are June 30-July 3.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Bolt said. “I have a couple of months to do it, so I’ll be fine. … I need more races. The more I run, the faster I’ll get.”