International Athletics

Fearless Bolt says will silence Gatlin

2015-06-12 07:55
Usain Bolt (Supplied)

New York - Usain Bolt says he is not yet ready for a duel with Justin Gatlin but is looking forward to silencing the confident American in a Beijing sprint "explosion" at the world championships in August.

While the Jamaican has eased into the season after an injury-disrupted 2014, Gatlin has set the fastest times of the year in both sprints and declared himself the "man to beat".

"Gatlin has been doing a lot of talking, saying a lot of things," Bolt said with a chuckle in an interview on Thursday ahead of the adidas Grand Prix at Randall's Island.

"He's proved he's running fast times and he's ready. So it should be exciting going into the world championship.

"I look forward to competing when people talk ... because if you don't back it up you look really stupid."

Gatlin, who has served two doping bans, last month ran the fastest 100 metres of 2015 (9.74 seconds) in Doha and a season-leading 19.68 in the 200 in Eugene 15 days later.

Bolt, who retains the world record in both events (9.58 and 19.19), is running only the 200 on Saturday as he continues to frustrate track fans eager to see how he would measure up on the track against Gatlin.

The Jamaican, looking slender in a black suit and dark blue shirt outside a reception at Nasdaq headquarters, said his race selection was nothing to do with fear of any other athlete.

"Afraid? When people say that, I laugh. I've been in the sport for years and I've never dodged anybody. When it matters, I've always showed up and shown that I'm the best," Bolt said.

"Fact is, I'm not in the best of shape and I'm not going to put myself out there if I know I'm just coming back and I need time to get back to where I need to be.

"When I get to Beijing I'll be ready to go and that's when the showdown will be."

Bolt said the suspense of how the sprinters shaped up against one another could help build interest in the world championships.

"People can look forward to the championship. What's going to happen?" he said.

"Justin is running good, Tyson (Gay) is running good, Asafa (Powell) is running good, Usain is running good.

"So when we come to the championship, it's going to be like an explosion."

Bolt is returning to race in New York for the first time since setting his first jaw-dropping 100 metres world record at the meet in 2008, presaging his spectacular sprint double at the Beijing Olympics later that year.

"That night was exciting. It was a big showdown between me and Tyson at the time," he recounted.

"There was a thunderstorm. There were stops and starts ... a false start.

"Just a weird night overall. But in the end it worked out. It was amazing.

"For me, that was when it really started. That's when I really blew up. People really took note. Everybody around the world started to watch. For me, it was a game changer."

Bolt said his return to New York seven years later as the established king of sprinting provided a different script.

"I'm just trying to get to the world championships, defend my titles, stay injury free and then go on to the Olympics and just continue writing my name in stone of greatness," he said.

Read more on:    usain bolt  |  athletics

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

How much of a runner are you?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.