Rome, June 1 : Reigning Olympic double sprint champion Usain Bolt silenced his detractors, storming to a world-leading 9.76 seconds to win the 100 metres at the Rome Diamond League here.
Questions were raised about cracks in Bolt's armour after his sluggish 10.04 seconds in Ostrava last week but the Jamaican answered emphatically Thursday, bursting from the blocks to take the lead at 50 metres and dismissing his opposition.
Fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell was second in 9.91 seconds while Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre was third in a season-best 10.04 seconds.
"People expect me to do well all the time and I expect that from myself also, it's not really pressure for me. I came out here tonight not to prove anything but to tell myself I've still got it," Bolt said.
"After Ostrava I decided I will make sure to go to bed early and start eating right. I feel extremely well so it's coming back and I'm feeling good."
Veteran Kim Collins was away to a great start but Bolt, running out of lane four, drew level after 40 metres and burst to the front with nearly half the race to run.
He then accelerated to reach the line and surpass the previous world-leading mark of 9.82 seconds he previously posted in Kingston earlier this month.
"The race was much better than in Ostrava. After Ostrava a lot of people questioned me but I never questioned myself," Bolt said.
"My drive was better and I started well. The transition was also better."
Collins was fourth in a season-best 10.05 while Jamaican Lerone Clarke finished fifth in 10.16.
In the women's 400 metres hurdles, Jamaican Kaliese Spencer continued her wonderful start to the year by clinching the contest in a season-best 54.39 seconds.
The American duo of Lashinda Demus (54.80) and T'Erea Brown (54.96) were second and third, respectively.
Meanwhile, reigning Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica suffered a defeat in the 100m when she finished second to Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast.
Ahoure was clocked at 11 seconds flat while Fraser-Pryce crossed the line in 11.06.(IANS)