28 JUL 2012 Preview

Men's 200 Metres - PREVIEW

Yohan Blake (r) en route to victory over Usain Bolt in the Jamaican trials 200m (Anthony Foster)Yohan Blake (r) en route to victory over Usain Bolt in the Jamaican trials 200m (Anthony Foster) © Copyright
Reigning champion Usain Bolt will be aiming to become the first sprinter ever to clinch a brace of 200 metres titles in what he readily admits is his speciality first choice event.

Bolt thrilled the crowd in Beijing four years ago when smashing Michael Johnson's World record by 0.02sec with a time of 19.30 which 12 months later at the Berlin World Championships he lowered to an incredible 19.19.

The Jamaican, after the disqualifications of Churandy Martina and Wallace Spearmon were confirmed and having run a fantastic bend at the Bird's Nest Stadium, won by a huge 0.66 ahead of the the USA's 2004 champion Shawn Crawford who was elevated to silver medal position.

Now if he is to go into the history books with a second successive victory it might be necessary for the 25-year-old to stretch those legs even faster to assure himself the gold medal as on this occasion he can expect Yohan Blake to be breathing down his neck.

His training partner Blake who apart from beating him at the Jamaican Trials where he posted a world leading mark of 19.80 had even before that victory showed his own pedigree for half lap racing last summer.

The World 100m champion showed his class last season when becoming the second fastest ever 200m performer with his victory at the Samsung Diamond League meeting in Brussels with a pulsating clocking of 19.26.

That and his success in June where Bolt himself ran his season's best of 19.83, will set up another great sprint final suggesting with the 100m final completed, both will get their teeth into what could become the finest 200m race ever witnessed.

Bolt's love of the 200m where he won the 2002 World Junior title as a 15-year-old has always remained constant and lends merit to the suggestion he will have concentrated more on the training track on its defence rather than the 100m sprint.

While the pair are expected to battle for the title, a depleted Team USA with neither Justin Gatlin nor Tyson Gay not doubling will be looking to Spearmon with a very early season's best of 19.95 and who was disqualified for running out of his lane in Beijing attempt to atone for the error and this time grab a medal.

Martina will have the same ambition and having belted out a 19.94 clocking to win the New York Samsung Diamond League meet in June will be hoping to add to the Netherlands tally now that Dutch Antilles athletes are competing under their flag.

A bigger threat could come from Christophe Lemaitre who on his visit to the London Grand Prix in mid July ran a stunning 19.91 in very wet conditions, suggesting the Frenchman could steal a march on his much more fancied Caribbean and North American opponents.

David Martin for the IAAF