Image: Usain Bolt
Thanassis Stavrakis  /  AP
Usain Bolt, center, from Jamaica wins in the 200 meters at IAAF Athens Grand Prix Tsiklitiria at the Olympic stadium on Sunday, July 13. He finished with 19.67 seconds.
updated 7/13/2008 3:57:38 PM ET 2008-07-13T19:57:38

Usain Bolt, the 100-meter world record holder, ran the fastest time in the 200 this year, winning in 19.67 seconds Sunday at the Tsiklitiria Athens Grand Prix track meet.

The 21-year-old Jamaican is now the fifth fastest man of all time in the 200. His time was the sixth best ever, with world-record holder Michael Johnson having twice run faster.

"I am very satisfied with my performance,'' Bolt said. "I feel sure I will be very strong at the Olympic Games.''

Although he started slowly, Bolt had recovered as he came out of the curve, leading comfortably in the home straight and winning by a wide margin ahead of Brendan Christian of Antigua, who was second in 20.36.

Bolt ran 9.72 to set the 100 world record in New York in May. He didn't run the 100 in Athens.

Bolt has previously said he is unsure whether he will compete in both the 100 and 200 at the Beijing Olympics next month.

Asked if he would be going for the 200 world record of 19.32, which Johnson set in August 1996, Bolt said not yet.

"Not this year, maybe next,'' he said.

The Jamaican also had the previous best time of the year in the 200, running 19.83 in June in Ostrava, Czech Republic, while Sunday's time beat his personal best of 19.75, set at altitude last year.

Runner-up surges
In the 100, Derrick Atkins of the Bahamas won in 10.10, finishing ahead of Darvis Patton and Mark Jelks of the United States.

"This is my second win in a row here in Athens and I am very proud,'' Atkins said.

Atkins, runner-up at last year's World Championships, surged in the second half of the race to win easily. Fearing disqualification after a false start, the sprinters were slow getting out of the blocks and ran into a slight head wind.

"(I was) tired after strong races at the U.S. champs,'' Patton said. "My next race will be in London. In Beijing, I want to win a medal.''

In the 110 hurdles, world record holder Dayron Robles set a meet record by winning in 13.04 seconds.

"Getting the Olympic gold medal is the most important thing to me, because it's something you can only do every four years,'' the Cuban said. "I know Liu (Xiang) will be difficult to beat. The people love him in China and he's a good person.''

Robles ran a 12.87 last month, bettering Liu's previous mark of 12.89.

In the women's 100, Veronica Campbell of Jamaica won in 10.92 to equal the meet record set in 1999.

"I'm satisfied with my race,'' said Campbell, the 200 Olympic champion. "I train very hard and I hope to stay healthy in order to achieve my goal in Beijing. I adore Athens, I run my best races here.''

Campbell is to run the 200 and the 400 relay, but not the 100 at the Beijing Games next month.

In the men's 400 hurdles, Louis Van Zyl of South Africa won in 48.22 seconds, the third best time in the world this year, beating Reuben McCoy of the United States.

"I am very happy. I ran my best race over the past two years,'' Van Zyl said. "I found my rhythm and I feel great ahead of the Beijing Games.''

Barbora Spotakova of the Czech Republic threw the javelin 63.70 meters (209 feet) to edge world-record holder Osleidys Menendez of Cuba by 7 centimeters (2.8 inches).

"I didn't start well, but I found my rhythm in the end,'' Spotakova said. "I want to throw a personal best in Beijing.''

In the triple jump, reigning world champion Nelson Evora of Portugal won with a leap of 17.23 meters (56-6 1/2), beating the 16.97 (55-8 1/4) posted by Marian Oprea of Romania.

"I checked my rhythm and my technique, because it was my first competition of the outdoors season,'' Evora said. "The crowd helped me a lot.''

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