Asafa Powell sprints to victory, Kluft struggles
Oslo: Former world record holder Asafa Powell took advantage of the absence of rivals Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay to comfortably win the men`s 100 metres at the Diamond League Bislett Games.
Jamaican Powell, who has been overshadowed in recent seasons by world record holder Bolt and American Gay, clocked 9.72 seconds with a tailwind of 2.1 metres per second, just outside the legal limit.
"It wasn`t a perfect race. I got a great start which I wanted but I was a bit wary of pushing too hard because my legs felt a little bit tight in the first round," Powell told reporters.
Three-times world heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft had a tougher time of it as she continued to adapt to the long jump, finishing a disappointing eighth.
"I haven`t jumped in so many competitions yet," Kluft said. "I made a good first jump and then I lost my way a little. I need to get more jumps under my belt."
The Swede, who in 2008 decided to concentrate on the long jump, only registered two jumps, the best of which was 6.38 metres, well short of Olga Kucherenko`s winning effort of 6.91.
Australia`s world and Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker also had an off-night, failing all three attempts at his opening height of 5.40 metres.
Renaud Lavillenie made the best of an unpredictable wind to win the event, clearing 5.80 metres.
"It was a very difficult wind today, turning around, hard to have good technique," said Frenchman Lavillenie. "But I`m very satisfied with 5.80 today in these conditions."
World champion Kerron Clement overtook fellow American Bershawn Jackson on the run-in for victory in the 400 hurdles.
Jackson led coming off the final hurdle but was pipped by Clement who won in a time of 48.12.
Local favourite Andreas Thorkildsen delighted the crowd by winning the javelin with a throw of 86 metres but the much-anticipated battle between the Olympic champion and Beijing Games bronze medallist Tero Pitkamaki of Finland never materialised.
Pitkamaki could only manage a best of 84.43 with his third effort.
"The crowd was amazing," Thorkildsen told a news conference. "There is always a lot of pressure before the home crowd, but I try to use it in a positive way."
Former British middle-distance greats Sebastian Coe and Steve Cram took part in the opening ceremony in a stadium where they broke five world records between them from 1979 and 1985.
Cram smashed Coe`s world record when he won the Bislett `Dream Mile` in 1985 in a time of 3:46.32. Kenyan Asbel Kiprop was accompanied by the sound of African drums as he took Friday`s victory over the distance in 3:49.56, the fastest time of the year.