PARIS, France (Sporting Alert, Follow Live results) — World record holder Usain Bolt will be looking to deliver something special for his rivals to take note when he races over 200m at the 2013 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday.
The Olympic sprinter double champion has been running in patches so far this season, but shares the joint second fastest time of 19.79 seconds with his training partner and Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir, who is ready to test his fellow Jamaican countryman in Paris.
Bolt says he is feeling good and only some tough races to shake off the rust of his opening races this season.
“My first race was not so great. I was lacking energy. But I experienced a similar start to the season last year, before going on to be successful at the London Games,” the Jamaican sprinter said.
“As such, I see it as a sign. Since then I’ve been pretty happy with my performances in the Jamaican trials. The trials have given me confidence for the next element of the season. And I know that I’m feeling better and better with every performance. Competition fires up my motivation again and enables me to get into a rhythm.”
The studded 200m field not only includes Bolt and Weir, but also their fellow countrymen Nickel Ashmeade and Jason Young as well as French star Christophe Lemaitre, who have all raced under 20-seconds in their career.
Another Olympic champion and Jamaican star, Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce will go in the women’s 100m dash, looking to bounce back from her defeat over 200m in Birmingham, last weekend.
Fraser-Pryce will again come face-to-face with the woman that beat her over the half-lap, Nigerian Blessing Okagbare, who has been very impressive thus far in the campaign.
The duo will be up against the newly crowned American champion English Gardner, world-leader Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Trinidad and Tobago, who has posted 10.83 secs already this term, as well as Murielle Ahoure of the Ivory Coast, Ivet Lalova of Bulgaria and Mariya Ryemyen of Ukraine.
Another highly anticipated clash in Paris will come in the men’s 400m, where Olympic champion Kirani James and American LaShawn Merritt will clash over the one lap event with a lot to prove.
The Grenadian James was beaten by the American Merritt in their last meeting at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene last month and he will be looking to avenge that defeat on Saturday night.
“Kirani James will be at the start on Saturday night, but it doesn’t affect the way I run, neither my motivation,” Merritt said. “I’m not focused on him or on anybody else.
“I do my race, I try to execute as well as I planned. I hope it’s a good race to set up my preparation before Moscow.”
USA’s Tony McQuay and Chris Brown from the Bahamas will make life a little difficult for the favourites.
Elsewhere at the meet, French Olympic champion Renaud Lavillenie will look to put his disappointments from
Lausanne behind where he failed to clear the opening height in the men’s pole vault, while Burundi’s Francine Niysonsaba, world-leader over 800m on the women’s side will take on American champion Alysia Montano.
The men’s 110m hurdles will feature World record holder and 2012 Olympic champion Aries Merritt, reigning world champion World champion Jason Richardson and current world-leader David Oliver, all from the United States.
The 2009 World champion Ryan Brathwaite and US champion Ryan Wilson are also in the field, with
The men’s 3000m Steeplechase promises to be a thrilling battle between Kenya’s 2012 Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi and countryman Paul Koech going head-to-head in the men’s steeplechase.