Mon | Oct 23, 2017

Bolt eager for relay run, says respect due to Gatlin

Published:Tuesday | August 8, 2017 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Justin Gatlin bows at the feet of Usain Bolt after defeating the sprint king in the men’s 100m final at the IAAF World Championships on Saturday.

LONDON, England:

Sprint king Usain Bolt says he is excited about competing in the 4x100m at the World Championships on Saturday inside the London Stadium. He also says he has no issue showing respect to under-pressure American sprinter Justin Gatlin, after his 100m victory a few days ago.

Bolt will bring an end to his career in the 4x100m relay on Saturday, and the global icon is leaving nothing to chance. He is expected to compete in his first 4x100m heat at a major international senior championships.

Bolt has only been a member of one losing Jamaican 4x100m relay team at a major global championships - the second-place finishers at the Worlds in Osaka, Japan, in 2007 - and the 11-time World champion is determined to keep it that way and secure a 12th podium topping finish.

He noted that he has already started having discussions with team members.

"We'll see. We haven't done any baton changes as yet with the guys, but I feel we are ready," Bolt told The Gleaner yesterday.

"I have talked to Julian (Forte) a little bit. I haven't really talked to the youngsters, so we'll see when it comes to the baton changes, but I'm always excited to run relays, and we'll see what the guys are prepared and ready to do."

 

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The Jamaicans will be without several regulars such as Asafa Powell, Nickel Ashmeade, Nesta Carter and Michael Frater and will be tested by a strong US team that boasts the top two finishers in the 100m final in Gatlin and Christian Coleman.

Gatlin, who served two drug bans in his career, has been the subject of much vitriol after his win over Bolt, with the American being booed by fans inside the stadium at every opportunity.

Bolt did, however, support Gatlin after the event, hugging the 35-year-old after the final and describing his treatment in London as "harsh".

"I'm just showing respect. We've been battling for years and he finally got one. Yes, it's at the end of my career, but I have to show respect where respect is due," Bolt said.

"If you work hard throughout your life, I always say anything is possible, and I can imagine how long he has dreamt of this moment. I can't be a sore loser; throughout my career I've dominated. I personally don't think it (bronze medal) has changed what I have done in anyway."

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com