Bolt out to silence Gatlin

2013-08-09 10:06
Usain Bolt (AFP)

Moscow - Usain Bolt may have been robbed of the chance of regaining his 100m world title by defeating injured compatriot and champion Yohan Blake but there will be motivation enough when the heats get underway on Saturday.

The 26-year-old, who saw fellow Jamaican and training partner Blake triumph in 2011 after he was disqualified for a false start, has what looks like a much easier task of reclaiming his title in Moscow with main American rival Tyson Gay, the second fastest sprinter in history, also out after failing a dope test.

Bolt, who restamped his authority on the event in retaining his Olympic title last year, has eased himself into the championships with nothing too spectacular but then he has usually reserved his eye-catching exploits for the big finals.

Quite aside from wanting to regain his title he will also be keen to put American Justin Gatlin in his place.

Apart from Gatlin having narrowly escaped a life ban after two positive drugs tests, the 31-year-old American, who took bronze in the Olympics, gets under the Jamaican's skin seemingly more than any of his other rivals.

Indeed Gatlin, who achieved the world sprint double in 2005 a year before he failed his second dope test, has been described as "annoying" by Bolt, although the Jamaican insists that he doesn't concern himself with individuals.

All the same, prior to the Rome Diamond League meeting, he did criticise the American.

"Over the years I guess there are many things people could say about Justin Gatlin," he said.

"He's (Gatlin) already said a lot."

Gatlin had the last laugh in Rome when he Bolt.

Bolt, who will also be deprived of having close friend Asafa Powell in Moscow after the former world record holder also failed a drugs test, is looking to leave the championships with another three golds to add to the 11 already garnered at Olympic and world level.

"I want to keep winning every race that I compete in and the 100m and 200m finals in Moscow will be the biggest races for me this year," he said.

"It's why I'm working hard with my coach to give myself the chance to do that."

Aside from the usual concerns over his start he feels he is in the form to stand once again on the top of the podium.

"Of course I want to regain my world title," he said.

"Right now I'm in good shape, focused and feeling well, training hard and I'm ready."

Like it or not for Bolt, Gatlin will spearhead the American challenge in the absence of Gay.

Gatlin, who suffers from attention deficit disorder, has not let the Gay scandal distract him from his target of regaining the world title for himself.

"The show must go on," Gatlin said. "I think a lot of athletes think like that. Staying concentrated and winning for your country, that's what counts."

While those two look the likeliest contenders for the top two spots, an outsider - given his lack of experience at this level - for a medal could well be British sprinter James Dasaolu.

The 25-year-old, whose career since he took athletics up at 18 has been blighted by injury, declared himself a viable challenger when he won his semi-final at the national championships in July in 9.91, just shy of breaking Linford Christie's national record.

"Now I know I can line-up against other sub-10 sprinters and know I've gone just as quick as them," he said.

"It gives you confidence when you're running against a world-class field."

Read more on:    usain bolt  |  athletics

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