News24

Bolt to return to Rome meet

2012-01-19 18:22

Rome - World record holder Usain Bolt will take part in the Rome Diamond League meeting on May 31 as part of his pre-Olympic preparation, organisers said on Thursday.

Bolt was a huge draw at the Stadio Olimpico last year where almost 50 000 people turned up to watch the world's fastest man.

He didn't disappoint either by overhauling compatriot Asafa Powell with a late surge to win the 100m in 9.91sec.

"I am looking forward to returning to Rome and to be back on the fast track of the Stadio Olimpico for the Golden Gala," said Bolt.

"I have great memories of last year's edition; it was my first time running in Italy.

"Someone told me it was the biggest crowd for athletics in the last ten years; something that made me really happy.

"I remember the huge coverage from media there, the press conference I had two days before the race was one of the biggest I ever had outside the Olympics or World Championships."

It was Bolt's first competitive race of the season and although he won, he later went on to false start at the World Championships, getting disqualified from the final.

He made amends by storming to victory in the 200m in 19.40sec - his world record is 19.19sec.

Now he's focusing on repeating his sprint treble - 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay - from the last Olympics in Beijing.

"I'm training hard, the off season has been good. Everything is going according to plan," he said.

"The aim is to defend my Olympic titles in London. Rome's race will be a good early season test to tell me what I need to do on the way to the Olympic Games".

SAPA