Usain Bolt and Haile Gebrselassie in a wet Manchester ahead of Sunday's competitions (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Manchester, UK

Bolt and Gebrselassie ready to dazzle Manchester with their athletic brilliance

Beijing sprint king Usain Bolt and World marathon record holder Haile Gebrselassie are in this northern English city which hosted the 2002 Commonwealth Games, respectively to compete in a 150m dash in the Bupa Great City Manchester Games and a 10km road race at Bupa Great Manchester Run - an IAAF Gold Label Road Race - on Sunday 17 May.

Bolt, the Olympic 100 metres, 200m and 4x100m relay gold medallist has enjoyed a short rest period and a few days training since a serious car crash in Jamaica just over a fortnight ago which left him requiring minor surgery on his left foot.

Bolt flipped over his BMW M3 Coupe when driving fast in wet conditions. The injuries from the crash necessitated him having thorns, which he had stepped on after leaving his car after the accident, being surgically removed from his feet.

The 22-year-old insists he is 100% for the innovative Bupa Great 150m Sprint on the streets of Manchester on Sunday. The World 100m and 200m record holder only confirmed his fitness to race last Monday (11) and he said he was looking forward to the event in Manchester city centre where there are hopes he can break Donovan Bailey's fastest-ever 150m time of 14.99 secs over the rarely-run distance.

“I think I ran 14-something but I have run it only in training. I don't go worrying about times. That is when you start running slower," said Bolt. “It is a competition for me because I take everything seriously.”

“You cannot compare it with breaking the World records, but I told my coach that I really wanted to come here. After the accident he was having second thoughts about sending me, but I wanted to come here. I am happy to be here.”

Records on Haile's mind

The weekend's world-class programme will also see Haile Gebrselassie attempt to regain the UK All-Comers' 10km record of 27:25 he set in Manchester in 2005, a time which was broken at the same venue two years ago by Micah Kogo of Kenya.

Kogo ran four seconds quicker over the same course and to rub salt into Gebrselassie's wounds, recently lowered* the Ethiopian's World record by a second with a time of 27:01 in Holland.

Gebrselassie said of a possible double record bid: “We'll see what happens on Sunday, you can never predict what will happen but I am in good shape, know the course is very fast and I will be trying my hardest.”

David Martin - PA Sport - for the IAAF

*subject to usual ratification procedures