In the last Diamond League race of his glittering career, Usain Bolt held on to win the 100 meters at the Herculis track meet on Friday.
The eight-time Olympic champion was under pressure from Isiah Young of the United States in the last 30 meters but used his famed finish to win in 9.95 seconds at Stade Louis II in Monaco. Young clocked 9.98. Akani Simbine of South Africa was third in 10.02.
Bolt is retiring after the world championships in London next month.
Last month, he won at the Golden Spike in Ostrava, Czech Republic, in 10.06 after a slow start. He got away better this time, but was made to work hard by Young.
“It’s always good to get a win. My time is going down at the right time,” the Jamaican said, looking ahead to the worlds. “Everything is coming together.”
He was given a rousing ovation and expects to sorely miss that close bond with the crowd when his running days are over.
“I’m always here for the fans, and of course I will miss the vibe around the track. Mixed emotions always, happy for my career, sad that it is ending,” he said. “I’m planning to chill after London with my family, but I’m not sure what will be my next plan after this season.”
Young was happy enough to have pushed Bolt hard and is confident he can challenge in London, where he will run in the 200.
“I was so close to Bolt at the end of his great career. Couple of days ago I was told I will run the 200 in London, so this sub 10 is great preparation for that,” he said. “I need to execute well and then I can attack a medal in that event.”
Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa won the 400 in 43.73, and countrywoman Caster Semenya pulled clear in the last 50 meters to win the 800 in a world-leading time this year of 1 minute, 55.27 seconds.
“It was a fantastic race, a very fast pace,” Semenya said. “It was one of the hardest races I’ve had.”
She set a personal best. Francine Niyonsaba of Burundi was second followed by Ajee Wilson of the U.S.
Van Niekerk was some way short of the world-record 43.03 he set when winning the Olympics last year.
Isaac Makwala was second and Botswana countryman Baboloki Thebe third.
Hellen Obiri of Kenya also set a world-leading 8:23.14 in the women’s 3,000. Countrywoman Beatrice Chepkoech was five seconds behind.
Olympic silver medalist Evan Jager also got a year’s best time, easily winning the men’s 3,000 steeplechase in 8:01.29, less than one second behind his personal best. Still, the American was six seconds clear of Kenyan runner Jairus Kipchoge Birech.
“We are keeping our options open for the best possible tactical plan for the worlds,” Jager said. “But one thing is clear: I’m going for gold.”
Piotr Lisek of Poland won the men’s pole vault with multiple world and Olympic medalist Renaud Lavillenie down in fifth, while Thomas Roehler of Germany won the javelin.
In the men’s 800, not part of the Diamond League schedule in this race, Emmanuel Korir of Kenya set a world-leading time of 1:43.10, shaving .63 seconds off his personal best. Nijel Amos of Botswana set the previous best time two weeks ago in London.
Competing as an authorized neutral athlete in the wake of Russia’s doping scandal, Mariya Lasitskene won the women’s high jump at 2.05.
In the women’s 4×100 relay, a non-Diamond League event, U.S. sprinter English Gardner fell when passing the baton and appeared to twist her ankle. Gardner, a member of the gold medal-winning relay team that beat Jamaica at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, was taken off on a stretcher and could be a doubt for the worlds.