Rome

Athletics: Bolt pays homage to Mennea

World's fastest man honored to take part in Rome event

Athletics: Bolt pays homage to Mennea

Rome, June 4 - The world's fastest man Usain Bolt on Tuesday paid tribute to late Italian sprinter Pietro Mennea before Thursday's Golden Gala, which will be devoted to the former Olympic champion. Mennea, who won the 200 metres - Bolt's favourite event - at the 1980 Moscow Olympics and held the world record for the event for 17 years, lost a long battle with cancer in March at the age of 60. "I'm very pleased to participate in this Golden Gala dedicated to Mennea," Bolt told a press conference ahead of Thursday's meeting, which is part of the IAAF Diamond League. "Sports personalities bring honour on their countries, especially when they are great, and it's fantastic that Italy is honouring an athlete who gave it lustre. "I hope that when I retire, I'll be honoured by my Jamaican friends like you are doing now". Bolt, 26, has six Olympic sprint gold medals after winning the 100m and the 200m in Beijing in 2008 and in London last year and helping Jamaica win the 4x100m relay at both games. He is also the world record holder for the 100m and 200m. Bolt is taking part in the Golden Gala for the third time. Both of his previous visits to the Golden Gala were victorious. In 2011 he won the 100m with a time of 9.91 seconds and last year he wowed the crowd by coming home in 9.76. Bolt's 100m world record is 9.58, which he set when he won gold at the 2009 world championships in Berlin, where he also set a new best of 19.19 in the 200m. On Thursday he will take on a 100m featuring America's Olympic bronze medallist Justin Gatlin, former US champion Mike Rodgers, 2008 Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago and 2005 world championship silver medallist Michael Frater of Jamaica.

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