Fireworks on horizon as Bolt goes into 200m today
MOSCOW, Russia — Usain Bolt's journey towards track and field immortality will take yet another step today when he begins the quest for an unprecedented third IAAF World Championships men's 200m title, running the first round and semi-finals at the 14th staging of the biennial championships at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia.
Bolt, who along with American Calvin Smith, is the only male back-to-back winner of the event, will seek to join American Allyson Felix as the only runners in the history of the competition to win three straight titles in the half-lap event. Felix won in Helsinki, Finland in 2005, Osaka, Japan in 2007 and Berlin, Germany in 2009, before finishing third behind Veronica Campbell Brown and compatriot Carmelita Jeter, two years ago, in Daegu, South Korea.
Meanwhile, Jamaicans are also down to contest the first round of the women's 100m hurdles as well as the first round of the women's 4x400 relays.
Having taken the day off after winning his second World Championships 100m title on a rainy and cool Sunday night, Bolt, the world record holder at 19.19 seconds, returned to the track on Tuesday in preparation for what could be a big event for Jamaica.
Bolt's training partner Warren Weir, who won the JAAA National title in June with a personal best 19.79 seconds, is out to prove his Olympic bronze was no fluke.
Nickel Ashmeade, a finalist in Deagu, and Jason Livermore will also contest the event that starts at 10:35 am local time with the qualifiers returning in the evening session in the hopes of booking a place through to Saturday's final.
Weir will be the first Jamaican in the third heat against French hope Jimmy Vicaut, while countryman Ashmeade with a season's best 20.00 seconds will line-up in the next heat.
Livermore, who is making his debut in a global track and field event, will contest the fifth heat while Bolt has been drawn in the seventh and final heat, where former Munro College sprinter Delano Williams will also run in his debut for Great Britain.
Jamaica has had at least two runners in the final of the men's 200m in the last three World Championships.
All three Jamaican women in the sprint hurdles will be running at the World Championships for the first time and have a far way to go to replicate the feat of Brigitte Foster-Hylton, who won gold in Berlin, as well as Deloreen Ennis London and Michelle Freeman who were also medal winners.
Shermaine Williams, who just missed the final at the London Olympic Games last year, and was a World Junior Championships silver medallist back in 2008, will want to do well for her country.
Her younger sister, who just missed a medal at the 2010 World Juniors in Moncton, Canada, has had the better season of all three, winning at the JAAA National Trials in June while running her personal best 12.69 seconds.
Danielle runs in the third heat where she faces American queen Harrison after Bliss faces World and Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia, who looks to be rounding into form late in the season.
Shermaine will run in heat number five.
The Jamaican women who won silver two years ago in Daegu, will seek to qualify for the final of the 4x400m relay and the team, to include Christine Day, Kaliese Spencer, Rosemarie Whyte and Annastacia Leroy, will race against Russia, Belarus, Great Britain, France and India for a place in tomorrow's final.
It is expected that 400m finalists Stephenie McPherson and Novlene Williams-Mills will come in for the final.