After picking up his third IAAF World Championships 100m gold medal last night, Usain Bolt says he wants to be at the top until he hangs up his spikes.
“My aim is to be number one until I retire,” he said, after he tore apart a field loaded with four Americans, including Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay, and successfully defended his 100m title in a season-best time of 9.79 seconds.
Gatlin settled for silver in 9.80 seconds, and Canada’s Andre de Grasse and American Trayvin Brommel shared the bronze in 9.92 seconds.
“I still stumbled [in last night’s final]. But I came here relaxed, no stress and brought it [gold] home. I guess the recipe will also work for the 200m, which is also my favourite.”
Bolt will begin the defence of his title in the half lap race tomorrow at 1.30pm South African time.
There was a battle of the crowds before the race – the home fans chanted the name of their star Su Bingtian and the few Jamaicans shouted: “Usain Bolt! Usain Bolt!”
But it was a different situation at the finish line.
Bob Marley’s famous One Love song belted out of the bird’s nest stadium speakers to usher in yet another title wining performance.
By edging Gatlin in a photo finish before a sold-out crowd in China’s capital, Bolt also reaffirmed his status as the best sprinter in the world.
In 2008, he left the same track with two golds and two world record times in the 100m and 200m.
En route to the final, the lightning bolt struck South African joint record holder Henricho Bruintjies.
However, Bruintjies and fellow national 100m record holder Akani Simbine said they gathered valuable experience from running against the fastest men on the planet.
The two were eliminated in the semifinals of the 100 dash but they said they bowed out with their heads high.
Simbine (21) placed fourth in 10.02 seconds, a field that he dubbed “the heat of death” because he had Americans Gatlin and Mike Rodgers to beat.
Bruintjies (22) finished seventh in 10.21 seconds in the heat that Bolt wrapped up in 9.96 seconds.
“I’ve learnt that one has to focus under pressure because all the cameras are on these guys [big-name athletes]. I didn’t think I would get to race Bolt and Gatlin in two days,” said Bruintjies, in reference to his meeting with Gatlin on Saturday – in which the Cape Town-born sprinter finished third.
“I need to go back to the drawing board and work more because my next goal is to do well at the Olympic Games next year.”
Meanwhile, Simbine believes that he could have done better but his reaction off the blocks was something he needed to work on.
His next races are the FBK Games in the Netherlands on September 5 and the IAAF Diamond League in Brussels, Belgium, six days later.
Also not making the final yesterday was 400m hurdler LJ van Zyl, who finished sixth in 48.89 seconds. It was the 67th time he had dipped under 49 seconds in his career.
“I will now fight to reach the Olympics, said the aspiring livestock farmer.
As much as he was disappointed when he emerged from the stadium yesterday, Van Zyl said he would take comfort from the fact that he was expecting a baby boy in the next few days.