Bolt with a lot to prove on return from injury
Like Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis-Hill, the British stars of the two-day Anniversary Games, Bolt will be hoping to find the Midas touch that took him to Olympic gold on the same east London track in 2012.
The 28-year-old Jamaican last raced on June 13, when he struggled to get the better of his 19-year-old training partner, the Anguillan-born British recruit Zharnel Hughes, over 200m in the New York Diamond League meeting.
Bolt has since had treatment for a pelvic problem from Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohfahrt -- the 72-year-old German sports doctor known as ‘Healing Hans’, whose diverse list of clients over the years has included Michael Jordan, Diego Maradona, Luciano Pavarotti and Bono -- and has resumed training under long-time coach Glen Mills.
With American Justin Gatlin a clear leader of the world rankings at both 100m (9.74 seconds) and 200m (19.57sec), Bolt desperately needs to rediscover a measure of the form that took him to his second set of Olympic 100m, 200m and 4 x 100m relay golds three years ago. He has only run one 100m race this year and stands joint 60th in the world rankings courtesy of the modest 10.12 sec that he clocked in winning a challenge event on a specially constructed track at the Rio de Janeiro Jockey Club on April 19.
Bolt, the 100m and 200m world record holder and reigning world champion, has been reported in the Jamaican press to have been “going well” at his European training base at Brunel University in west London but he faces not one but two tests on his comeback, with heats on the schedule at the Olympic Stadium. The 100m field includes his fellow Jamaicans, the 2013 World Championship bronze medallist Nesta Carter and Commonwealth champion Kemar Bailey-Cole, as well as veteran American Mike Rodgers, European 100m champion James Dasaolu of Britain, and Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut, who equalled Francis Obikwelu’s European 100m record of 9.86sec in Paris on July 4.