Sunday 19 November 2017

I never think of losing, says confident Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt
Usain Bolt

Guy Aspin

A PROUD Usain Bolt will carry the Jamaican flag at tonight's opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics adamant he is fit for the real business of retaining his titles.

The world's fastest man is relishing the honour of taking on the role of flag-bearer, one that will sit comfortably with a born showman.

"For my country I'll do anything," the 25-year-old Jamaican said.

A repeat of his record-breaking feats from Beijing four years ago, when he took gold in the 100 and 200 metres, would please his legions of fans back home.

A Games build-up dominated by injury doubts had tempered such lofty expectations, but, with eight days to go until the heats of the 100m, Bolt insists concern is unnecessary and he is "ready to go".

"I have been training great over the past two and a half weeks so everything is coming together," he said.

"I had slight problems but nothing too serious. I'm just focused on winning, at championships I never think of losing. I know my competitors, it's all about defending my titles.

"I'd definitely be disappointed if I didn't win. It's what I've worked for, it's been my focus for the last three years."

His primary focus over the last month has been recovering from a stiff back, which then affected his hamstrings.

Fitness concerns surrounding Bolt grew when he was beaten by training partner Yohan Blake in the 100m and 200m at the Jamaican trials last month before withdrawing from last week's Diamond League meeting in Monaco.

He was also conspicuous by his absence from the team's open training session at their pre-Games University of Birmingham base on Tuesday.

Those two defeats in the space of three days to his good friend and fierce rival Blake hinted at a possible changing of the guard.

After all, the 22-year-old, dubbed 'The Beast' because of his prodigious work ethic, took Bolt's 100m world title last year after the favourite false-started in Daegu.

He ran 9.75 seconds to win the 100m at the trials, some way off Bolt's world record of 9.58 secs but still quick enough to make him the fourth fastest man in history, while he clocked the second fastest 200m of all time last autumn.

But Bolt has been there, done it and got the gold medals and is confident he will rise to the big occasion again.

He said: "It's always a wake-up call to get beaten. It made me open my eyes and rethink a few things. But I'm all right now.

"I am always ready, for me I keep saying it's always about the championships, it's never about one run, never about the trials."

Fellow sprinter Asafa Powell also struggled at the trials, finishing third, but he too claims he is over the groin injury which has been troubling him.

"I'll be ready,'' he said. I've been training for the last week and a half. I'm feeling good so I'll be ready.''

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