x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Usain Bolt to miss Jamaican championships meet

The 100 and 200m champion will not compete in his nationals, while Liu Xiang will appear at next month's Asian athletics championships and Allyson Felix will double up at the US championships.

KINGSTON // World and Olympic double sprint champion and world record-holder Usain Bolt will not compete in this weekend's Jamaican National Track and Field Championships.

Ludlow Watts, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) treasurer and chairman of the meet organising committee, said Monday that Bolt is not down to run in the meet.

"He is not entered," Watts told Jamaican television.

Bolt's manager had issued a statement saying that the superstar sprinter's next meet would be in Paris on July 8, but many athletics fans believed Bolt might make an appearance at his homeland's national meet.

Bolt won both 100-metres and 200m titles in world-record runs, 9.58 seconds in the 100 and 19.19 seconds in the 200, at the last IAAF world championships staged two years ago in Berlin.

Because the world governing body gives wild-card entries to defending champions, Bolt has no need to run in the Jamaican meet to book his place on the Jamaican team competing in this year's World championships in South Korea starting August 27.

Jamaica does not have a rule requiring world team members to have run in the national meet like the United States, whose top sprinters were humbled by Bolt in world and Olympic showdowns.

Howard Aris, the JAAA president, said earlier this month that since IAAF rules allow world championships a chance to defend their crowns, "Jamaica's athletes who are defending titles fit in that category, so automatically they are eligible to compete at the next world championships."

While Bolt's record-setting speed will not be on display, the Jamaican meet will serve as the world team trials for other athletes and the sprints are expected to bring the most excitement.

The men's 100m dash sees three world spots available for a field with seven Jamaicans with times below 10 seconds this year — Steve Mullings (a 9.80 personal best), Nesta Carter (9.92), Asafa Powell (9.93), Michael Frater (9.94 personal best), Yohan Blake (9.95) and Nickel Ashmeade (9.96).

China's former Olympic 110m hurdles champion Liu Xiang will run at next month's Asian athletics championships in Kobe, Japanese organisers confirmed today.

Liu is still searching for the form that won him gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics after the Achilles injury that wrecked his Beijing hopes in 2008.

He snapped rival David Oliver's 18-meet winning streak in his hometown of Shanghai last month but the tables were turned when the American beat Liu on home soil on June 4.

Liu is set to skip European meetings ahead of this year's world championships in Daegu in August because of recurring foot pain.

His decision is part of a cautious build-up to next year's London Olympics for the former world record holder, mindful of the Achilles surgery he underwent in 2008.

Liu will headline athletes from 40 countries taking part in the July 7-10 Asian championships in the port city of Kobe.

The three-time 200m world champion Allyson Felix will run the 400m at this weekend's US championships and her performance will help determine whether she attempts a 200m/400m double at the world championships, Wes Felix, her manager, said.

"This is the next step toward deciding if she is going to do the double," he said. "It doesn't mean she will do it for sure ... but she would have to make the US team in the 400 to be able to double."

Her coach, Bob Kersee, told Reuters last month he was leaning towards Felix just running the 200 at the world championships. But Wes Felix said Kersee eventually left the decision to Allyson.

"She feels confident to be able to run at 400 metres, but running rounds [in the event] are a whole new thing for her," he said.

"So she is going to use the US championships to see what three rounds of the 400 feels like." Felix has the fastest 400m time in the world this season at 49.81 seconds.