Usain Bolt will be watched worldwide on Friday as he goes up against serious competitors in the 100m at the Herculis Diamond League event in Monaco, where he is guest of honour for this 30th birthday edition.
The Olympic champion has enjoyed a four-year winning streak, but in June clocked 10.03 and 10.06 to win two races, marking his slowest ever start to a summer.
Bolt will need to break 10 seconds to extend a win streak of more than twenty 100m and 200m races since June 6, 2013. But he will be up against South Africa’s Akani Simbine and American Chris Belcher, who have already broken 10 seconds this year.
At a press conference in Monaco yesterday, Bolt talked alluded to a few “setbacks” this year. First the the death of his “good friend” Germaine Mason, Britain’s 2008 Olympic high jump silver medallist, in a motorbike accident.
The world and Olympic 100m and 200m champion also said that he had just spent two weeks in Germany having treatment for a back problem.
Still, he’s ready to race. “I’m always expecting to win. The moment you doubt, there’s no point showing up.”
“There’s always a good field here, and lots of guys have been under 10 seconds so far this season,” the 30-year-old added. “But I’m here to execute a good race, to work on a few things, to get myself perfect for the big race to come next month” at the IAAF World Championships London 2017, which takes place from August 4-13.
Friday’s 11th IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season will be “jam-packed” with other athletic talent, with Wayde van Niekerk, Maria Lasitskene, Renaud Lavillenie and Caster Semenya among the high performers.