Usain Bolt out to erase bad memories at Diamond League meet in Stockholm
Perth Now Website
July 28, 2011
MAKING AMENDS: Usain Bolt wins the 100m sprint at the Herculis International Athletics meet last week. Source: AP
THE world's fastest man, Usain, Bolt will be back in action at the Diamond League meeting in Stockholm tomorrow, hoping to erase bad memories of last year.
Twelve months ago, the Jamaican, who is the reigning world and Olympic champion as well as world record holder at 100m and 200m, suffered a shock defeat in the 100m at the hands of the American Tyson Gay.
However, he has been lured back to the Swedish capital for the 11th stop on the Diamond League circuit - his appearance fee is $US310,000 ($A282,000) according to local media - and will feature this time in the 200m, which he considers his better distance.
"I will be back - and I will not lose,'' said Bolt, who is gearing up not just for next month's world championships in Daegu, South Korea but for next year's London Olympics.
His biggest competition on Friday is likely to come from Panama's Alonso Edward, who collected silver behind Bolt at the 2009 world championships, and Norway's Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, both of whom have run under 20secs.
While some may shudder at the amount of appearance money being paid out to Bolt, the Swedish organisers rate it as good value.
"He was worth it last year, and I think he'll be worth it this year too,'' said competition director Rajne Soderberg.
"That's what I hope, at least.''
The second fastest sprinter in women's history Carmelita Jeter admits that she has her eyes firmly set on winning herself a one-carat diamond, valued at $US10,000 ($A9,100) which the organisers award to anyone who breaks a stadium record.
"I would love to get a diamond,'' said the American who will run the 100m. "Diamonds are a girl's best friend.''
The stadium 100m record currently belongs to Irina Privalova who ran 10.90 in 1994, a time that is well within Jeter's best of 10.64.
She will be up against Jamaican Kerron Stewart, the world's seventh fastest woman with 10.75 and a season best of 10.87, as well as the evergreen 35-year-old Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie of the Bahamas.
Yelena Isinbayeva will continue her comeback in the pole vault after a lengthy self-imposed 11-month layoff.
The Russian, who won in Belgium last week with a height of 4.60m, still a long way short of her world record of 5.06m, will be hoping that a wrist injury suffered last week will not affect her progress towards the world championships.
Another woman on the comeback trail is the women's 800m world champion Caster Semenya. The 20 year-old South African won in Paris, finished second in Eugene and third in Oslo, her 1:58.61 season's best coming in the Norwegian capital.
A field that boasts 10 runners who have clocked under 1:59.00 this season, including season leader Morocco's Halima Hachlaf, should give her a decent test.
Meanwhile, world leading long jumper Mitchell Watt will head-up a team of eight Australian athletes at the Diamond League meet in Stockholm.
It will be Watt's first competition since he injured his heel last month.
The long jumper has avoided jump sessions during his recovery to ensure he is fit to compete at the IAAF world championships in Daegu.
"The doctor said about 10 days ago that it was fine to jump on, and I haven't had any pain for about two weeks,'' Watt said.
"But with the world championships as my main goal my coach Gary Bourne and I have decided to take it slow, avoid jump sessions and give it as much time as possible.''
Watt is currently No.1 in the world after twice leaping 8.44m this year.
To claim gold in Stockholm, Watt will have to fend off Olympic champion Irving Saladino, from Panama, and fellow Australian Robbie Crowther.
Australia will also be represented in the Diamond League by Commonwealth discus champion Benn Harradine, runners Ryan Gregson, Jeff Riseley and Asbel Kiprop (all competing in the 1500m) Lachlan Renshaw and Tamsyn Manou (800m) and Tristan Thomas (400m).