Christian Olsson injury mars DN Gala track meet

Christian Olsson injury mars DN Gala track meet
A thigh muscle injury to Christian Olsson, the defending Olympic triple jump champion, soured the DN Gala for Swedish fans on Tuesday. The injury means Olsson misses out on Beijing and leaves his career hanging in the balance.

Christian Olsson made his return to competition after a year out and posted a respectable effort of 17 metres in his second jump to finishing third in the triple jump tournament.

Olsson however pulled up in his fourth jump and later confirmed what all Swedish fans had been fearing – that his troublesome thigh muscle had not stood the test of high-level competition.

“The Olympics are gone, the whole season is gone,” he told Sveriges Radio, hinting that he may well be forced to retire from the sport.

“I will have to think long and hard. I have done everything right and worked hard to get back into competition. Just at the moment it doesn’t seem my body is able to compete at the highest level. It is the same injury in the same place for the fifth/sixth time,” Olsson said after the DN Gala.

Meanwhile, Swedish high jumper Stefan Holm looked in good form as he won his event and looked confident as he prepared to defend his Olympic title in Beijing.

Holm won his event with a jump of 2.30 metres with fellow Swede Linus Thörnblad in second place.

“It was nice to win as I have felt stiff and weak all day,” said Holm to Sveriges Television after his win.

Hurdles hope Susanna Kallur was also suffering from injury concerns and pulled out of her event after feeling a muscle in the back of her thigh during the warm up.

“Nothing happened really, I felt a tightening in the back of my leg when I put on my spikes. It was a cautionary decision,” Kallur said to Sveriges Television.

“I probably could have run the race. But if something had happened I would never have forgiven myself. I want to go to Beijing!” Kallur declared.

Mustafa Mohamed showed in a brave performance in the 3000 metre steeple-chase that he is in good form to challenge for a final place in Beijing. Mohamed came in third in a time of 8.14.37.

The darling of Swedish athletics, Carolina Kluft, was unable to get close to the magic seven metre mark and came in third with a respectable 6.71 metres. Portugal’s Naide Gomes won the event with a jump of 7.04 metres.

Elsewhere the highlight of the evening was the clash between the Jamaican sprinters Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell in the 100 metres.

Usain Bolt is the world record holder with a time of 9.72 seconds set in May when he beat Powell’s previous best of 9.74 seconds. The DN Gala in Stockholm gave Powell the chance to gain some revenge and he took his opportunity.

Bolt made an appalling start and Powell came out of the blocks with a clear lead. Bolt came back strong though in the later stages of the race and pushed Powell all the way to the line. 25-year-old Powell held on to win in 9.88 seconds with 21-year-old Bolt runner-up in 9.89 seconds.

Their duel was the most eagerly awaited event of the evening and is sure to captivate audiences in Beijing.

Other notable performances in Stockholm on Tuesday included Ethiopia’s women’s Olympic 5000m champion Meseret Defar who failed by just under a second to break compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba’s world record, recording a time of 14min 12.32sec.

Cuba’s 110m hurdles world record holder Dayron Robles maintained his impressive set of performances this season by easing home in 12.91sec, well ahead of US champion David Oliver and establishing his credentials as favourite for the gold medal in Beijing.