Mills encouraged by Bolt's return
Despite handing out a failing grade in his athlete's second of two runs, coach Glen Mills was left generally satisfied with Usain Bolt's back-to-back 9.87 runs at the Sainsbury's Anniversary Games on Friday, inside the London Olympic Stadium.
Mills, after watching Bolt post his fastest times this season, believes the signs are encouraging as he now focuses on sharpening up the sprinter ahead of his double-sprint title defence at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, which is now a mere four weeks away.
In wet and chilly conditions, Bolt won his heat in 9.87 seconds, running against a -1.2 wind, and returned to again stop the clock at 9.87 (-0.8), with Mike Rodgers, who was also second in Bolt's heat, following the big Jamaican to the line in 9.90, with another Jamaican, Kemar Bailey-Cole, posting a personal-best 9.92 for third. Nesta Carter was seventh in 10.08.
Mills was left impressed with Bolt's run in the heat, but was less pleased with his execution in the final.
"To put it into context, he had one 100m before this in Brazil in April, so between April and now is a significant period of time. So to start at 9.87 is an indication that he is making progress, and the focus is to continue getting his competitive condition to be at his best by the time we get to Beijing," Mills told The Gleaner. "His performance is encouraging."
"Yes, it's clear that his (Bolt's) performance in his heat was far superior to his run in the final, even though the times are the same. In the heat, he executed much better than he did in the finals. He had a better start, his mechanics was better, and despite the -1.2 wind, he was able to run 9.87 after he eased down near the end, which would indicate that with a full effort and no wind, he probably would have gone under 9.80 seconds," Mills assessed.
"But he came back in the final, and there was less breeze, but his execution was very poor. It was bad at the start, he lost ground and stumbled a bit and had to come from way back to actually get back; but all in all, it was a good training exercise," added Mills.
Still, after going into the meet with questions about his ability to successfully defend his world titles in the coming weeks, Mills feels that the sprinter has gone a long way in showing that he is on the right course to do just that in Beijing.
"What I can say, though, is that today, he (Bolt) showed that he has made some progress, and we hope that we can make significant advancement on that, and that by the time Beijing comes around, he will be at the competitive level where he can execute much better and defend his title," Mills said.
Bolt is not expected to compete again before the World Championships.