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Bolt on top of the world

Bolt has become the world's greatest athlete after winning the world title.

Jamaica's Usain Bolt looks on before competing in the men's 100m heats at the athletics event of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 4, 2012 in London. Picture: AFP.

MOSCOW - Usain Bolt was made to look human by a combination of a Russian rainstorm and a fired-up Justin Gatlin on Sunday but the Jamaican superstar was still good enough to regain his world 100m title in a surging 9.77 seconds.

With former world and Olympic champion and twice-banned doper Gatlin leading at halfway, Bolt was forced to race a rival, rather than the clock, although his time was still the second-fastest of the year behind the 9.75 of Tyson Gay, absent from Moscow after testing positive.

The victory made amends for the one blot on the Jamaican's extraordinary copybook, his disqualification from the 2011 final after a false start, and underlined his priceless value to his sport in the wake of a surge of doping cases.

"It was not revenge for Daegu (2011), I just came here to win this title," said Bolt, who finished ahead of Gatlin (9.85) and compatriot Nesta Carter (9.95).

"My legs were sore after the semis and the world record wasn't on so I came out just to win."

However, it seems that even the presence of Bolt and local heroine Yelena Isinbayeva was not enough to persuade Muscovites to give up their Sunday evening as his performance, devoured by millions around the world on TV, was witnessed by maybe around 30,000 fans in the 81,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium, reduced to 50,000 for this event.

The swathes of empty seats will come as something of an embarrassment to the organisers, already fighting a rear-guard action in the wake of a series of damaging high-profile doping cases.

GREATEST ATHLETE

While Bolt is undoubtedly the biggest name in the sport, he is the first to cede the title of the world's greatest athlete to Eaton and the American is unquestionably worthy of the tag after he winning the world title in style to complete a spectacular hat-trick having won Olympic gold and broken the world record last year.

Eaton, still only 25, led from the first event on Saturday morning and poured on the pressure on Sunday as a 5.20-metre pole vault and a gutsy last-throw 64.83m javelin gave him a virtually unassailable lead.

Meanwhile, Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce leads Jamaica's charge for a 100 metres double at the world championships on Monday following hot on the heels of Usain Bolt's rain-swept victory on Sunday.

Arch rivals Jamaica and the US each have four sprinters through to the semi-finals, including American defending champion Carmelita Jeter.

Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare, who won a long jump silver on Sunday, is ranked second in the world behind Fraser-Pryce and has shown the form to end the 11-year domination of this event by US and Jamaica athletes or at the very least become the first African woman to win a world sprint medal.

The final also takes on Monday when six gold medals will be decided.