Yohan Blake has won Jamaica’s men’s 100m Olympic trials in 9.95 seconds after world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt pulled out minutes before the final with a hamstring injury.
Bolt handed in a medical exemption after aggravating in Friday’s semi-finals a right hamstring injury that he had sustained Thursday night.
Blake had to stave off a false start, which was wrongfully charged to him by the team of starters, who took back the red card in favour of a yellow card that was charged to the field.
Running in lane four, Blake held his nerve on the second time of asking, beating Nickel Ashmeade (9.96secs).
Newcomer Jevaughn Minzie, training partner of Bolt and Blake, finished third in a personal best 10.02secs, while former world-record holder Asafa Powell was fourth in 10.03secs.
“God is alive. A lot of people didn’t think I’d be back but watch here, I am,” an elated Blake said.
“It has been a struggle (batting back from hamstring injuries). I wanted to go faster but because of the tragedy that was going on at the start I couldn’t because I had to conserve and be cautious,” the 2011 world champion said.
Bolt’s withdrawal does not affect his participation in the Rio Olympics, where he is expected to defend his 100m and 200m titles.
Unlike the United States, where the first three finishers in the trials win Olympic berths, Jamaica’s selection policy allows medical exemptions.
Bolt had clocked 10.04secs to win the first semi-final after a poor start and was due to square-off in the final against Blake.
Elaine Thompson stormed to the women’s 100m final win, clocking 10.70secs to equal two-time defending Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s national record while punching her ticket to Rio.