Athletics: Bolt makes surprise relay start to season

World 100 and 200-metre record holder Usain Bolt (above, in a photo from his Facebook page) made a surprise 2015 season debut Saturday, running the anchor leg in a 4x100 relay heat victory at the Gibson Relays. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK
World 100 and 200-metre record holder Usain Bolt (above, in a photo from his Facebook page) made a surprise 2015 season debut Saturday, running the anchor leg in a 4x100 relay heat victory at the Gibson Relays. -- PHOTO: FACEBOOK

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AFP) - World 100 and 200-metre record holder Usain Bolt made a surprise 2015 season debut Saturday, running the anchor leg in a 4x100 relay heat victory at the Gibson Relays.

Bolt appeared to run with ease as he took the baton from world and Olympic 200m medallist Warren Weir and brought home the victory for the Racers Lions foursome in 39.26 seconds.

Mario Forsythe ran the lead leg while Michael Frater ran the second leg in the preliminary heat at Jamaica's National Stadium in Kingston.

"For me this was a good run. It was a good blow out in the early morning," Bolt said of his first race on local soil in the past two years.

The 28-year-old sprint star had skipped the Camperdown Classic earlier in February in what had been expected to be his season opener.

Bolt set world records of 9.58 seconds in the 100 and 19.19 in the 200 at Berlin in 2009 and also helped Jamaica's 4x100 relay to a world record.

The eight-time world champion is a reigning Olympic champion in the 100, 200 and 4x100 relay, having swept all three events at the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Games.

And Bolt is excited about the prospects for success in a return to Beijing in six months for the world championships at the same Bird's Nest Stadium where he swept three gold medals in world-record times seven years ago.

"I think I have set the bar high in Beijing, so I am excited to go back to surpass that feat," Bolt said.

Bolt said his coach, Glen Mills, is pleased with his progress towards peaking at the worlds.

"My coach is happy with where I am at now," Bolt said. "We just started a little speed work... I don't know where we are going from here, back to speed endurance or continue speed work.

"The key thing about this season is to try and stay injury free."