Wednesday 18 October 2017

Bolt backed to hit full stride in time for Games

Guy Aspin

Usain Bolt will be 100pc fit when the 100m heats get under way at the London Olympics in 10 days' time, Jamaican team officials insisted yesterday.

The world's fastest man was conspicuous by his absence from the team's open training session at the University of Birmingham.

Doubts over the defending champion's fitness have intensified since he was beaten by training partner Yohan Blake over 100m and 200m at the Jamaican Olympic trials at the end of June, and he withdrew from last Friday's Diamond League meeting in Monaco with a hamstring problem.

Fellow sprint star Asafa Powell was also missing from yesterday's training session, leaving some of the team's less heralded names to entertain the crowd of schoolchildren and students.

Jamaican team manager Ludlow Watts said: "By the time he gets to the Olympics, Bolt will be competition fit. I believe that he's adequately prepared.

"I am not aware of any niggles at the moment. I believe he's okay."

Don Quarrie, the technical athletics manager, added: "He's 101pc, he's ready. He has been working on the track here. His performances have been close to what he was doing in 2008 before the Olympics. That tells me he'll be ready to run in London."

A repeat of the sensation Bolt caused in Beijing, when he broke the 100m and 200m world records in taking double gold, is what organisers and spectators are hoping for, but, despite Quarrie's assurances, his performances this summer have suggested that is far from guaranteed.

He is ranked second in the world behind Blake in both events, with season bests of 9.76 secs and 19.83 secs. Four years ago he went into the Games with runs of 9.72 secs and 19.67 secs under his belt. His showdown with training partner Blake is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated head-to-head clash of the Games.

The pair, both members of the Racers Track Club in Kingston, have been training alongside each other at the University of Birmingham track at the team's training camp.

Blake ran 9.75 secs and 19.80 secs at the Jamaican trials.

But Jamaica men's team captain Michael Frater still fancies the main man to come out on top when it matters. Asked who he thought would win the 100m, Frater, a member of the sprint relay team which will be red hot favourites for gold, said: "Usain Bolt is something phenomenal. I wouldn't bet against him."

Irish Independent

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