KINGSTON — Jamaican sprint ace Usain Bolt has signed up to race over the 100 meters at the Golden Gala in Rome again, organizers confirmed on Thursday.
This season, the meeting, which is part of the Samsung Diamond League series, is set for Thursday 31 May at Rome’s Olympic Stadium.
Bolt, who clocked 9.91 seconds to beat countryman Asafa Powell (9.93) last year has decided to penciled in the event on his schedule, as part of preparations in defending his sprint double titles at the London Olympics.
“I am looking forward to returning to Rome and to be back on the fast track of the Stadio Olimpico for the Golden Gala,” Bolt said.
“I have great memories of last year’s edition. It was my first time running in Italy, and I enjoyed the fantastic crowd at the Stadium.”
Bolt set world records and Olympic Games records of 9.69 seconds and 19.30 seconds when winning the sprint double titles in Beijing, China in 2008.
He did went on to improve those world records at the Berlin World Championships in 2009.
Pole vault great Yelena Isinbayeva is taking an indefinite break but insists she will try for a third straight Olympic gold medal at London in 2012.
The Russian world-record holder has been considering resting since leaving the world indoor championships last month in Qatar without a medal.
“A break from competing is absolutely necessary for me,” Isinbayeva said in a statement on Saturday. “After more than eight years of very hard training and competing at the highest levels both indoors and outdoors each year I need to step back in order for my body to properly recover. It is my full intention to continue training and keep myself fit.”
Isinbayeva, who has broken the indoor and outdoor marks 27 times, hasn’t ruled out returning for the European championships in Barcelona in July.
“At this moment I cannot exactly say when I will return to competitions,” she said. “I have not completely ruled out the entire summer circuit or the European championships in Barcelona.
“Nothing has changed with my long-term goals, which includes the 2011 and 2013 world championships and the Olympic gold in London 2012.”
ROME – Tyson Gay made a bold statement in the men’s 100metres dash at the Golden Gala in Rome with a stunning 9.77seconds to win the race over a world-class field on Friday.
"I feel that I improved on the previous races," Gay said. "Today the race was better executed and my shape is improving.
"(Bolt’s) in excellent shape. I was working really hard for this, but I’m still training and I feel good."
Gay rocketed from the blocks and held the late kick Asafa Powell produced to win the race over the Jamaican who ran 9.88seconds for second.
Another Jamaican Yohan Blake produced a big personal best of 9.96 to take third with Aniguan Daniel Bailey finishing fourth in 9.97.
Kerron Stewart joined the big guns in history when she sizzled to a world-leading 10.75secs and became the fifth fastest female performer of all-time.
The win was a huge personal best for the Jamaican and it kept her in contention for a share of the golden bars.
Olympic champion Shelly Ann Fraser, the previous world-leader at 10.88, finished second in 10.91 with Bahamian Chandra Sturrup finishing third in 10.99.
Kenenisa Bekele did his job to stay in contention for a share of the US$1 million dollar jackpot prize when he clocked a time of 12:56.23 to win the men’s 5000m comfortably.
The race saw six men running faster than 13-minutes.
Sanya Richards put the field to the sword again to win the women’s 400m and stayed in the hunt for the golden league prize.
The American stopped the clock at 49.49 to win by almost a full second over Jamaican Olympic silver medallist Sherika Williams, at 50.31.
"Today was a really good run, the field is getting tougher and tougher, but we missed Christine Ohuruogu (Olympic and world champion) today," Richards said.
"I was hoping to go faster than 49.2, but I will take 49.4. I have one more race in Paris, then I want to go back (to the United States) and get some hard training in (for the worlds)."
Senegal’s Ami Mbake-Thiam finished third with 50.71 ahead of another Jamaican Novlene Williams-Mills (50.90) and Allyson Felix (50.94).
Russia’s Yelena Isinbayeva joined Bekele Stewart and Richards as the remaining golden bar candidates when she won the women’s pole vault with a clearance of 4.85m.
Tero Pitkämäki of Finland, however, saw his golden league shot coming to an end after losing to Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen in the men’s Javelin Throw.
After winning in Berlin and Oslo, Pitkämäki came second here behind Thorkildsen with a mark of 83.68m.
Thorkildsen won with a final round throw of 87.46m.
Olympic champion Dawn Harper came back from a slow start to win the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.55seconds, even with a less than controlled finial two flights of hurdling.
Jamaican Commonwealth Games champion Brigette Foster-Hylton was second in 12.68 and teammate Delloreen Ennis-London was third in 12.67.
Another Olympic gold medallist Cuban Dayton Robles continued his impressive run towards the worlds in Berlin next month with an easy win in the 110-meter hurdles in 13.17.
American former Olympic championr Dwight Phillips set a meeting record of 8.61m to win the men’s Long Jump, while fellow countryman Kerron Clement, the reigning 400m hurdles champion sneaked one pass Jamaica’s Isa Phillips in his specialty.
Clement, who was defeated heavily by Phillips in the last meeting, clocked 48.09secs to beat the Jamaican who ran 48.11.
In the women’s race Poland’s Anna Jesien ran a seasonal best of 54.31 to beat USA’s Sheena Tosta (54.57) and Jamaica’s Olympic champion Melaine Walker (54.58).
Also on the track, Gulnara Galkina of Russia clocked a world-leading 9:11.58 in winning the women’s 3000m Steeplechase.
Bahamian Chris Brown won a very competitive men’s 400m in 44.81secs. Ireland’s David Gallick finished like a train to take second place in 44.82.
The women’s 1500m saw Bahrain’s Maryam Jamal producing an impressive world-leading 3:56.55 to win the race and showed she is rounding into good form before the world championships in Berlin next month.
Elsewhere, Italian Antonietta Di Martino surprised Croatia’s Blanka Vlašic to win the women’s High Jump with a clearance of 2.00m.
Vlašic, who was suffering her second defeat in the golden league, cleared 1.97m.
Rome, Italy – Double World 200m champion Allyson Felix, who faces $1m Jackpot hopeful Sanya Richards in the Golden Gala, the third meet of the ÅF Golden League 2009 in Rome over 400m on Friday (10 July), believes a similar strategy to that which she adopted in 2007 can reap rewards at the 12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Berlin, Germany (15 to 23 Aug).
The versatile Felix has taken a relatively low-key approach to the season so far and her eagerly-awaited one lap showdown with Richards in the Olympic Stadium is her first appearance in Europe this summer…..READ MORE