Bolt headlines Zurich line-up

2013-08-28 18:00
Usain Bolt (AP Photo)

Zurich - Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt will headline a sparkling line-up for the Zurich leg of the Diamond League on Thursday.

Fans at the Letzigrund Stadium will witness 17 new world champions, 17 world leaders, 15 reigning Olympic champions, and 5 current world record holders in action.

Bolt, who will race the 100m, will be joined by teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who also won the sprint double at this month's World Athletics Championships in Moscow.

Reconfirming his credentials as one of global sports' biggest draws, Bolt visited the Swiss headquarters of football's world governing body, FIFA, ahead of the track meet.

The 27-year-old self-avowed Manchester United fan was invited to attend next year's World Cup by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

"For years, he has dominated speed events," said Blatter.

"I'm very proud that this great gentlemen is here today.

"He also showed again recently that the 4x100m (relay) is very important to him, which proves that he is a team player, just like in football."

Back on the track, there is a rare clash of two queens of long-distance running, Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar.

The Moscow worlds were deprived of a head-to-head after the Ethiopian federation decided neither would be entered for the 5 000-10 000m double.

As it was, Defar won the 5 000m title and Dibaba the longer distance. Thursday's race will be their first competitive outing at a meet in seven years.

"The 5 000m will be a nice race. But it's my fourth race in two weeks so I'm a bit tired," said Defar.

"I expect a tactical race because there are too many good runners in the field."

Other recently-crowned world champions on show include American 400m runner LaShawn Merritt, Kenyan duo Asbel Kiprop (1500m) and Ezekiel Kemboi (3000m steeplechase), American David Oliver (110m hurdles) and in-form Ukrainian high jumper Bohdan Bondarenko.

Bondarenko is coming increasingly close to challenging the 2.45 metre world record set by Cuban Javier Sotomayor, having three times attempted it since July.

"My goal is the world record," acknowledged the Ukrainian.

"In order to tackle it, I will have to concentrate on my jump 100 percent.

"The thing is, at this height, there are many different kinds of emotions that interfere with your concentration. This makes an attempt at the record mentally difficult."

The Zurich meet is host for the first of two finals for the 2013 IAAF Diamond League series as 16 Diamond Race winners will be crowned.

The Diamond Race finals for the other 16 disciplines will be contested at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels on September 6.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Patriotism aside, who do you feel deserved to win the 2017 Laureus Breakthrough of the Year award?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.