BOLT WANTS TO GO OUT ‘UN­BEAT­ABLE’

Ja­maican full of con­fi­dence

New Straits Times - - Sport -

USAIN Bolt is con­fi­dent he can pro­duce one more mag­i­cal Mi­das touch when he seeks to de­fend his 100m ti­tle at the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships.

In eight in­di­vid­ual fi­nals at the past four worlds (as well as in four 4x100m re­lay fi­nals, Bolt has only suf­fered one hic­cup: when he false started in the 100m fi­nal in Daegu in 2011.

Eleven world ti­tles to go along with eight Olympic golds: Bolt has the ex­pe­ri­ence of deal­ing with multi-round big-event rac­ing.

It would be a brave per­son to bet against the 30-year-old Ja­maican, no mat­ter how slug­gish, rel­a­tively speak­ing, his sea­son has been so far.

He has had only three out­ings, all over 100m, and only once dipped un­der the 10-sec­ond bar­rier, in Monaco last month (9.95sec).

“If I show up at a cham­pi­onships, I’m fully con­fi­dent,” Bolt main­tained.

“My coach (Glen Mills) is con­fi­dent and I’m ready to go. I’m fully con­fi­dent, 100 per­cent.”

Whilst la­belling him­self “for some rea­son, the un­der­dog,” Bolt fired out a warn­ing shot at po­ten­tial ri­vals by say­ing he wanted to bring the cur­tain down on his in­di­vid­ual ex­ploits as a sprinter who was “un­beat­able, un­stop­pable.”

Bolt suf­fered a rare de­feat in the 100m by two-time dop­ing cheat Justin Gatlin at the Rome Di­a­mond League meet in 2013, los­ing out by a hun­dredth of a sec­ond.

The multi-medalled Amer­i­can, now 35, will be in the field in the Bri­tish cap­i­tal and a nailed-down con­tender for a podium place.

Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m gold medal­list and 2005 world cham­pion be­fore serv­ing a ban be­tween 2006-10, won sil­vers be­hind Bolt in Bei­jing in 2015 and Moscow two years pre­vi­ously, and last year be­came the old­est man to win a 100m Olympic medal when he took sil­ver in Rio, also be­hind his Ja­maican neme­sis.

Bolt’s team­mate Yo­han Blake, world 100m cham­pion in 2011 af­ter the false start, and Gatlin’s com­pa­triot Chris­tian Cole­man, who has the sea­son’s fastest time of 9.82sec, should be in the run­ning.

Bolt’s path to vic­tory was given a boost Wed­nes­day when Cana­dian sprinter An­dre De Grasse with­drew from the Worlds with a ham­string in­jury he suf­fered in train­ing. De Grasse was a medal threat in the 100m and 200m.

South African Akani Sim­bine and French­man Jimmy Vi­caut all have a re­al­is­tic chance of bag­ging a medal should they safely ne­go­ti­ate heats and keep enough in re­serve from to­day’s heats for to­mor­row’s semi-fi­nal and fi­nal.

“I love com­pe­ti­tion, I thrive on com­pe­ti­tion and I want peo­ple to run fast to push me,” warned Bolt, who set the cur­rent world record of 9.58sec when he won world gold in Ber­lin in 2009, his win­ning times in the last two cham­pi­onships be­ing 9.79 and 9.77 re­spec­tively.

“I’m the un­der­dog, for some rea­son,” Bolt said. “That’s what I keep read­ing. That’s what my team keeps telling me... I’ve got to prove my­self once more.

“My last race was 9.95, which shows I’m go­ing in the right di­rec­tion. The two rounds (of heats and semi-fi­nals) al­ways help me. I’m al­ways go­ing for­ward.

“At a cham­pi­onships it’s about who keeps their nerve. I’ve been here be­fore. It’s time to go. It’s ‘go’ time.” AFP

If I show up ata cham­pi­onships, I’m fully con­fi­dent.

AFP PIC

Usain Bolt seeks to round off his glit­ter­ing in­di­vid­ual track ca­reer with the de­fence of his world 100m ti­tle.

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