Former sprint champ Bailey says Ja could sweep 200m

Word of the wise!

PAUL A REID Observer writer

Thursday, August 09, 2012    

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LONDON, England — Former Olympic champion and 100m World Record holder Donovan Bailey thinks Jamaica have a good chance of sweeping the medals in the men's Olympic 200m final later this evening in the Olympic Stadium here.

Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake and Warren Weir all advanced to this evenings finals after yesterdays semi-finals.

There have been six clean sweep of the Olympic 200m medals athletes from the same country, all by Americans, the last two times coming in 1984 in Los Angeles when Carl Lewis, Kirk Baptiste and Thomas Jefferson took the medals and in Athens in 2004 when Sean Crawford, Bernard Williams and Justin Gatlin won the medals.

The other years were in 1904, 1932, 1952 and 1956.

The Jamaican-born Bailey, who is working as a commentator here, told journalists yesterday that the Jamaican trio of defending champion Bolt and Yohan Blake, the two fastest ever over the distance with times of 19.19 seconds and 19.26 seconds, respectively, as well as Warren Weir, who has run under 20.00 once this year, can take all the medals on offer.

"My pick was Bolt in the 100m, Bolt is going to repeat here," Bailey, the 1996 Olympic 100m champions running for Canada, said.

"Jamaica has a phenomenal chance to sweep," he said, but was cautious as he thought French sprinter "(Christophe) Lemaitre has an opportunity to come in third or fourth, but would not be surprised if Mr Weir comes in and runs surprisingly fast."

Asked to predict the likely winning time, Bailey said he was not expecting a World Record tonight, "I think Bolt will run around 19.35 seconds."

Asked if he thought Blake's confidence had been shaken by his loss to Bolt in the 100m finals on Sunday, Bailey said it was unlikely. "This does not affect him, that's his training partner and I don't think it has affected him at all."

"Members of the media and others who don't understand track and field thought Blake had a chance... I think Yohan is in a great position actually because he is the youngest 100m World Champion, whether he got it by default or not, and I believe he is in a position to run very fast and if anyone has a chance to beat Bolt it is him," Bailey continued.

Presently, the Canadian thinks Bolt is unbeatable. "I think everyone knows that when Bolt is in great shape he is unbeatable... his 6' 5" frame gives him a marked advantage over the shorter Blake," Bailey ended.



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