Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo and Usain Bolt together in Manchester

Usain Bolt will race on a specially constructed tartan track in the city centre as part of the inaugural 'Great CityGames' in Manchester on May 17.

The race, which will be the Jamaican's first in Europe this year, will pit him against leading British sprinters and several overseas stars yet to be announced, but Chambers, the European indoor 60m record-holder, once again finds himself left out in the cold.

A spokesman for the event organisers, Nova International, said: "We've decided not to invite Dwain to compete. We're working on the basis that Manchester in May and future races or this type are about helping British athletes prepare for London 2012 against world-class opposition.

"Because he has accepted he won't be in London in 2012 because of his ban, we want to put in Brits who have the potential to represent the country in three and half years' time."

Bolt, who ran a wind-assisted 9.93 sec in his first 100m of the year last week, said he was eager to experience the new concept of street athletics, which had a successful trial run on the Newcastle and Gateshead quayside last autumn as a prelude to the Great North Run.

He said: "I am very excited to compete for my first time in Manchester, my first time in a 150m race and my first time in a street race outside the stadium.

"I love competing in the UK. It is like my second home as I usually stay in London during the European racing season. When I heard about the idea I thought it would be great fun and something new and exciting."

His trip will also give him the chance to indulge his love of Manchester United and to hold a sprint coaching session with his favourite player, Cristiano Ronaldo.

His presence in the race, which will take place over a straight rather than a bend, is a considerable coup for the organisers, who have also signed up Ethiopian marathon world-holder Haile Gebrselassie to compete in the Bupa Great Manchester Run earlier in the day.

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