Region's finest face off in Switzerland
LAUSANNE – Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake are among several Caribbean athletes headlining a star-studded cast of Olympic medallists at tomorrow’s Diamond league event in Switzerland.
Bolt and Blake are not competing against each other, but their participation along with that of Caribbean and American rivals fresh from the Olympics has heightened expectations at the Pontaise Stadium.
The two Jamaican sprinters are set to clash with athletes who only just over a week ago tried to outrun them in London.
Bolt, gold medallist in the Olympic 100 and 200 metres, will attempt to maintain his dominance over the 200 metres when he faces countryman Warren Weir, Wallace Spearmon, Churandy Martina and Jason Young.
Blake, the Olympic silver medallist over the 100 and 200 metres, is among six London finalists in the 100m, which will also include the Americans Ryan Bailey and Tyson Gay
The prospect of a mouth-watering clash in the women’s 100 metres also looms, as it features a reunion of the top three finishers from the Olympic final – Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Carmelita Jeter and Veronica Campbell-Brown.
But similar to the 100-metre male event, the women’s 100 is expected to be a continuation of the ongoing contest between Jamaica and the United States for world domination in sprint.
In the 400m, Olympic champion Kirani James will face the London medallists Luguel’n Santos and Lalonde Gordon.
Thursday’s race will be James’ second for the week, after comfortably winning the 400 metres in the Austrian city of Linz on Monday.Meantime, the Jamaican hurdler and Olympic bronze medallist Hansle Parchment will once again take on American rivals Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson in the 110-metre event.
Merritt and Richardson captured gold and silver, respectively, in London, and the rematch with Parchment in Lausanne is expected to be an interesting face-off.
Meanwhile, Bolt said he would be a definite starter for another Olympic Games in four years. Speculation has been rife since the London Games that the Olympic 100 and 200 meters champion could quit athletics and not compete at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“Yes definitely I will be there (in Rio), as long as I’m fit and I’m ready,” Bolt said at a promotional event today.
“It’ll be a little bit harder but I’m looking forward to it.”
The possibility of Bolt, also a member of Jamaica’s world record-breaking 4×100 relay team in London, switching from the sprints to the 400 or long jump again came up.
“It’s just about making different goals, there’s a lot of things I can do in the sport,” Bolt said.
“My coach wants me to do 400 metres, I want to try long jump.
“I could always try to aim for the records again, so there’s different things but after the season we’ll decide what we want to do and work on that next season.”
The newly-turned 26-year-old also told the Hublot watch event that his dream of one day becoming a soccer player still burned bright.