Bolt ready to defend sprint titles at World Championships

Beijing, Aug 21 (IANS) Sprint legend Usain Bolt has said he is ready to defend his 100 metre and 200m titles when competition begins in an eagerly anticipated World Championships here this weekend.

The Jamaican sprint sensation told journalists at a news conference on Thursday that his training has helped to erase some pre-race concerns and now he is ready to execute, reports CMC.

Bolt, known as a slow starter, says as a result of his training, his slow starts are expected to improve significantly.

“The training is good, everything will come together. The coach is happy and once he is happy, I know I am in good nick. So I am ready to go,” Bolt told a news conference.

“All I need to do right now is to execute. We have worked on that and in my last stop start session yesterday (Wednesday), coach was smiling. So thumbs up to me. But I am happy with the way everything has been going, so I am happy with that”.

Bolt, who turns 29 on Friday, told reporters that a joint problem in his left hip has been preventing him from getting to full power on his stride this season.

He has raced in only one meet all season, where he ran a 9.87-second 100m race.

Bolt’s main competition is expected to come from American sprinters Justin Gatlin and Tyson Gay and Jamaican teammate Asafa Powell, all of whom have served doping suspensions over their careers.

According to Bolt, it is sad that questions about doping in athletics have been grabbing the spotlight on the eve of the World Championships.

“It’s really taking center stage. All I have been hearing over the past couple of weeks it’s just doping doping doping,” he said.

“The majority of the questions are about doping. So it’s sad that this is at the forefront of the championship and not about the competition. It’s sad. I can’t do anything about it”.

A recent report from German broadcaster ARD and The Sunday Times in Britain claims that 146 Olympic and world championship medals in middle and long-distance races were won by athletes who have recorded suspicious tests.

The report has been strongly condemned by the International Association of Athletics Federations.

Gatlin, who has this year’s best time at 9.74 seconds, is considered Bolt’s main rival going into the Championships.

“The rules are there for a reason,” said Bolt who appeared to be avoiding the debate around Gatlin’s presence at the games.

“If the rules say you can get back into the sports that’s not my call. He still has to line up and I still have to compete against him. I abide by the rules and that’s pretty much all”.

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