Usain Bolt gets season underway with 400m
This Saturday sees the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt start his 2010 campaign in his home country of Jamaica.
Bolt, the 100m and 200m Olympic champion, world champion and world record holder, will compete in the 400m in Kingston as his quest for domination continues.
In his now traditional longer distance season-opener he will attempt to beat his time of 45.54s set at last year’s meeting.
Indeed Michael Johnson, the current 400m world record holder with 43.18s, recently suggested Bolt could lower his record to 42 seconds.
However, it seems apparent that Bolt will use the race as a one-off as he eases himself from training into racing rather than marking a new distance to conquer.
With Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms claiming the sprinter is likely to skip the Commonwealth Games in October due to timing conflicts with pre-season training for next year, the target appears to be the new IAAF Diamond League.
Bolt has already confirmed his attendance at the New York leg on June 12 where he will be revisiting the scene of his first 100m world record of 9.72s set in 2008, and he has stated his intention to remain unbeaten in the 14-meeting competition.
The new league, set up to replace the IAAF Golden League, runs from May 14 to August 27 and counts Bolt, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay among its official ambassadors.
Indeed the sport’s elite are now contracted to the global governing body to ensure that - barring injuries - one of the world’s top three 100m sprinters will compete at every meeting, with many meetings having two and a few having all three stars racing against each other.
It is hoped that such a move will further increase the profile of the sport, cashing in on the profiles of its 100m superstars and ensuring regular clashes between them.
Such races have historically been few and far between with the world’s best avoiding each other, often for whole seasons, before meeting just once in major championship finals.
But with the likes of Bolt ensuring the sport’s popularity and credibility is on a high, following on from numerous drugs scandals in recent years, the new competition is eager to build on such success.
In a year without an Olympics or World Championships there is no shortage of competition for supremacy in athletics’ blue riband event and fans can hope to see records lowered yet again.