PREVIEW: Usain Bolt wants gold at last as worlds reach final weekend
By John Bagratuni Sep 2, 2011, 8:22 GMT
Daegu, South Korea - Usain Bolt wants gold at last on the penultimate day of the world championships Saturday, and the 200 metres should surely be his if he does not meet disaster again.
The Jamaican world and Olympic champion had been expected to win the 100m as well on August 27 but there was a little uncertainty around that race which he never ran because of a shocking false start disqualification.
Yohan Blake became champion in Bolt's absence and would have probably, along with others, given Bolt at least run for his money.
The 200m appears to be a different story. Bolt started his career in the longer sprint before adding the 100m in 2008. He is the 200m season leader with 19.86 seconds and should get the gold fairly untroubled even though he admits he is not in the shape to threaten his world record of 19.19 seconds.
Bolt took no chances in the heats Friday with a slowest reaction time of all starters and appeared his usual self for a comfortable win, but American contender Walter Dix is eyeing an upset.
'I definitely go for gold here,' said Dix. 'I am not sure about how Usain is ready. The heat was quite slow. I think that this time it will not be as easy for him as in the past years,' said Dix.
Another star in the sport faces a much bigger question mark than Bolt on Saturday, two-times defending high jump champion Blanka Vlasic of Croatia, who is nursing a thigh injury.
'I still suffer from my injury and am worried about how it will be in the final,' she said after clearing 1.95m in qualifying Thursday.
Vlasic has cleared two metres only once this season, but that leap at home in Split was the 99th overall over the still magic barrier.
However, even a 100th in Daegu may not be good enough for gold as Anna Chicherova of Russia is the runaway season leader with 2.07m. Chicherova finally wants a major title although she remains wary of the Vlasic threat.
'Vlasic is a strong contender. She looked healthy out there,' said Chicherova after qualifying.
Elewhere, Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin wants a third 50km walk title, four days after his wife Anisya Kirdyapkina took bronze in the women's 20km, while the 110m hurdles goal of Australian season leader Sally Pearson is 'of course the world championship title.'
Kenya aims to improve an impressive medal tally with 1,500m gold from Silas Kiplagat or Olympic champion Asbel Kiprop, world and Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen wants more javelin silverware, and the US, Jamaica and Russia are expected to battle out the women's 4x400m gold.