Bolt in Paris to steel himself for World Champs

PARIS - Usain Bolt will use his outing at the Stade de France in Paris at the fourth meeting of the Golden League series to fine-tune preparations for an assault on next month's World Athletics Championships.

PARIS - Usain Bolt will use his outing at the Stade de France in Paris at the fourth meeting of the Golden League series to fine-tune preparations for an assault on next month's World Athletics Championships.

The Jamaican took the Beijing Olympics by storm, setting world records en route to victory in the 100m and 200m, as well as being part of his country's gold medal-winning 4x100m relay team.

But he was beaten into silver in the 200m in the 2007 world championships in Osaka by triple world champion Tyson Gay of the US, who will not be competing at the Stade de France.

Bolt will be keen to set down a marker after some storming performances by Gay, whose Olympic adventure was disastrous after a comeback from injury. But Gay has set the two leading times of the season over 100m, notably a 9,77sec into a headwind in Rome, the fourth fastest time ever run over the blue riband event.

There might not be a showdown with Gay or Jamaican compatriot Asafa Powell today, but a strong field includes Churandy Martina of the Dutch Antilles, Trinidadian duo Richard Thompson and Marc Burns, and veteran St Kitts and Nevis sprinter Kim Collins.

But Bolt is not in the running for the $1million (R8,2million) Golden League jackpot for the athlete who wins all six races in their discipline throughout the season.

Of the five men's events (100m, 400m, 3000m/5000m, 110m hurdles, javelin) and the five women's (100m, 400m, 100m hurdles, high jump, pole vault), there are just four jackpot contenders. Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia has notched up three wins over the 5000m, while Jamaican Kerron Stewart is unbeaten in the women's 100m. American Sanya Richards looks comfortable in the women's 400m while Yelena Isinbayeva is peerless in the pole vault.

The Russian shared the 2007 jackpot with Richards. - Sapa-AFP

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