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Posted on: Friday, May 21, 2010

Track and field: Bolt to chase victory in 200 at Shanghai meet


ELAINE KURTENBACH
Associated Press Writer

SHANGHAI Usain Bolt has gotten his season off to a good start and plans to keep it rolling in the 200 meters at Shanghai on Sunday.

The Jamaican comes into the Diamond League meet in China's commercial hub off a dominating performance in his season debut, a year's best 9.86 seconds in a 100 at the meet in Daegu, South Korea, on Wednesday.

"I'm definitely proud of how I started out my season," Bolt said Friday. "I'm looking good so far, though I need to work on a few things. I'll try to give my fans a good show."

Bolt holds the world record in the 100 (9.58) and the 200 (19.19), both set at last year's world championships in Berlin.

Other headliners at the meet include China's former Olympic champion hurdler Liu Xiang and Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser, the reigning women's 100 world and Olympic champion.

World champion hurdler Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados and Kenya's Pamela Jelimo, Olympic champion in the 800, are also among the athletes competing at the meet, the new league's second of the season following last week's opener in Doha, Qatar,

With the 100 not being run at Shanghai, Bolt will face off against Ryan Bailey of the United States, who won at Daegu in 20.58.

For Liu, the hometown meet marks another step in his comeback from an Achilles' tendon injury that forced his dramatic withdrawal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, disappointing millions of Chinese fans who had hoped to see a repeat of his 2004 victory in Athens.

Liu had surgery last year and is still feeling some pain and is not back to his top form. He pulled out of a meet in Osaka, Japan, earlier this month to be in shape for Shanghai.

"I'm not a medical expert, but I take it seriously," Liu told reporters. "I actually fear pain and don't like it. it's hard, but I still have confidence that I can perform better in the near future."

Cuba's Dayron Robles, the world record holder and reigning Olympic champion in the 110 hurdles, won't be appearing in Shanghai. However, Liu faces stiff competition from Brathwaite and American David Oliver, the Olympic bronze medalist who was the winner on Wednesday in South Korea.

"If he (Robles) is here, I have to run. If he's not, I still have to run. It doesn't make much difference," Liu said.

Asked to comment on each other as they sat side-by-side on the dais, Bolt said that while the two cannot converse due to language differences, he admires Liu's comeback from his frustrating withdrawal from the 2008 Beijing Games.

Liu said he was in awe of Bolt's relaxed running form.

"He seems as if he might be from another planet," Liu said.

Australian world and Olympic pole vault champion Steve Hooker and Norwegian Andreas Thorkildsen, the world and Olympic javelin champion, highlight the field events. The javelin is being held as an additional event in Shanghai and will not count toward Diamond League points.

In the women's 100, Fraser's chief competition will come from Carmelita Jeter of the United States, who boasts this year's best time in the event and will be looking for a third win in as many races this season. Jamaica's Sherone Simpson, who was third in Daegu, is also in the field.

Jelimo leads the pack in the 800, in which she placed second at Daegu, while world and Olympic champion Valerie Vili of New Zealand features in the shot put.

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Associated Press writer Christopher Bodeen contributed to this report from Beijing.