BRUSSELS, September 4 – Treble world sprint champion Usain Bolt will not compete against world silver medallist Tyson Gay in the 100m at the sixth and final Golden League meet of the season on Friday.Bolt set a world record time of 9.58 seconds to beat American Gay into second in the Berlin worlds but has opted for the 200m – in which he also set a new world record of 19.19sec – over the shorter event here.
Gay, however, will be up against Bolt’s Jamaican compatriot and former world record holder Asafa Powell, who finished with world bronze behind the American in the German capital last month.
"I’ve run a lot of 100m races this season, that’s why in agreement with my coach I decided to run the 200m in Brussels," said Bolt, who will also likely run the 200m at the September 12-13 World Athletics Final in Thessaloniki, Greece.
The 23-year-old ran 9.81sec in Zurich last week despite complaining of being physically drained after his exploits in Berlin.
"Since the worlds, I’ve had two weeks to recover. I feel better now. It should be better than in Zurich," he said of his race on a course which features the same track as in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium, when Bolt also set three world records in winning treble Olympic sprint gold.
Sprinting line-ups aside, there are only three athletes who remain on course for netting the one-million-dollar Golden League jackpot.
Ethiopia’s double world and Olympic 5000/10,000m champion Kenenisa Bekele runs in the men’s 5000m and looks a sure bet to win all six of his races in the discipline.
American Sanya Richards goes in the women’s 400m and will hope for no upsets at the hands of British arch-rival Christine Ohuruogu.
In the women’s pole vault, all kinds of questions were asked after the worlds when Yelena Isinbayeva failed to even medal in her bid for an unprecedented third consecutive world gold in the event.
But the Russian rebounded from her non-medal showing in August with a new world record of 5.06m in the Zurich Golden League meet last week to re-establish the pecking order that has dominated the discipline since her arrival on the scene.
There will be at least one bid on a world record come Friday.
Ethiopian Gelete Burka was elbowed into a fall in a last lap collision with Spain’s Natalia Rodriguez in the world 1500m but heads to Belgium looking to better the 2000m record of Ireland’s Sonia OSullivan (5min 25.36sec).
Burka will have competition all the way in the form of Kenyan world 5000m champion Vivian Cheruiyot, who has a personal best at 2000m of 5:31.52 which she set this year when winning in Eugene in June.
American Jeremy Wariner has set himself a target of a meeting record in the men’s 400m.
"I would like to break the stadium record," said Wariner, who won silver behind compatriot and Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt in Berlin.
The stadium record-holder is the legendary Michael Johnson, Wariner’s mentor who ran 44.06sec in 1998.