Bolt win­ning race against time

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

MONACO — Usain Bolt says he is over his early-sea­son set­backs and run­ning into form at the right time to sign off his ca­reer with two more gold medals at next month’s World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don.

Bolt la­bored to a 10.06 win­ning time in the 100m in the Czech Repub­lic last month and im­me­di­ately trav­eled to see his doc­tor, Hans-Wil­helm Mueller-Wohlfahrt, for treat­ment on the back is­sues that have trou­bled him for years.

The Ja­maican world-record holder will test his treated back in Fri­day’s Di­a­mond League meet in Monaco, which will be his last out­ing be­fore he de­fends his 100m ti­tle and then runs in the 4x100m re­lay at the world cham­pi­onships.

“I’m feel­ing good,” Bolt told a Monaco news con­fer­ence on Wednes­day, be­fore ex­plain­ing how the death of his close friend and former Bri­tish high jumper Ger­maine Ma­son in an April mo­tor­cy­cle ac­ci­dent had ham­pered his progress.

“The sea­son started off slow for me. I had a set­back af­ter my friend Ger­maine passed away. It kind of set me back a lit­tle bit,” Bolt said.

“I had some work to do so I’ve been a lit­tle be­hind sched- ule, but I’m train­ing well.

“I’m feel­ing much bet­ter over the last cou­ple of days be­cause I went to see my doc­tor in Ger­many and I’ve been train­ing good, so that’s a good sign, the weather’s great here so hope­fully on Fri­day it will be the same and I can per­form at my best.”

Bolt is un­likely to ever again match his best — the world record of 9.58 he set in 2009 — and the 30-year-old said he would be happy with any sub-10-sec­ond time as he seeks to find the speed he knows he’ll need on Aug 5.

“It’s just all about ex­e­cu­tion now, go­ing out there try­ing not to worry too much about time,” he said.

“It would be good to dip un­der 10 sec­onds, which will al­ways help the con­fi­dence.”

Bolt, with eight Olympic and 11 world cham­pi­onship gold medals and a host of world records to his name, said the time was right to re­tire, hav­ing achieved all his goals.

He laughed off the sug­ges- tion that he was run­ning scared of Wayde van Niek­erk and said he re­gret­ted that he was walk­ing away just as the South African 400m and — as of last month — 300m worl­drecord holder was be­com­ing the sport’s new­est star.

Bolt is look­ing to bring down the cur­tain on his glit­ter­ing ca­reer in style at the Au­gust 4-13 worlds.

“My main aim is just to win in Lon­don. I just want to re­tire on a win­ning note,” Bolt said.

He re­vealed he would not de­fend his 200m world ti­tle, mean­ing he will not race against Van Niek­erk, the ath­lete Bolt has tipped to take over as the next track-andfield su­per­star.

“I think that’s one of the most dis­ap­point­ing things in my ca­reer now,” said Bolt.

“He came along at this late stage and I didn’t get to com­pete against him, be­cause I think he’s one of the best now.”

Bolt was adamant there was lit­tle chance he would race again af­ter the world cham­pi­onships but ad­mit­ted he would likely stay in­volved with ath­let­ics.

“I’ve done ev­ery­thing that I pos­si­bly can in this sport,” he said.

A 46-mem­ber team will rep­re­sent China at next month’s World Ath­let­ics Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don, with sprint star Su Bing­tian, shot put medal hope­ful Gong Li­jiao and high jump ace Zhang Guowei all in­cluded.

While a medal looks out of the ques­tion, Su and Xie Zhenye will be hop­ing to break the Chi­nese record in the 100m, when all eyes will be on Ja­maican su­per­star Usain Bolt in his fi­nal event be­fore re­tir­ing.

Chi­nese podium hopes at the Aug 4-13 event will be pinned on the women’s shot put, race walk, long jump and triple jump.

Shot-put­ter Gong is hop­ing to go one bet­ter than her sil­ver at the 2015 worlds in Bei­jing, and has rea­son to be con­fi­dent fol­low­ing three wins in this sea­son’s IAAF Di­a­mond League.

Rio Olympic bronze medal­ist Dong Bin will aim for a medal in the men’s triple jump while Bei­jing worlds bronze medal­ist Wang Jianan will lead a three-man long-jump charge this time.

ERIC GAILLARD / REUTERS

Usain Bolt at a news con­fer­ence in Monaco.

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