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    Beijing to unveil the fastest man on earth

    August 15, 2015

    China's Beijing National Stadium, better known as the Bird's Nest due to its unique architectural view, will host its largest sporting event since the 2008 summer Olympic Games when the 15th edition of the IAAF World Championships gets underway next week.

    Two Sri Lankans will be among the 2,000 plus athletes from over 200 countries who will be in search of track and field supremacy during the nine-day meet. UK-based Anuradha Indrajith Cooray and experienced Niluka Geethani Rajasekera will compete in men's and women's marathon races after having gained direct entry qualifying standards.


    But the showpiece of the meet would undoubtedly be the men's 100m event at which some of the top sprinters target to become the fastest man on earth. Jamaican Usain Bolt would face a tough challenge in Beijing as a galaxy of sprinters roar to better the men's 100m world record.


    The Jamaican sprint merchant will be returning to the very same venue at which he had shattered back to back world records seven years ago. He gained global recognition on the back of his record-breaking performances in the 100m (9.69 secobds) and 200m events (19.30 seconds) at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, becoming the first athlete to break both records at the same Games.


    Bolt, the five-time IAAF world athlete of the year, further underlined his credentials as an all-time great by successfully defending both Olympic titles at London 2012 - another unprecedented accomplishment. Eight-time world champion Bolt remains the world record holder with times of 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds after a sensational showing at the Berlin World Championships in 2009.


    Bolt has insisted he would be ready for the challenge of toppling in-form American Justin Gatlin. He made the pledge on the eve of his return from injury in the 100m on the opening night of the Anniversary Games Diamond League meeting in London recently.


    The Jamaican has not raced since winning the New York Diamond League 200m race on June 13 because of a pelvic problem.


    The world record holder at 100m and 200m also said that he had "a problem" with Gatlin's United States teammate Tyson Gay about his doping past but not with Gatlin, who has served two doping suspensions and who has run the four fastest times of 2015 at both 100m and 200m.


    Gatlin has recorded 9.74 seconds for 100m this year and Bolt a modest 10.12 in his only race at the distance - in Rio de Janeiro in April. However, the Jamaican maintained he was not daunted by the prospect of facing Gatlin when he defends his IAAF World Championship 100m and 200m titles in Beijing, despite his lack of form and lack of competition this year.


    Asked whether a win for Gatlin in Beijing would be bad for the sport, Bolt had laughed, stating that he is not planning to lose and as a result he is unable to answer that question.


    Meanwhile, the IAAF World Championship in Beijing will see the most sophisticated and toughest anti-doping testing ever carried out at an international athletic championship.


    The IAAF has intensified its hunt for drug cheaters after 28 athletes who competed at the 2005 and 2007 World Championships have returned "adverse findings" from retested samples.


    The world governing body for athletics has said that a large majority of the athletes are retired with "very few" still active. The IAAF has announced their provisional suspensions. None of the athletes concerned would be competing at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, which get under way on August 22.


    The 2005 World Championships took place in the Finnish capital of Helsinki before Japanese city Osaka hosted the event two years later in 2007. If violations are confirmed the IAAF will correct the record books and re-allocate medals as necessary.


    Unconfirmed reports earlier claimed that 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes between 2001 and 2012 have shown an "extraordinary extent of cheating" by athletes at key international world level meets.


    Russian Liliya Shobukhova, who won the London Marathon in 2010 and was runner-up in 2011, had her results since 2009 annulled for doping, following the conclusion of a long-running legal case last week.

    Last modified on Saturday, 15 August 2015 04:45

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