Bolt seeks sub-20 200m and Chicherova takes on Vlasic in Oslo

Usain Bolt looks to bounce back from 100m defeat in Rome by dominating the half-lap distance, while Anna Chicherova faces Blanka Vlasic in the high jump

Usain Bolt Oslo 2012 (Mark Shearman)

Earlier this year Usain Bolt described his 200m outing at the Bislett Games as “an important stepping stone” en route to his goal of a World Championships triple in Moscow in August.

And although the Jamaican six-time Olympic champion suffered only his fourth career defeat over the shorter sprint at last week’s Diamond League meeting in Eugene, he believes he’s in shape to run sub-20 in what will be his first 200m of the year at the Oslo leg of the Diamond League series on Thursday.

Speaking at one of the event’s official press conferences, the 26-year-old said he’s feeling ‘pretty good’, explaining: “It’s all about the execution.”

He continued: “I’m really happy with how I’m feeling, I just need more races under my belt.”

Bolt, who holds the world record with 19.19 and will be competing in Oslo for the third consecutive year, ran the 200m in 19.87 seconds at Bislett in 2011, a time just a few hundredths of a second behind the current stadium record of 19.82 set in 1996 by Namibia’s former World 200m champion Frank Fredericks.

In 2012 he set a new stadium best of 9.79 in the 100m in Oslo and on Thursday anything under 20 seconds should be enough to see the Jamaican ahead of a field which includes local Norwegian favourite Jaysuma Saidy Ndure, European 200m champion Churandy Martina and USA’s Curtis Mitchell, as well as British sprinters James Ellington and Danny Talbot.

Chicherova vs. Vlasic as Kipruto faces Kemboi

Generally, the fields are a little weaker than for the first five meetings in this year’s Diamond League, particularly due to the US Trials beginning just seven days later. However, another exciting clash comes in the field, as Russia’s Olympic and world champion Anna Chicherova will go up against Croatia’s returning two-time world champion Blanka Vlasic in the high jump.

Another clash, although hopefully not a physical one this time, comes in the 3000m steeplechase as new prospect Conseslus Kipruto squares off with Olympic champion Ezekiel Kemboi once again, with Kemboi having been disqualified at the beginning of the month after the pair’s home-straight collision in Eugene.

Shakes-Drayton and Proctor among Brits in action

Double European indoor champion Perri Shakes-Drayton will be looking to build on her 400m hurdles season’s debut in New York when she takes to the track in Oslo. The 24-year-old, who was named captain for the forthcoming European Team Championships on Wednesday where she will switch back to the flat, will be seeking her best in a race that includes the in-form Zuzana Hejnova.

Tiffany Porter goes in the 100m hurdles, while in the long jump, Shara Proctor, will be challenging for her first Diamond League win and triple jump action will see Yamile Aldama look to turn around her fortunes this season.

In a meeting that annually features a high volume of Brits, Martyn Rooney and Nigel Levine will go in the 400m while a number of their compatriots feature in the national events, including Anyika Onuora, who is stepping up to take on the 400m, and Joe Thomas and Gareth Warburton who will contest the 800m.

Elsewhere, after ending Robert Harting’s long winning streak with a 71.84m that took him to fifth on the all- time list last week, Poland’s Piotr Malachowski is in action in the discus, while Murielle Ahoure, who beat Allyson Felix in the 200m in Rome, heads the entries in the shorter sprint. Highly decorated distance runner Meseret Defar returns to Oslo to contest the 5000m as the historic ExxonMobil “Dream Mile” features four of the top six 1500m athletes in the world this year.

» The Oslo leg of the Diamond League series will be shown from 19:00-21:00 on BBC Three and the BBC Sport website. You can find full startlists here

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