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Bolt sets world record in 200m for 2011

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OSLO, Norway (AP)

Usain Bolt set the quickest time in the world this season as he eased to victory in the 200 meters at a Diamond League meet on Thursday, while Caster Semenya also set her best time of the year but could only finish third behind Halima Hachlaf in the 800.

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The Jamaican world record holder raced through the rain at the Bislett Games to win convincingly in 19.86 seconds. Norwegian Jaysuma Saidy Ndure was second in 20.43, while Mario Forsythe of Jamaica was third in 20.49.

Bolt said he was very pleased with a time that went some way to answering his critics as he tunes up his technique ahead of this year’s worlds in South Korea, which run from Aug. 27.

“I was never really out of business,” Bolt said after the race. “Business was just a bit slow.”

The world and Olympic champion was unperturbed by the downpour that fell as the race got under way and never looked under any real pressure from the rest of the field.

“I always seem to compete best when it’s raining,” Bolt said. “I’m happy — I’m back to being Usain Bolt. Not perfect, but I think I’m getting there.”

In the women’s 800, Hachlaf of Morocco also set a world-leading time to hold off Russia’s Mariya Savinova and Semenya of South Africa.

Hachlaf crossed the finishing line in 1:58.27, with Savinova trailing in 1:58.44, ahead of Semenya with 1:58.61.

The 20-year-old Semenya is battling to rediscover her form after having to undergo a gender test following her victory in the 800 at the 2009 worlds. She finished second in last weekend’s Diamond League event at Eugene, Oregon.

The time was her best of the year so far as she strives to reach her peak in time for South Korea.

“I’m just three seconds away from my best,” she told The Associated Press after the race. She also revealed that she is preparing to race at Diamond League events in Lausanne and Stockholm later this summer.

“I’m happy with the time today,” Semenya said. “Now I just need to go back and work on it more—1:57 is what I’m planning for the next races.”

It was Norway’s Christina Vukicevic who first lifted the stadium’s spirits as she comfortably held on to an early lead to take the 100-meter hurdles in 12.79.

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On the men’s side, Kenyan Paul Kipsiele Koech strode away from his rivals in the 3,000 steeplechase to set the best time of the season in a track record 8:01.83.

His countryman Nicholas Kiptanui Kemboi took the 1,500 in 3:37.25, his best time of the season, a feat equaled by Arles Merritt of the United States, who won the 110 hurdles in 13.12.

World championship silver medalist Kyriakos Ioannou of Cyprus earned victory in the high jump with a leap of 2.28, while Olympic champion Gerd Kanter won the discus with a throw of 65.14.

In the javelin, Germany’s Matthias De Zordo claimed four diamond league points with a throw of 83.94. South African Godfrey Khotso Mokoena saved the best for last in the long jump with a winning fifth leap of 8.08.

Ivet Lalova of Bulgaria excelled in the women’s 100, sprinting first to the line in 11.01, while Zuzana Hejnova of the Czech Republic took the 400 hurdles in 54.38.

Amantle Montsho of Botswana claimed her second Diamond League win of the season in the 400, finishing in a season’s best 50.10 to add to her victory in Eugene.

In the 5,000, Ethiopian Meseret Defere ran her fastest race of the season to see off four of her compatriots for a winning time of 14:37.32.

Cuban triple jumper Yargelis Savigne meanwhile earned her second Diamond League victory of the season with a jump of 14.81, while New Zealander Valerie Adams won the shot put with a throw of 20.26, and Fabiana Murer of Brazil jumped 4.60 to win the pole vault.

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