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Bolt back in Bird's Nest
August 18, 2008 08:23 IST
"Lightning" Usain Bolt [Images] returns to the scene of his Olympic triumph on Monday in the opening heats of the men's 200 meters in another full day of track and field action.
Bolt seduced the crowd at the Bird's Nest stadium on Saturday with a world-record breaking display of athleticism and showmanship in the 100 meters final to be crowned the world's fastest man.
The 200 is supposed to be the leggy 6 ft 5 ins Jamaican's preferred distance, and he is aiming to be the first man to win the Olympic sprint double since Carl Lewis [Images] in 1984.
Whether he can make the leap from his own personal best of 19.67 set two months ago to Michael Johnson's 12-year-old world record of 19.32 is more doubtful.
"I'm not worried about world records," said Bolt, who turns 22 on Thursday, the day after the 200 meters final. "I've got plenty of time for world records in the future."
The crowd are sure to be buzzing again on Monday when Liu Xiang, China's main hope of gold in track and field, finally steps out in the heats of the men's 110 meters hurdles.
Olympic champion Liu has been struggling with an inflamed Achilles tendon, and faces a tough contest against Cuba's Dayron Robles, who took the world record away from him in June.
CHINA'S RELENTLESS CHARGE
There are another 18 medals on offer on Day 10 of the Games, and China will be looking to consolidate their lead at the top of the medals table.
The hosts, who have invested billions in a Soviet-style training program for their athletes, have already won 35 golds, three more than their Athens haul four years ago.
The American team, who got 36 golds in 2004, have just 19 golds so far, with seven days of competition left.
The state Xinhua news agency said China's dominance reflected the traditional "host effect" of the Olympics [Images], while a senior Chinese team official said their medals haul would probably slow down in the second half of the Games.
With golds in diving, weightlifting, gymnastics, archery, badminton, judo, rowing, swimming, shooting, table tennis and wrestling, the Chinese have dominated the Olympics -- in a reflection of their growing economic and political clout.
In the Bird's Nest, the United States have high hopes in the men's 400 meters hurdles, with world champion Kerron Clement, evergreen 2000 Olympic champion Angelo Taylor and former world champion Bershawn Jackson the people in form.
Russia [Images] will hope for some relief from a disappointing Olympics when world record-holder Yelena Isinbayeva competes in the pole vault.
Their team, who lost a number of medal hopefuls to doping tests in the run-up to the Games, have just seven golds so far. In Athens, they collected 27.
As Russia plummet, the hosts of the 2012 London [Images] Games have risen. Britain won eight golds over the weekend to bring their total to 11, putting them third in the table.
The British are expecting another gold in the men's team pursuit cycling on Monday after setting a new world record during the first round of competition.
Ethiopia and Cameroon both picked up golds in the Birds Nest on Sunday, and it could be the turn of Kenya on Monday.
Their athletes could sweep the board in their traditional strength, the men's 3,000 meters steeplechase, while teenager Pamela Jelimo could grab another gold in the women's 800 meters.
"It's amazing how that young Kenyan girl is running," said Britain's Kelly Holmes, who won the 800 and 1,500 meters golds in Athens.
"She could easily run an Olympic or a world record. I have been watching the races and I thought to myself something special is gonna happen. Watch out for that girl."
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