BERLIN, August 19 – Sprint king Usain Bolt will launch an assault on his own 200m world record on Thursday as he bids to write himself into the record books while high-jump queen Blanka Vlasic will lock horns with Ariane Friedrich.Bolt, 22, is on the verge of completing a unique set of taking Olympic and world championship 100m and 200m gold medals with world records.
Having won both sprint golds in Beijing with new world marks, the Jamaican smashed his own record when he ran 9.58sec to take gold in Sunday’s 100m final here.
If he wins Thursday’s 200m final and breaks his own world record it will give him the unique individual set of 100m and 200m Olympic and world medals with world record times to boot as he celebrates his 23rd birthday on Friday.
There is also the prospect of him adding another gold and world record when the Jamaican team competes in Saturday’s 4x100m relay heats and final.
World high-jump champion Vlasic will battle her arch-rival and local favourite Friedrich who beat her at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium in June’s Golden League meeting in one of the championships key showdowns.
Vlasic made the final despite picking up six stitches from the head injury she suffered in a freak accident while warming up for Tuesday morning’s qualification.
The Croatian worked her way up the heights clearing 1.85m, 1.89m, 1.92m, 1.95m to lead Group A in qualification, while Friedrich showed her form by clearing 1.95m at the first time of asking.
It will be a battle royale between the pair as Friedrich famously beat Vlasic in Brussels last season to deny her a share of the one million dollar Golden League jackpot.
Since then she has beaten Vlasic at both the European Indoor championships in March as well as Berlin’s Golden League meet.
There could be an upset brewing for the men’s 110m hurdles final after Cuba’s Olympic champion and world record holder Dayron Robles laboured through the first round with a hamstring injury.
Robles, sporting a bandaged left thigh, struggled over the first five hurdles with his lead leg failing to snap out over the barrier.
But he somehow managed to find the reserves to pull through the field and sneak into third and final automatic qualification spot in 13.67sec.
In the men’s decathlon, Oleksiy Kasyanov of the Ukraine is the current leader ahead of Cuba’s Yunior Diaz and Trey Hardee of the United States in third.
The women’s 400m hurdles final will be a battle between the Olympic champion Melaine Walker of Jamaica and United States hurdler LaShinda Demus, who ran the fourth fastest time in history in Monaco last month.