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Pearson & Bolt eye London reunion

2 April 2013

ATHLETICS: Sally Pearson is set to feature as part of an all-star cast including Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt when she returns to the scene of her Olympic triumph in July.

The duo are among several 2012 Olympic champions expected to compete at the London Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium.

The Diamond League meeting on July 26 and 27 will serve as part of preparations for August's world athletics championships in Moscow.

London's Daily Telegraph reported on Friday Bolt had agreed to compete on both days of the meet, though event organisers are yet to confirm his appearance.

The event should feature in Olympic 100m hurdle champion Pearson's European program as she builds towards her world title defence in Russia.

The 26-year-old has been forced to miss the Australian season, after a setback in her recovery from a hamstring injury ruled her out of next month's Melbourne World Challenge and national championships in Sydney.

Pearson will head to Europe in May.

Bolt's compatriot and sprint rival Yohan Blake is also reportedly set to compete in London, though the pair would not race each other in keeping with their policy of not facing off in meets other than major championships or Jamaican trials.

Kenya's 800m champion David Rudisha, American sprint ace Allyson Felix and British distance star Mo Farah are other Olympic champions linked to the event.

Bolt's appearance would mark the first time the Jamaican has competed in Britain in a non-Olympic event since 2009.

He has stayed away because under British law he would have had to pay tax on his lucrative endorsement earnings, but the British government recently announced a one-off exemption for overseas athletes taking part in the London meeting.

Meanwhile in Rio de Janeiro...

Bolt cruised to victory in a 150-metre race held at Rio's Copacabana beach on Sunday, timing 14.42 seconds.

The 26-year-old Bolt -- who won the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay in both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Games, fell short of improving on his own 150m world record -- 14.35 seconds in Manchester, England, in 2009.

Antiguan sprinter Daniel Bailey came in second on Sunday at 14.88 seconds, followed by Brazilian Bruno Lins at 14.91 and Ecuadoran Alex Quinonez at 15.90.

Bolt said he was happy with the result, calling it a "good start" to the season and saying he looked forward to returning to Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Some 3,000 spectators attended the event, at a track set up on a beach popular with tourists, eager to watch Bolt and the other sprinters compete in the rarely-raced distance.

After crossing the finish line, Bolt took off his shoes and hurled one of them into the stands. He later regretted the move when he felt how hot the track was and asked for a replacement.

Bolt had earlier played down fears over the Joao Havelange stadium, home to the Botafogo football club and due to host the track and field competition during the 2016 Games.

The stadium was indefinitely closed last week because of roof problems.

"The Olympic Games are in three years. That gives you enough time to solve everything. This type of problem happens the world over," Bolt said last week.

Turning to his goals for the 2016 Games, Bolt ruled out participating in the long jump -- saying "I'm very big and it could hurt my knees" -- while saying he would aim to compete in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay.

Organisers also laid on a daytime trip to a Brazilian favela (slum) for Bolt to meet disadvantaged children.

AAP & AFP