NEW YORK. – Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt is eager to reassert his supremacy following an injury-plagued season in which American Justin Gatlin took over as the number one ranked sprinter.Â âI felt like Iâd retired, the way people were talking about Justin Gatlin,â Bolt said with a laugh on Tuesday at the launch of Pumaâs Ignite line of running shoes.
âI found it to be funny. Like wow, Iâm one season out and itâs like I retired.â
Bolt proclaimed himself fit for the new season, which peaks at the August 22-30 world championships in Beijing on the way to the 2016 Rio Olympics, and said he hoped to resume his record-setting ways.
A relaxed Bolt, who has ruled the 100 and 200 metres in the Olympics since 2008 and holds both world records, said Gatlin just kept his seat warm.
âJustin Gatlin did well, he kept the sport exciting,â the Jamaican said.
âHe kept people wanting to see us compete. For me itâs OK, and Iâm always looking forward to competition.â
Bolt (28) is scheduled to open his 2015 campaign with a 400 metres in Jamaica at Saturdayâs Camperdown Classic, but did not sound keen. âIâm trying to get out of it,â said Bolt, who finds the 400 to be a chore to run.
Bolt wants to focus on the 100 and 200.
âOne of my biggest goals is to go sub-19,â Bolt said about the 200 metres and his world record of 19,19 seconds. âThatâs one thing I want to accomplish before I retire so Iâm pushing myself. Iâm working hard and weâll see what happens.â
Bolt, who also added relay gold to his 100 and 200 Olympic sweeps in Beijing and London, is aiming for a mind-boggling triple Olympic triple. âJust adding to my accolades,â he said. âThatâs the key thing. You can only keep making yourself greater by adding great moments.â
Bolt would not venture to rank himself among the greatest athletes over the decades including Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and Michael Phelps.
âWhen youâve done great things, then people say heâs one of the greatest. All you can do is add to your greatness until itâs time to leave the sport.â
Bolt said his career finish line would come at the 2017 worlds. âThey convinced me to go one more year but they wonât convince me to do any more,â said Bolt. âDefinitely in 2017 Iâll stop.â – Reuters.
Meanwhile, Bolt will line-up in the 100 metres at the Diamond League meeting in Paris on July 4, the organisers announced yesterday.
The 28-year-old six-time Olympic champion – who is also the world record holder in both the 100 and 200 metres – missed last yearâs meeting because of injury and will vie with Franceâs pole vault world record holder Renaud Lavillenie for top billing.
âIt is an extremely important image because Bolt attracts non athletics oriented spectators (generally he can add 10-15,000 extra spectators),â French athletics federation president and head of the organisers Bernard Amsalem said.
âAnd we will have two Bolts in Paris, the original one and then the French version in Lavillenie.â
Amsalem said that they had managed to lure Bolt to run only his third ever 100 metres on the Stade de France track – his first since 2010 as he has run two 200 metres in the interim – after liaising with other meet directors.
âWe arranged this with the other Diamond League meetings, as we are all friends,â said Amsalem.
âWe have regained the 100 metres which was originally scheduled for the Lausanne meeting and they have taken instead the 200m.â
Bolt, who was only able to compete in four races last year, is set to begin his season – which will climax with the world outdoor championships in Beijing from August 22-30 where he defends his 100 and 200 metre titles – this Friday over 400 metres in Kingston, Jamaica. – Reuters.