RIO DE JANEIRO: Usain Bolt, the two-time reigning Olympic champion over 100m and 200m, will bid to better his world record over the rarely-raced distance of 150 metres on Rio de Janeiro’s famed Copacabana beach tomorrow.
The Jamaican sprint star set the world best of 14.35 over 150m at an exhibition race in Manchester in 2009, and will again race on a track laid over one of the world’s most iconic sandy beaches.
“It will be my first speed event of the season,” said the 26-year-old, who last year claimed an unprecendented second treble gold sprint showing at the London Olympics.
“I’ve already had the chance to run on a track laid in the street (in Manchester) but it’ll be interesting to run at Copacabana.”
Bolt will race against Antiguan training mate Daniel Bailey, Ecuador’s Alex Quinonez and a Brazilian athlete, in a well-timed publicity boost for Rio de Janeiro, host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Bolt 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 this 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.”
Turning to his goals for the 2016 Games, Bolt ruled out participating in the long jump while saying he would aim to compete in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay.
“I’m very big and it could hurt my knees,” he said of the long jump.
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.
“But I’ve never had the time to go there, and I also want to go to a nightclub.”