UNITED KINGDOM, May 13 – Usain Bolt will take the first long strides on his road to Rio here Saturday when he makes his 2016 track debut with less than three months to go before the Olympics.
The Jamaican sprint king is planning a successful defence of his 100m, 200m and 4x100m crowns in Brazil, an unprecedented “triple-triple” in what he has said will be his final Olympic games.
The 29-year-old superstar has not competed since winning three gold medals at last August’s World Championships in Beijing and is hoping to use this weekend’s Cayman Invitational to gauge the state of his race fitness.
Bolt, the world record holder over 100m and 200m, runs in the 100m on Saturday at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
“When I left Jamaica everything was good,” Bolt told AFP at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on Thursday.
“This is my first race, so you never know what to expect, because race fitness is different from training.”
Bolt however believes he is ready to hit the ground running, revealing that training partner Yohan Blake has been in blistering form this year.
“The way I feel I should run a good time, because I train with (Yohan) Blake, who ran a good time (9.93) already this season,” Bolt said.
Bolt’s competition on Saturday includes training partner Kemar Bailey-Cole and the Cayman Islands’ Kemar Hyman, both of whom have gone below 10 seconds for the 100m.
Bolt will also run in Ostrava later this month, where he is scheduled to face US decathlon king Ashton Eaton over 100m.
“These upcoming races will determine where I am preparing for Rio,” Bolt said.
“I just have to hope that everything fall into place and when I get back to Jamaica in training, I will know what I need to work on.”
Although his qualification for the Olympics is likely to be a formality, Bolt said the Jamaican track and field trials were a priority.
“We always focus on trials (Jamaica Olympic Trials) first,” he said before reiterating his determination to scoop another treble of golds in Rio, where he is also hoping to become the first man to duck under 19 seconds for the 200m.
“I am going to Rio for the three gold medals. That’s always the aim and as I said earlier in the season, I would love to break 19 seconds,” he said.
Elsewhere on Saturday, America’s 2011 World champion and Olympic Games silver medallist Carmelita Jeter headlines the women’s 100m, which also has USA 200m champion Jenna Prandini and Jamaican Kerron Stewart.
Prandini is also in the women’s 200m with compatriot Miki Barber.
American Kori Carter is the biggest name in the women’s 400m hurdles while Kendra Harrison of USA will start favourite over Phylicia George of Canada and Virgina Crawford in the women’s sprint hurdles.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Machel Cedenio will try to better his personal best of 44.34 clocked here last year in the men’s 400m.