Lazy' Usain Bolt still better than the rest ahead of meeting in Paris
By Anna Kessel
Thursday 7 July 2011
Usain Bolt's time of 19.86sec in the 200m in Oslo last month continues to lead the world rankings for this year. Photograph: Remy De La Mauviniere/AP
With Usain Bolt freely admitting that he has been lazy in training since winning the world title in 2009, it will be interesting to see how slow – or fast – "lazy" is when he runs his second 200 metres race of the season in Paris on Friday night.
The world record holder's 200m season opener in Oslo last month continues to lead the world rankings at 19.86sec, an impressive time considering the heavy rain that pelted the Bislett Stadium track. Only Nickel Ashmeade, a 21-year-old Jamaican who ran 19.95 in May, has come close to the world and Olympic champion.
In Paris Bolt will face the home favourite Christophe Lemaitre. Both athletes won world junior titles at this distance and both prefer the 200m to the 100m. But the 21-year-old Frenchman's personal best of 20.16 is almost a second slower than Bolt's world record of 19.19 and Lemaitre will hope that racing against Bolt will help him get under the 20sec barrier.
Also in Paris is the women's 800m world champion, Caster Semenya. The South African began her title defence season brightly, running good 1:58 times in Oregon and Oslo but she has failed to progress to a 1:57 time and as such her season's best of 1:58.61 ranks her in just seventh place in the world this year.
A rare outing in the 1500m in Lausanne ended disastrously with Semenya finishing last in 13th place and her most recent 800m race in Reims was similarly disappointing as she finished fifth in 2:01.02.
Taking on the 20-year-old in the Stade de France will be the second fastest 800m runner in the world this year, Halima Hachlaf of Morocco, the new US champion Alysia Montaño and Britain's Jenny Meadows. The French record holder, Hind Dehiba, who won a court order to enable her to compete in Lausanne last month after Euromeetings informed her that her two-year drug ban made her ineligible for an invitation to its meet, will also run.
Oscar Pistorius will again attempt to run the 400m qualifying time for the world championships, which start in South Korea late next month, as he takes on the former world and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner over one lap. The South African paralympic world champion needs an A qualification standard of 45.25 – 0.36 faster than his personal best – by 19 July.