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Usain Bolt set for big Euro bonuses

25 August 2008

European meeting organisers are prepared to increase their cash and appearance fees if track and field's newest great, Usain Bolt can match or better his breathtaking performances from the Beijing Olympics.

Bolt racked up two individual gold medals in world record fashion in both the 100m and 200m to thrill fans inside the Bird's Nest Stadium in the last seven days.

The 22-year-old also collected gold and another world record as a member of the Jamaican quartet that lowered a 15-year-old world record in the 4x100m relays.

Following the Olympics, Bolt is set to compete in the 100m at the Weltklasse meet in Zurich, Switzerland next Friday as well as at the 2008 Athletissima meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland on September 2, where he is scheduled to run the 200m.

He currently holds the 100m record, at 9.69 seconds and 200m world best, with 19.30 seconds, both of which were achieved at the Olympics. But he stands to collect kilograms of gold and prize money worth over $100,000 if he can better his records from Beijing.

The 100m world record has been equalled or bettered on three previous occasions at the Weltklasse meeting and meet director Patrick Magyar believes Bolt can increase the number.

"I still think he has the potential to improve the 100 by quite a bit to get it to the same level he is running the 200," Magyar was quoted as saying on Thursday. "There is, of course, a very nice bonus available if you run a world record in Zurich."

A packed stadium is anticipated for the Super Grand Prix status meeting in Lausanne and the organisers are ready to pay Bolt more for his appearance.

"In the contract, with the two world records, maybe we can pay $30,000 more," Athletissima spokesman Pierre-Andre Pasche was quoted as saying on Thursday. "For us it is very important.

"He is the superstar of the Olympic Games and we expect to fill all the stadium with people coming to see Usain Bolt," he added.

For the Zurich meeting, the directors have scheduled a rematch between Bolt and the two other medallists, Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago and American Walter Dix.

At the Letzigrund stadium, he will face Americans Xavier Carter, the stadium record holder, at 19.63 and Wallace Spearmon, a bronze medallist at the World Championships in Osaka, who also crossed the finishing line third in Beijing, prior to being disqualified for a lane infringement.

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