RALEIGH North Carolina (Reuters) - Usain Bolt will return to Rio de Janeiro next month to run a special 100 meters on the beach, he said on his website on Sunday, but the Jamaican world record holder is now unlikely to race against Justin Gatlin this year.
The six times Olympic gold medalist added the Aug 17 “Mano a Mano” 100m on Copacabana Beach to three previously announced races in what he said was his finalised schedule for 2014.
Bolt streaked to victory in a 150m race at the famous beach in March 2013 on a track specially built for the event.
He has delayed opening his season this year because of a foot injury and will start with a 4x100 meters relay with his Jamaican team mates at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on Aug 1-2.
The eight-times world champion will also run 100m races in Warsaw, Poland on Aug 23 and at the Zurich Diamond League meeting on Aug 28.
The schedule, unless amended, means Bolt and U.S. world silver medalist Gatlin, who is undefeated this year, are unlikely to meet before 2015.
Gatlin, who returned from a four-year doping ban in 2010, will not receive an invitation to race against Bolt in Zurich because of the Swiss meeting’s “policy to not invite athletes that have been banned for two years or more”, meeting director Patrick Magyar told Reuters via email.
While the 100 meters race in Zurich is not part of the Diamond League series of events, the 200 meters race at the same meeting will be.
Gatlin could therefore still race in the longer event, because it is governed by Diamond League rules.
“If Gatlin is, by the time of Zurich, in the top three of the Diamond Race (for the 200), we will invite him for the 200m, which is our Diamond Race event,” Magyar said.
Gatlin, who has won 11 consecutive 100 meters and two races at 200m this year, is currently tied for fourth in the Diamond League standings for the 200m despite running the year’s fastest time at last week’s Monaco meeting.
Fellow American Tyson Gay, who recently completed a one-year doping ban, already is confirmed for the 200m, Magyar said.
Editing by Nick Mulvenney