Usain Bolt to kick off his ’serious’ season in Lausanne, ready to chase records again

By Bradley S. Klapper, AP
Monday, July 6, 2009

Bolt ready to chase more records this season

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Usain Bolt is ready to chase more records.

The triple Olympic champion starts the “serious” part of his season in the 200 meters at the Athletissima meet on Tuesday, and the 22-year-old Jamaican is aiming high.

Bolt says the race will be an early test of his form as he works toward bettering the world records he set in the 100 and 200 last summer at the Beijing Olympics. He also would one day like to take a shot at Michael Johnson’s decade-old mark in the 400.

“I definitely will be running to the line this year because it’s my first serious race of the season,” said Bolt, who last September in Lausanne coasted to victory in the 200 in 19.63 seconds, the fourth fastest time in history. “I’ll be going all out because I need to know where I’m at and what I need to do.”

Bolt said at a news conference on Monday that he is mostly concerned about technique and strength at this point in the season. He won the 100 in 9.86 seconds and the 200 in 20.25 seconds at the Jamaican national championships last month, and he ran a 100 in 9.77 earlier in the season.

The times were well off his record-setting runs of 9.69 and 19.30 in Beijing. Conceding that he was behind in his preparations for the world championships in Berlin, Bolt still promised to be ready by next month.

“I don’t have a world championship gold medal yet, so I’m working on that,” he said. “A successful season would be to go to the world championships and repeat what I did in Beijing.”

Bolt confirmed that meant aiming for new records.

“Definitely. If that comes, I would really like that, but it’s about getting the gold medals first,” he said.

As for chasing Johnson’s record 400 time of 43.18 seconds, Bolt said it isn’t a priority right now.

“If it was up to me I wouldn’t do that, but in the future, probably, yes,” he said. “If I dominate for years to come, which I want to, then I think my coach will definitely want me to run the 400.”

Bolt will line up Tuesday against American Shawn Crawford, the 2004 Olympic champion and runner-up last year.

Also on the speedy Pontaise track will be Bolt’s Jamaica teammate Asafa Powell in the 100. The former record-holder is seen as one of Bolt’s main challengers in the sprints this season alongside American Tyson Gay.

Cuba’s Dayron Robles, the 110-meter hurdles Olympic champion and record holder, will be in action and could put up a fast time on the same track where China’s Liu Xiang set the previous record three years ago.

Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker will also start his outdoor season.

On the women’s side, Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser heads a strong field in the 100, while gold medalist hurdlers Dawn Harper in the 110 and Melanie Walker in the 400 are also in action.

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