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Bolt set to dominate at Thessalonika

BRUSSELS — Usain Bolt’s European tour continues at the IAAF World Athletics Final in Thessalonika next weekend, following his all-conquering night in Brussels.

The 23-year-old Jamaican sprint king opted to contest only his favourite distance of the 200 metres at the last ever IAAF Golden League meeting in Brussels rather than clash with Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay in the 100m.

Powell stole the show for about an hour with a superb time of 9.90 seconds to beat Gay despite drizzling rain and chilly conditions in Belgium.

It was even colder, although a little drier, when Bolt’s race got under way, but the double world record holder was undeterred as he warmed the freezing capacity crowd with another whirlwind performance.

Despite slowing down towards the end of the race, Bolt ran a dazzling time of 19.57secs – the fourth fastest in history and a time that has only been bettered by his two world records and by Michael Johnson.

Bolt makes no secret of the fact he believes he can run even faster than the amazing 100m and 200m world records of 9.58secs and 19.19secs he set in Berlin last month.

And, given the scintillating weather expected in Thessalonika, the 200m record which he reckons will be easier to smash rather than the 100m, could be threatened.

Speaking about the overwhelming reception he received in Belgium, Bolt said: "What an audience here in Brussels! They really gave me the extra energy I needed for a fast 200m.

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"It had been a long and tough season, so I was a bit tired. But the audience truly was fantastic and pushed me forward.

"The new track helped me as well, it was a smooth run. I’m very happy with my fast 19.57. I thank the fans for the extra energy they have given me."

Bolt, criticised by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge for his laid-back attitude in Beijing last year, has now firmly established his light-hearted routine which has brought a huge rapport with audiences around the world.

"I’m always very focused during the race, but before and after I’d rather have it more relaxed," he said.

"It is part of my nature to add a show element and the audience loves it."

He added: "In the future I would like to keep improving, run faster and break records. But first I’m aching for a holiday in my homeland of Jamaica."

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