Bolt warns rival Blake

2011-11-12 14:48

Monaco - Usain Bolt gave a clear message to rival, friend and training partner Yohan Blake heading into the Olympics year - his 200 metres title is out of bounds in London.

Blake emerged as a serious threat to his Jamaican compatriot's sprint dominance when he won the world 100 metres title in Daegu in August, taking gold in a final that produced the most drama before the gun when Bolt was disqualified for a false start.

The 21-year-old Blake followed that up less than three weeks later with an eyebrow-raising run in Brussels - clocking the second fastest 200 metres of all time - his 19.26 seconds just seven hundredths of a second behind Bolt's world record of 19.19 set in 2009.

Olympic 100 and 200 champion Bolt said he had "gotten over the initial shock" of how quick Blake ran.

"Initially I was shocked because he's not really a great corner runner... but he's a great athlete and with great athletes you can expect anything," Bolt told a gaggle of reporters at a Monte Carlo hotel on Saturday.

Relaxing on a sofa and dressed casually in a white polo shirt and ripped light blue jeans, Bolt admitted, to much laughter, that his younger compatriot worked "a little harder" than he did.

Both sprinters are on a three-man shortlist from which the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will later on Saturday name their Athlete of the Year at a gala dinner in the principality.

"I've said this to Yohan, and to a lot of my friends, the 200 is my favourite and I won't let Yohan beat me over 200 metres," Bolt said.

"The 100 (metres) maybe, but I've worked hard to perfect that event (the 200) over the years so I've told him already I won't let it happen."

Their competitive rivalry, Bolt said, shone through in training, day in, day out.

"From the first time he walked into our camp he's been competing with me. Sometimes he beats me - it doesn't matter, it's only training. He's a really competitive person... I have to explain to him that he's got to relax sometimes.

"He's young and excited but fun to be around. We laugh every day, his personality is great and it's great to have him as a training partner."

Bolt atoned for his false start in Daegu by comfortably retaining his 200 title before anchoring the Jamaican 4x100m relay team to win gold in a world record time.

The 25-year-old returned to training three weeks ago at a "high intensity" level.

"Injury-wise I'm good," said Bolt, whose 2010 season was curtailed by injury which he said meant this year's campaign revolved around him "getting back into shape".

"No problems so far," he said. "Hopefully I can keep it that way. I'm doing my core exercises, my back exercises, hamstring exercises... everything just to make sure the injuries stay away this season."

With the London 2012 Olympic Games looming, Bolt said he was "fully focused".

"This is a big season and you have to try and get ahead of the game because a lot of athletes have started their season early.

"The Olympics is the biggest stage for an athlete, I know the value of a gold medal... when the Olympics come around, athletes show up on the day so I'm focused on everyone."