Bolt tar­gets 12th world ti­tle in Lon­don 100m

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

LON­DON: A 12th world ti­tle beck­ons for Ja­maican sprint star Usain Bolt when he takes to the track in Lon­don yes­ter­day to de­fend his 100m crown. Bolt, 30, will bring down the cur­tain on his glit­ter­ing ca­reer at the end of this sea­son, leav­ing a gap­ing hole at the heart of track and field built as much around his charis­matic per­son­al­ity as his ac­co­lades. And his tro­phy haul is noth­ing short of mirac­u­lous: 11 world and eight Olympic gold medals, 13 of which have come in in­di­vid­ual events. Apart from a false start in the 100m at the Daegu world cham­pi­onships in 2011, Bolt has made the blue riband event his own since win­ning at the Bei­jing Olympics in 2008.

His world-record set­ting vic­tory at the Berlin champs a year later was the first of three world wins along with Moscow 2013 and Bei­jing 2015, pep­pered by Olympic golds in Lon­don 2012 and Rio 2016. “You won’t be par­tic­u­larly sur­prised when I say I’m sad he’s go­ing,” IAAF pres­i­dent Se­bas­tian Coe said this week. “I’m an ath­let­ics fan, I take my fed­er­a­tion hat off, the guy has been a sen­sa­tion.”

Bolt was made to work in Fri­day’s first round, blam­ing the “worst ever” start­ing blocks for a botched open­ing half be­fore he turned on the af­ter­burn­ers to set­tle ev­ery­one’s nerves. “That was very bad,” Bolt said. “I’m not fond of th­ese blocks. “I have to get this start to­gether be­cause I can’t keep do­ing this. It’s shaky.”

Bolt will race in the third and fi­nal semi-fi­nal, sched­uled at 1819 GMT, with the fi­nal slated for 2045 GMT. The Ja­maican will be up against Amer­i­can Chris­tian Cole­man, the world’s fastest over 100m this year with 9.82sec, in his semi­fi­nal. But he avoids Cole­man’s vet­eran team­mate and his arch-ri­val Justin Gatlin, who races in the first semi along­side Bolt’s com­pa­triot Ju­lian Forte, the sole sprinter to dip un­der 10sec in qual­i­fi­ca­tion with a 9.99. Gatlin was af­forded a rough re­cep­tion on Fri­day, loud boos and jeer­ing ring­ing around the same sta­dium where in 2012, his ri­valry with Bolt was pre­sented as ‘good against evil’, given the Amer­i­can’s dop­ing­tainted past. Gatlin, the last man to beat Bolt over 100m-by a hun­dredth of a sec­ond in Rome in 2013 — said he was fo­cused on him­self. “I’m not wor­ried about the crowds. I just fo­cus on my start and my race,” said Gatlin, sil­ver medal­list be­hind Bolt at the last two world champs, hav­ing also picked up a sil­ver and bronze at the last two Olympics to go with his 2004 gold.

In eight in­di­vid­ual fi­nals at the past four worlds (as well as in four 4x100m re­lay fi­nals), Bolt has only suf­fered one that one hic­cup in Daegu and it would be a brave per­son to bet against the Ja­maican adding to his hon­ours. Even Gatlin con­ceded that “Bolt looks good”.

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