Published July 14, 2012
LONDON – Christophe Lemaitre shrugged off damp and dismal conditions to win the 200 meters at the London Grand Prix on Saturday, while Blessing Okagbare upstaged the Olympic and world champions in the women's 100.
Lemaitre of France won at the Crystal Palace Diamond League meet in a personal best for the season of 19.91 seconds, ahead of Dutchman Churandy Martina and Marvin Anderson of Jamaica.
Only Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake have gone faster than Lemaitre this season, ahead of the July 27-Aug. 12 Olympics.
"I knew I could run under 20 seconds but to do that here is very good, two weeks before the Olympic Games," Lemaitre said. "Now I'm very confident over this distance. For the Olympic Games, I want to go even faster, because with Bolt, Blake and the other sprinters I think that I must beat my personal best if I want to win a medal."
In the 100, Okagbare of Nigeria won in 11.01 seconds, leaving world champion Carmelita Jeter trailing in second, and Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in last place.
"Whatever you say about the conditions, you have to go out there and do your best," Okagbare said. "That was what I did today and I'm really grateful for that. The time was good. It was a strong field."
Fraser-Pryce said her focus was on the bigger race coming up in the British capital.
"As an athlete you have to take precautionary measures and hope things get better because the Olympics are pretty much on us," the Jamaican said. "I'm working on some things at the moment."
The downpour worsened through the afternoon in south London and — with rain lashing the track — Christine Ohuruogu won the 400 in 50.42 seconds ahead of Amantle Montsho and Rosemarie Whyte.
"I am fit and ready for the Games and looking forward to it," Ohuruogu said.
There were double disappointments for the British public as Olympic fervor mounts.
Olympic silver medalist Phillips Idowu pulled out of the triple jump due to a hip problem, with Christian Taylor of the United States winning with a leap of 17.41 meters.
And Tiffany Porter, who has been nursing a back injury, was in tears after finishing last in the semifinals of the 100 hurdles. Kellie Wells of the United States won the final in 12.57 seconds.