Bolt bids for dashing departure
LONDON — Sprint superstar Usain Bolt will seek a final golden hurrah when he takes to the track at the IAAF World Championships, which begin on Friday in London.
Bolt has dominated sprinting since taking double individual gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, going on to win a further six Olympic golds and also picking up 11 world titles.
World records of 9.58 and 19.19sec in the 100 and 200m at the 2009 Berlin worlds were followed by the towering Jamaican winning consecutive world golds in the 100, 200 and 4x100m relay in 2011, 2013 and 2015, with the exception of a false start in the 100m in Daegu in 2011.
The 30-year-old scored triple gold at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics in London and Rio, his sole hiccup being stripped of his 2008 Olympic relay gold after teammate Nesta Carter failed a drugs test.
It is a staggering tally for a track athlete who has admit- ted he wants to go out on a high as athletics seeks to turn a new page.
“My main aim is just to win (in London). I just want to retire on a winning note,” Bolt said recently in Monaco, where he won the 100m in 9.95sec, dipping under the 10sec barrier after two sluggish outings in Kingston and Ostrava.
Bolt has opted not to defend his 200m world title, so he will not face South Africa’s Wayde van Niekerk, the man Bolt has tipped to be athletics’ next superstar.
“That’s one of the most disappointing things in my career now,” he said. “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.”
World and Olympic 400m champion Van Niekerk, who will attempt an audacious 200-400m double in London, added: “Usain has been a massive inspiration.
“But I’ve still got quite a long way to go before I even get close to the heights that Usain has reached.”
British distance-running legend Mo Farah, on an unbroken streak of nine global final wins (the 5,000m in 2011, and the 5/10km double in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016), will again compete, but the host will be without retired heptathlon great Jessica Ennis-Hill and reigning world long-jump champion Chris Rutherford, who is injured.
Usain Bolt will retire after this month’s world championships.