Light footed Bolt skims over the water

By Jeremy Cross

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt skimmed over a rain-soaked temporary track to set a world 150 metres best in a street race on Sunday.

Organisers spent hours brushing puddles of water off the purpose-built track after torrential rain had soaked the northern city before the race.

Bolt, the world 100 and 200 metres record holder, responded by clocking 14.35 seconds, bettering the mark of 14.8 set by Italian Pietro Mennea in 1983.

Sunday's win capped a memorable weekend for Bolt. The 22-year-old Jamaican watched his beloved Manchester United clinch the Premier League title at Old Trafford on Saturday and he was due to present an award later at the club's players' dinner.

He met Alex Ferguson's squad and watched them train prior to their 0-0 draw with Arsenal and even taught Cristiano Ronaldo a new goal celebration in the process.

"I shook all the players' hands and watched them play. It was real fun. I started supporting them because of Ruud van Nistelrooy. I watched him a lot. He left but I carried on supporting them because they are champions," Bolt told reporters.

"I'm not in the best of shape but I'm getting there. I didn't come here to joke around, I came here to win."

Last month, Bolt escaped unhurt despite losing control of his car and rolling it on to its roof. But he then stepped out of the vehicle barefoot and stood on some thorns, damaging his feet which required minor surgery.

Bolt will now prepare for the Berlin world championships in August.

"My main aim now is to get into shape for Berlin," he said.

"People will expect me to do wonderful things again but I just want to win. If I get records as well then that is great, but winning is the most important thing."

Olympic 200 metres bronze medallist Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas beat Britain's Olympic and world 400 metres champion Christine Ohuruogu in the women's 150 metres.

Ethiopia's world marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie won the Great Manchester Run 10 kms race for the second time.

(Editing by John Mehaffey)

Article Published: 17/05/2009