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20 Aug 2009 15:52
There is no doubt Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world, and the Jamaican looks set to prove that again in the 200metre final on Thursday when he runs for his second sprint title at the world championships.
The battle for the world’s “greatest athlete”, though, is still wide open.
With three of 10 events remaining, the decathlon was led by American champion Trey Hardee, who grabbed the lead again after running the fastest time in the 110-metre hurdles—13,86 seconds, his fastest of the year.
Oleksiy Kasyanov of Ukraine, who had led after the first day, dropped to second and Aleksandr Pogorelov of Russia was third. The race to succeed injured Olympic champion Bryan Clay is still wide open with the pole vault, javelin and 1 500m to come.
Like Bolt, Yusuf Saad Kamel of Bahrain is trying for a double—but in the middle-distance races.
Running on two hours sleep, the Kenyan-born Bahraini followed up victory in the 1 500 late Wednesday with victory and easy qualification for the semifinals in the 800.
“I did not sleep last night because I was very excited,” the son of two-time 800 world champion Billy Konchellah said.
Kamel fought from behind to win the 1 500 ahead of Deresse Mekonnen of Ethiopia.
“I still had enough energy for the race today,” he said.
Favorites Yuriy Borzakovskiy of Russia and Abubakere Kaki of Sudan qualified alongside him.
In the men’s pole vault, it was not a question of energy but of health.
Olympic champion Steve Hooker made it to Saturday’s final on a bad leg with his only jump of 5,65 metres, but was unsure whether he could continue.
“I am not sure about my appearance in the final,” Hooker said.
“It is just that I am not healthy.”
Defending champion Brad Walker of the United States pulled out of the event before qualifying with a pelvic injury.
Health worries rarely enter the mind of the carefree Bolt.
He has already run the U.S.
track team into submission before the starting gun of Thursday’s final.
On the eve of the race, American champion Shawn Crawford was exuding how Bolt could clinch a second world record by slicing ,02
seconds off the mark the Jamaican already owns.
“I really think 19,28,” Crawford said.
His own ambition? 19,51 seconds.
“I’ll be happy with that,” Crawford said.
So, it has the looks of another gold medal to Jamaica, and a likely 3-0 lead for the Caribbean island in the battle for sprint supremacy.
The air was hot and muggy over the Olympic Stadium on Thursday, and Bolt loves the heat. He cut through the swelter of Beijing last year on his way to three Olympic golds and as many world records.
It seems Bolt is the only one having questions whether he can break the record. He reminded everyone a foot injury had slowed his curve-running early in the season.
“I really have not done the same amount of work like I did for the 100,” Bolt said.
Thursday also has finals in the 110 hurdles and the women’s 400 hurdles and high jump.—Sapa, AP
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