Bolt primed as world championships open

Aug 26, 2011, 8:18 a.m.
World record holder Usain Bolt of Jamaica poses after a news conference ahead of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu August 25, 2011. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won

By Ossian Shine

DAEGU, South Korea (Reuters) - Injury pull-outs and doping absentees have taken the sheen off the men's 100 meters race at the world athletics championships this year, but all that will be forgotten when Usain Bolt brings his sizzling charisma to the track on the opening day in Daegu Saturday.

The world's fastest man opens his campaign in the evening heats and is a strong favorite to retain his world title in a field stripped of the injured Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell. The final is Sunday.

The first medal of the championships will be determined in the stifling heat and humidity of a Korean summer morning when the women's marathon runners kick off the event.

Four years ago organizers in Osaka gave the women some respite with a very early start -- 0700 local time -- but this time round, climbing temperatures and 80 percent-plus humidity at 0900 are likely to be a factor.

Kenya's Edna Kiplagat has emerged as favorite for this event and certainly has the strength to triumph in the heat.

Allyson Felix is another highlight of the opening day as she kicks off her campaign for double gold with heats in the 400 meters.

Saturday's second and final gold medal will go to the winner of the women's 10,000 meters. Kenya's cross-country star Vivian Cheruiyot is expected to thrive in the conditions, but she is the slowest of the major contenders.

(Editing by Dave Thompson)

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