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Bolt bets on O’Hara - Sprint icon confident that former Calabar star is potential world beater

Published:Sunday | March 20, 2016 | 12:00 AMAndre Poyser
Usain Bolt with his new Puma footwear at The Usain Bolt track last Friday.

Having announced himself to Jamaica as a schoolboy at 'Champs', athletics superstar Usain Bolt keeps a keen eye on the annual ISSA-GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships, watching for those who might follow in his footsteps, and already he believes he has identified one.

While he is not competing this year, having gone professional, former Calabar captain Michael O'Hara is one who Bolt believes will walk in his footsteps.

The 18-year-old former World Youth 200m champion (2013) impressed Bolt as he led his school to victory last year with gold medals in the 100 and 200 metres sprints and in the 110 metres hurdles.

"For me, one athlete who stood out at Champs, not actually this year, is Michael O'Hara. He stood out for me in his years at the Championships because he really pretty much ran similar to the way that I used to run with the tall strides and the smooth running, so he was the one that really stood out for me," Bolt told journalists on the penultimate day of this year's Championships.

"As I always say, if you look at the Boys and Girls' Championships, which are going on, you will see the competition and the rivalry that we have in this country, and I feel that is why we produce so many athletes, and that is where we find our talent," added Bolt.

He argued that the annual Championships is the best avenue for young athletes such as O'Hara to develop and be discovered.

O'Hara has transitioned to the professional ranks and is now under the tutelage of Bolt's coach, Glen Mills, and is being managed by the team of Nugent Walker and Ricky Simms, who guided Bolt's career.

Now Bolt is confident that O'Hara has the potential to be numbered among the best.

"I feel that if he continues on the right path, if he works hard and listens to coach Glen Mills, I think he is going to be one of the best athletes in the world."