'Motivated' Bolt set for big run in NY
NEW YORK, New York:
Seven years ago, a fast-rising Jamaican sprinter by the name of Usain Bolt shocked the world, clocking 9.72 seconds in the 100m and setting a new world record at the New York Grand Prix on a wet evening inside Randall's Island's Icahn Stadium.
Bolt, now the most recognisable face in the sport, returns to the meet for the first time since then, in a different kind of shape and competing in a different event, as he gets ready to line up in the 200m, in front of what is expected to be a sold out crowd.
The six-time Olympic champion and triple world record holder has yet to truly get into stride this season, managing times of 10.12 and 20.13 so far, but if reports coming out of his training group are to be believed, then the 28-year-old is primed for a big time in the 'Big Apple'.
Bolt, who has not lost a 200m since the national trials in 2012, told journalists yesterday that he remains extremely motivated by his goals and that he is looking to dip below 20 seconds in his race today - nearly two years after his last half lap race.
He will certainly have enough scalp hunters in the other lanes to keep him honest here, with Alonso Edwards, who has finished second to the Jamaican in four of their last five meetings over 200m as well as Commonwealth and national champion Rasheed Dwyer and Julian Forte also eager to take the big Jamaican to the line.
"I have two main goals that I want to get. The hardest one is to try and get under 19 seconds and I really want to do that. I also want to win at the Olympics three times so those are my big goals and those keep me going. So, next season is going to be a big one for me but I'm taking it a step at a time and looking forward to Beijing," said Bolt.
The next step for Bolt takes place in New York, but he is not the only Jamaican in action at the latest stop on the Diamond League circuit.
In the men's 100m, Nickel Ashmeade and Nesta Carter will be hoping to slow down Tyson Gay, whose 9.88 makes him the third fastest man this year. Carter has struggled since running 9.98 in his season opener at the Jamaica International Invitational, while Ashmeade's only 100m race so far ended in 10.04 seconds for the powerful Jamaican.
Stephenie-Ann McPherson is coming off a 400m win at the Birmingham Grand Prix, but will find an in-form American Francena McCorory at the line in the 400m. Anastacia Le-Roy will compete in her first Diamond League race, while Novlene Williams-Mills will be hoping to get things going in what has been a disappointing start to the season so far for the defending Diamond Race winner. Christine Day will also line up in the women's 400m.
Schillonie Calvert and Samantha Henry-Robinson are entered in the women's 100m with Americans English Gardener and Tianna Bartoletta as well as Trinidadian Kelly-Ann Baptiste expected to be the main contenders.
Hurdling sisters Danielle and Shermaine Williams line up in a competitive 100m hurdles race featuring Sharika Nelvis, who has won six of her eight races this year, Tiffany Porter and Lolo Jones.
Annsert White and Roxroy Cato are the Jamaicans entered in the 400m hurdles where Michael Tinsley is favoured ahead of Javier Culson and the struggling Jehue Gordon with Commonwealth champion O'Dayne Richards facing all the big names in the men's shot put - Christian Cantwell, Joe Kovacs, Reese Hoffa, Ryan Whiting and Tom Walsh.
Sherone Simpson lines up in the women's 200m alongside Blessing Okagbare and Torie Bowie with St Jago's Shaneil English (Dream Girls 100m), St Jago (Junior boys 4x400m) and Vere (junior girls 4x400m) also representing at the meet.
In the men's triple jump, world leader Pedro Pablo Pichardo (18.08m) from Cuba will square off with two-time Olympic medallist Will Claye in an event that will certainly excite.
Women's 100m - 11:18am
Schillonie Calvert, Samantha Henry-Robinson
Girls' Dream 100m - 11:30am
Men's 400m Hurdles - 12:04pm
Annsert White, Roxroy Cato
Women's 400m - 12:31pm
Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Anastacia Le-Roy, Christine Day, Novlene Williams-Mills
Men's Shot Put - 12:45pm
Women's 100m hurdles -12:58pm
Danielle Williams, Shermaine Williams
Women's 200m - 1:06pm
Men's 100m - 1:16pm
Nesta Carter, Nickel Ashmeade
Men's 200m - 1:54pm
Usain Bolt, Julian Forte, Rasheed Dwyer
Junior Girls 4x400m - 2:25pm
Junior Boys 4x400m --2:25pm