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Tuesday April 2, 2013

A job well done in Rio as Bolt now eyes London

RIO DE JANEIRO: Usain Bolt fell just short of his 150m world record as he opened his season with victory on Copacabana beach.

The six-time Jamaican Olympic champion crossed the line in 14.42 seconds on a four-lane track in Rio de Janeiro. He was just 0.07 seconds shy of the record he set on Manchester’s streets in 2009.

Antiguan sprinter Daniel Bailey came in second on Sunday at 14.88 seconds, followed by Brazilian Bruno Lins at 14.91 and Ecuadorean Alex Quinonez at 15.90.

“It was my first sprint race, definitely a good start for the season,” Bolt said. “I’m looking forward to the Olympics here in 2016.”

Local hopeful Lins finished in a time of 14.91 seconds, with Ecuador’s Alex Quinones and Daniel Bailey of Antigua and Barbuda finishing third and fourth respectively.

Bolt’s agent Ricky Simms revealed the sprint star could appear at the London 2012 Anniversary Games in July after “positive negotiations” had taken place.

Other than the Olympics, Bolt has not raced in Britain since 2009.

The 26-year-old Bolt — who won the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay in both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games — said he was happy with the result, calling it a “good start” to the season and saying he looked forward to returning to Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Some 3,000 spectators attended the event, at a track set up on a beach popular with tourists, eager to watch Bolt and the other sprinters compete in the rarely-raced distance.

After crossing the finish line, Bolt took off his shoes and hurled one of them into the stands. He later regretted the move when he felt how hot the track was and asked for a replacement.

Bolt had earlier played down fears over the Joao Havelange Stadium, home to the Botafogo football club and due to host the track and field competition during the 2016 Games. The stadium was indefinitely closed last week because of roof problems.

“The Olympic Games are in three years. That gives you enough time to solve everything. This type of problem happens the world over,” Bolt said last week.

Turning to his goals for the 2016 Games, Bolt ruled out participating in the long jump - saying “I’m very big and it could hurt my knees” - while saying he would aim to compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.

While organisers laid on a daytime trip to a Brazilian favela (slum) for Bolt to meet disadvantaged children, the Jamaican’s plans for his time in Rio lay elsewhere.

“I know a lot of things about Brazil, but the thing I know most about are the beaches and the girls on the beaches,” he said last week. “But I’ve never had the time to go there, and I also want to go to a nightclub.” — AFP

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