Powell and Bolt will put the fun and games to one side at the world championships in South Korea [GALLO/GETTY]

Asafa Powell ran the fastest 100 metres of the year as he won the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne on Thursday.

Powell sent out a warning to Usain Bolt and his other world title rivals by blasting a time of 9.78 seconds - the fourth-fastest 100m ever run.

Only Usain Bolt and American Tyson Gay have ever run faster, while Jamaican Nesta Carter has also run 9.78.

Powell has a good history at the track having set a time of 9.72 seconds in 2008.

Gay held the previous season's best, of 9.79 seconds, but that was before a hip injury saw him withdraw from the US national championships.

Victory for Powell, the former world record holder, was never in doubt in chilly conditions made worse by a cross-field wind.

Powell power

The 29-year-old, looking in superb physical shape, was smoothly out of the blocks and powered ahead of the field, keeping his lead comfortably through to the line.

"The weather wasn't perfect. It was a good race, a bit cold," said Powell.

"I had a good time today: anything below 9.8sec is really good. And it's only the second race of the season, so the future can only get better as the season progresses."

"My goal is to keep training hard and run faster."

"Anything below 9.8sec is really good. And it's only the second race of the season, so the future can only get better as the season progresses"

Fighting talk from Asafa Powell

Compatriot Michael Frater, who missed out on selection for an individual 100m spot for Jamaica at the August 27- September 4 world championships in Daegu, South Korea, was second with a personal best of 9.88 seconds.

French sprinting hope Christophe Lemaitre, the European champion, clawed his way back to third in a national record-equalling 9.95 seconds, while Carter and Norway's Gambia-born Jaysuma Saidy Ndure both timed 9.99 seconds.

For Powell, his time ensures his place among sprinting's all-time fastest men.

Bolt holds the world record of 9.58 seconds, set at the 2009 world championships, and the next two fastest times of 9.69 and 9.72 in the world record progression.

Source: Agencies