Bolt, Powell ready for Ostrava test
Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt is eager to sample the new track at the Mestsky Stadium, while Asafa Powell looks to continue his good early-season form at today's IAAF World Challenge Golden Spikes meet in Ostrava.
Bolt touched down in the Czech city on the weekend and told reporters that he is looking forward to making his seventh appearance at the meet, which he first competed at as a 19- year-old in 2006.
The six-time Olympic gold medallist has never experienced defeat in Ostrava, and it seems highly unlikely that this will change at today's meet, with the 100m and 200m world record holder expected to dominate a 200m field that, with the exception of the USA's Isaiah Young, is void of any real threat.
Bolt posted a modest 20.20 seconds clocking in his first and only 200m to date back in early April at the UTech Classic but is, according to reports, in much better shape heading into what will be his third individual outing after a 46.38 effort in the 400m in March.
"This is one of the meets I've been to most often, and I really enjoy competing here. I'm excited, and I'm definitely looking forward to the competition; this is one of the meets I look forward to every year," Bolt said. "I've grown as an athlete over the years. I have grown with this crowd, they have seen me through the good times and bad times. I love coming here, and until I retire, I will always come here once I'm fit."
Bolt will share the spotlight with a reinvigorated Asafa Powell, who sprinted to an impressive 9.84 clocking at the Jamaica International Invitational a few weeks ago.
Powell will no doubt have his eyes on bettering the 9.83 meet record that he posted in 2010, and he should have the likes of Young and Richard Kilty - the world and Euro-pean Indoor champion - for company for at least some of the race. Kilty has already gone 10.09 this season, and though he is not expected to upset the Jamaican here, he should make it interesting and push Powell to a fast time.
Quarter-miler Edino Steele will line up in the under-distance 300m where he will face 400m world indoor champion, Pavel Maslak, while Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson should run at the front of the field in the women's 200m.