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Bolt wins sprint in his best time this year


Bolt wins sprint in his best time this year

PARIS  – july 18  – Olympic champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica won the 100 metres at a Paris Golden League meeting on Friday in 9.79 seconds, recording his best time of the season despite a poor start in damp, chilly conditions.

His time was only marginally slower than the 9.77 seconds ran by U.S. rival Tyson Gay in Rome last week — the fastest mark of the year so far.

Bolt, who holds the 100 record with 9.69 seconds set at the Beijing Olympic Games last year, was slow out of the blocks on Friday but pulled clear of the field after the first 50 metres.

“It was not the perfect race, but it was good enough for me. I had a bad start in bad weather so it’s a good result,” he said afterwards, adding that he had played it safe.

“I was careful because I didn’t want to be injured … You don’t want to be injured at this time in the season just before the World championships so you just have to be cautious.”

He chalked up his previous best of the year of 9.86 seconds in June and Bolt said he would only take part in one more meeting, in London next week, before the Berlin World championships in August.

“The World championships are very important to show the world that last year was not a joke,” said Bolt, who also set world records in winning the 200 metres and 4×100 metres relay at the 2008 Olympic Games.

Bolt is the favourite to steal Gay’s 100 and 200 metre crowns in Berlin and he did not face any of his main rivals in Paris. Daniel Bailey of Antigua came second on Friday in 9.91 seconds and Jamaican Yohan Blake third in 9.93.

Bolt said he was looking forward to a showdown with Gay.

“It’s going to be wonderful and it’s going to be an exciting time,” he said.

The unseasonal cold cast a pall over all the events at the Paris meeting with few athletes able to shine in the gloom.

However, it was a good evening for the quartet of athletes still in the running for a cut of the $1 million jackpot that will be shared out between those who win at all six Golden League meetings this year.

Olympic 5,000 metre and 10,000 metre champion Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia completed his 4th consecutive victory in the galas, winning the 3,000 metres in 7 minutes, 28.64 seconds.

U.S. World 1,500 metre and 5,000 metre champion Bernard Lagat came second in 7:33.15.

“Conditions were difficult. It was very windy. It was difficult also for all the others, but when you are in front it’s even more difficult,” said Bekele.

“It’s my last race before the World Championships. I’m going back to Ethiopia to train,” he added.

The other three contenders for the $1 million jackpot — Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart (100m), American Sanya Richards (400m) and Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva (Pole Vault) — all maintained their 100 percent records with relative ease.

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Israel, Palestinians hold ‘positive’ talks

AMMAN: Israeli and Palestinian negotiators held a “positive” first face-to-face meeting in more than 15 months on Tuesday, saying they remain committed to a two-state solution but that full-blown talks are still some way off.

“The talks and atmosphere were positive,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh told reporters after the talks in Amman between Israel’s chief negotiator Yitzhak Molcho, his Palestinian counterpart Saeb Erakat and Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayyeh.

Washington too welcomed what it described as a “positive development” after months of deadlock in peace talks over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal in 2010 to renew a freeze on most settlement construction in the occupied West Bank.

Judeh, who hosted the meeting in the Jordanian capital, voiced cautious optimism. “The two sides expressed their commitment to a two-state solution. We do not want to raise the level of expectations, but at the same time we do not want to minimise the importance of this meeting,” he said.

“The Palestinians submitted a paper on borders and security. The Israeli side received it, promising to study it and respond,” he said.

The minister said Jordan, which has a 1994 peace treaty with Israel, will host further talks between the two sides.

“Any announcement about the meetings will be made by Jordan. You might hear about the meetings and you might not,” he said, expecting “progress and things to be positive by the end of this month.”
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said on Tuesday the outcome of the meeting would soon be clear.

“We will know today or in the coming two days,” he said, indicating that they were looking to find “the right foundation” to resume talks with Israel.
“This is a good thing and we hope Jordanian efforts work,” he was quoted as saying by Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency.
Earlier this week, Israeli cabinet minister Dan Meridor said the fact that a meeting was taking place was “a positive development” but that it did not in itself constitute a return to direct talks.Erakat made the same point in an interview with Voice of Palestine radio.
“This meeting will be devoted to discussing the possibility of making a breakthrough that could lead to the resumption of negotiations. Therefore, it will not mark the resumption of negotiations,” he said on Monday.

Direct talks ground to a halt in September 2010, when an Israeli freeze on new West Bank settlement construction expired and Netanyahu declined to renew it.

“We will see what the quartet’s position will be in this meeting and if it is willing to seriously address the obstacles to the peace process and negotiations put by Israel,” PLO secretary general Yasser Abed Rabbo told Voice of Palestine.

Abbas met with US envoy David Hale in Ramallah late on Monday and told him there would be no resumption of talks unless Israel froze settlement construction and accepted the 1967 borders as the basis for peace talks, a Palestinian official told AFP.

The Quartet, which comprises the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States, has been trying to draw the two sides back to the negotiating table, asking them for comprehensive proposals on territory and security.

White House spokesman Jay Carney acknowledged the difficulties President Barack Obama faced in getting a resumption of talks.

“He is doing everything he can to bring them together at the table,” Carney said.

“And this is obviously a challenging issue — it has been so for a long time. But the president’s very focused on doing what he can to make it happen.”

Abed Rabbo said Washington wanted the talks to restart “without any preconditions or promises on settlement expansion.
“This does not fulfil the conditions for a resumption of negotiations nor does it enable any negotiations to succeed,” he said.
The meeting sparked an angry reaction from the Hamas movement which has controlled the Gaza Strip since ousting Abbas’s forces in 2007.
“Going to such a meeting is only betting on failure,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP on Monday.
The leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine also criticised the meeting, calling it a “fatal error” which would force the Palestinians back into another pointless waiting game. (AFP)

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