Jamaica Farewell - Bolt sets date for last local race
The world's fastest man, Usain Bolt, has set the date. His last race in Jamaica will take place next June at the Racers Grand Prix in what will be his final strides towards retirement.
Bolt's all-conquering career will come to an end after next year's World Championships in London, and with the nine-time Olympic champion and triple world record holder already securing his spot by virtue of his defending champion wild card, there are no plans or requirement to compete at the 2017 National Senior Championships.
The sprinter made the confirmation while chatting with presenters Neville Bell and Sakina Deer on Television Jamaica's Smile Jamaica morning magazine programme yesterday.
"The Racers Grand Prix will be my last race in Jamaica, people. It will be the last time I run in Jamaica," Bolt declared, while confirming that he will walk away into the sunset after the World Championships, which is set for August 5-13 inside the Olympic Stadium.
"Yes, I am definitely going to retire after the World Championships in London. That will be my last one," said Bolt.
The Racers Track Club, of which Bolt is a member, this year staged its first international track meet, the Racers Grand Prix, on June 11 to overwhelming acclaim, with Bolt winning the men's 100m in 9.88 seconds.
The IAAF provides wild card entries to defending world champions and diamond race winners of each event. The JAAA has established, through reference, that World champions will get the nod in cases where both are Jamaicans, which means that Bolt is not required to compete at the qualifier - next year's National Senior Championships.
As always, he is expected to feature in at least one local development meet, but as his executive manager, Nugent Walker, added, he's already looking forward to what he termed a special sign-off in front of his fellow Jamaicans.
"The intention is for the Racers Grand Prix to be his last race on local soil as he has already qualified for the World Championships in London, which will be his last major championships, with him being the defending champion in the 100m and 200m," Walker told The Gleaner yesterday.
"After competing in Jamaica for all these years, the Racers Grand Prix will be his last event in Jamaica and he is already looking forward to it. It will be a very important day for him," Walker added.
Bolt and other members of Jamaica's team to this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will be honoured this weekend by the Government of Jamaica.
He will also take part in the second staging of the Jamaica National Foundation Heroes in Action 8K Run/Walk and 4K Fun Run in his hometown, Falmouth, tomorrow. The event is being endorsed by his Usain Bolt Foundation and will support several charities in the parish of Trelawny, including the Granville Place of Safety for Girls.