ROME (Sporting Alert) — Usain Bolt will be on a mission when he takes the track for the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome on Thursday night.
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The Jamaican six-time Olympic Games gold medallist, will take on a very strong field in the men’s 100 metres, an event which will also feature Americans Justin Gatlin and Michael Rodgers.
Bolt opened his 100m campaign with a modest 10.09 seconds at the Cayman Islands Invitational last month, but after returning to training and working on “a few things” the World Record holder says he’s now looking forward racing at the Golden Gala in Rome’s Olympic Stadium.
“I did not have a good race (in Cayman), but I worked with my coach on the aspects which went wrong,” Bolt said at his press conference.
“I am not worried about it because it will be a long season.
“I feel great. Everything is perfect,” Bolt said. “I am looking forward to running in Rome. In the last weeks I worked on speed and endurance.”
Gatlin has been impressive so far this season, running a seasonal best of 9.91 already and did run a wind-assisted 9.88 in Eugene over the weekend.
Still, Bolt is confident of continuing to dominate, adding that he saves his best races for the championship events.
“Gatlin is in good shape but I am not worried about that,” Bolt said.
“For me it’s all about championships. I am just focusing on myself.”
Gatlin is bracing himself for a big performance from the man who owns the world record at 9.58 secs.
“You never know what to expect from a guy with the caliber of Usain Bolt,” the American said.
“He can run a 10.0 two weeks before then come out running a 9.7.
“So you just have to prepare for that 9.5 anytime you run against him.”
Meanwhile, fresh off his win over Kirani James in the last outing, American LaShawn Merritt will look to continue his good form on the circuit in the men’s 400m, while Javier Culson, Johnny Dutch and Omar Cisneros lock horns in the men’s 400m hurdles with Ethiopian Mohammed Aman racing in the men’s 800.
Amongst those competing on the women’s side are Americans Lolo Jones and Dawn Harper, who go in the women’s 100m hurdles, an on form Amantle Montsho remains on the circuit and will start favourite in the 400m, with Allyson Felix and Murielle Ahoure starting as the main contenders in the 200m.
Brittney Reese will be hoping to find some form in the Long Jump and world leader Anna Chicherova and Blanka Vlasic battling in the women’s High Jump.