Jamaican sprinter and world record-holder Usain Bolt will be bringing his sporting magic to a university running track in Birmingham as part of his preparations for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Bolt, who followed up his three gold medals in last year’s Beijing Olympics with an identical haul in last week’s World Championships in Berlin, will make use of the athletics track at the University of Birmingham.
The 6ft 5in 23-year-old smashed his own 100 metres and 200 metres world records in storming to victory in Germany and will be doing his last few weeks of preparation for the 2012 Games in Birmingham after the city council secured a deal for the Jamaican Track and Field team to base their training camp here.
Council leader Mike Whitby, who is also hopeful of securing the huge USA Track and Field team in Birmingham for 2012, travelled to the world championships in Berlin to finalise the deal.
The University of Birmingham, which played a part in the Jamaican negotiations, will make available its running track and weights facilities to Bolt and team-mates including fellow world medal winners Shelly-Ann Fraser, Kerron Stewart and Asafa Powell.
Zena Wooldridge, the university’s Director of Sport, said: “It’s tremendously exciting news that the world’s fastest man will prepare for the Olympics in Birmingham. It confirms our status as a great sporting city, and the university’s desire to support that. As a university, we are delighted to make our campus and facilities, including our track and other training facilities, available to the Jamaican team.
"Whilst the university has produced several home-grown Olympic athletes in recent years it’s a thrill to have a team with the global pedigree of Jamaica on campus.”
The Jamaican High Commissioner and leading members of Jamaican AAA visited the city and university facilities in April and July. Negotiations are continuing for the USA Track and Field team to also base its Olympic training camp in Birmingham.
Eight former students at the university have gone on to compete in the Olympics including three-time cycling medallist Paul Manning, sprinter Alison Curbishley and archer Naomi Folkard.