London - Sprint superstar Usain Bolt will seek a final
golden hurrah when he takes to the track at the IAAF World Championships in
London this week.
Bolt has dominated sprinting since taking double individual
gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, going on to win a further six Olympic
golds and also picking up 11 world titles.
World records of 9.58 and 19.19sec in the 100 and 200m when
winning in the 2009 Berlin worlds were followed by the towering Jamaican
winning consecutive world golds in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay in 2011, 2013
and 2015, with the exception of a false start in the 100m in Daegu in 2011.
The 30-year-old scored triple gold at both the 2012 and 2016
Olympics in London and Rio, his sole hiccup being stripped of his 2008 Olympic
relay gold after teammate Nesta Carter failed a drugs test.
It is a staggering tally for a track athlete who has admitted
he wants to go out on a high as athletics seeks to turn a new page.
"My main aim is just to win (in London). I just want to
retire on a winning note," Bolt said recently in Monaco, where he won the
100m in 9.95sec, dipping under the 10sec barrier after two sluggish outings in
Kingston and Ostrava.
Bolt has opted not to defend his 200m world title, meaning
he will not race against South Africa's Wayde van Niekerk, the athlete Bolt has
tipped to take over as the next track and field superstar.
"That's one of the most disappointing things in my
career now," he said. "He came along at this late stage and I didn't
get to compete against him, because I think he's one of the best now."
World and Olympic 400m champion Van Niekerk, who will
attempt an audacious 200-400m double in London, added: "Usain has been a
"But I've still got quite a long way to go before I
even get close to the heights that Usain has reached."
One of the stand-out moments of the 2012 Olympics at the
same stadium in east London was 'Super Saturday', when Britain won three gold
medals in the space of an hour to set the packed stadium alight.
Distance running legend Mo Farah, on an unbroken streak of
nine global final wins (the 5000m in 2011, and the 5/10km double in 2012, 2013,
2015 and 2016). will again compete, but there is no Jessica Ennis-Hill, the
heptathlete having retired, or long jumper Chris Rutherford, out injured.
But Ennis-Hill will sit atop the podium once more as the
world champs sees the reallocation of a number of medals from previous
championships including two golds.
The upgrades follow the disqualification of the results of
the original medallists after their sanction for anti-doping rule violations.
Ennis-Hill will pick up a 2011 gold and the US women's team
the 2013 4x400m title.
"I'm delighted that the athletes are properly honoured
for their achievements and what better way than in front of passionate
athletics fans at a major championship," said IAAF President Sebastian
"For those receiving gold medals, their moment in
London will be all the more special as they will hear their national anthem
played. Whatever their nationality, clean athletes worldwide will celebrate
Coe, a two-time Olympic 1500m gold medallist, will chair a
series of IAAF meetings in the run-up to Friday's start of the track and field
Coe heads up the IAAF Council meeting on Monday, with lively
discussion expected on Russia, which will miss the worlds because of its
state-sponsored doping programme that also saw its athletes barred from the Rio
Since then several Russian athletes have been cleared to
compete under a neutral flag as the IAAF works with all parties to ensure a
transparent anti-doping culture in the track and field powerhouse.
The Council meet is followed by the 51st IAAF Congress with
Coe on hand to launch an innovative one-day convention called IAAF Athletics
Connect on Wednesday.
Tellingly, in Bolt's swansong season, the convention is
designed to "prompt discussion about building a strong future for