PARIS (AFP) – Jamaican athletics legend Usain Bolt will line-up in the 100 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Paris on July 4, the organisers announced on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old six-time Olympic champion – who is also the world record holder in both the 100 and 200 metres — missed last year’s meeting because of injury and will vie with France’s pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie for top billing.
“It is an extremely important image because Bolt attracts non athletics oriented spectators (generally he can add 10-15,000 extra spectators),” French athletics federation president and head of the organisers Bernard Amsalem told AFP.
“And we will have two Bolts in Paris, the original one and then the French version in Lavillenie.”
Amsalem said that they had managed to lure Bolt to run only his third ever 100m on the Stade de France track – his first since 2010 as he has run two 200m in the interim – after liaising with other meet directors.
“We arranged this with the other Diamond League meetings, as we are all friends,” said Amsalem.
“We have regained the 100m which was originally scheduled for the Lausanne meeting and they have taken instead the 200m.”
Bolt, who was only able to compete in four races last year, is set to begin his season – which will climax with the world outdoor championships in Beijing from August 22-30 where he defends his 100 and 200m titles – this Friday over 400m in Kingston, Jamaica.