Thu | Sep 21, 2017

'I have passed this test'

Published:Saturday | July 23, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Jamaica's Usain Bolt (centre) powering to victory in the men's 200 metres during the Diamond League Muller Anniversary Games in London yesterday. Bolt clocked 19.89 seconds. Panama's Alonso Edwards (second left) was second in 20.04 with Britain's Adam Gemili (left), third in 20.07.

LONDON, England:

Well, he had to prove his fitness, and that he did - 19.89 on the clock, and while the rust showed as he huffed and puffed through his interviews, Usain Bolt sent a loud message both on the track and as he made his way off it at yesterday's Muller Anniversary Games.

"Yes, it definitely tells me I have passed this test," Bolt told The Gleaner shortly after leaving the newly laid London Olympic Stadium track.

"I could feel the rust, I definitely needed races and that's why I was sad that I didn't get to compete at my trials because I needed those races. I came out and for the first one (200m) in a while the execution wasn't perfect but it?s my first one so I can't complain."

"You never feel great when you don't get a lot of races in, but for me, this being my first 200m for the season, I am happy about it, so all I have to do is push myself and continue working hard in training," Bolt added.

It was the sprinter's first 200m in a day shy of a full year and his first appearance since suffering a strained hamstring at the National Senior Championships - one that led to him getting a spot on Jamaica's Olympic team despite having to pull out of the trials after receiving a medical exemption from Jamaican officials.

 

Public disapproval

 

That led to considerable mumbling and public disapproval by several top sprinters, including Americans Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay, and Mike Rodgers - even Dutchman Churandy Martina chipped in.

"We have the toughest trials in America," Rodgers said. "We don't get a bye. We don't have a medical exemption. I feel like it's a cop-out. He should run just like everybody else," Rodgers offered after going through the US system, which stipulates that only the top three finishers in each event can be selected.

Bolt didn't hold back as he took up the offer to respond.

"For me I felt it was a joke and disrespect at the fact that they think I would back out of a trials - me Usain Bolt, who has proven himself time and time again that I am the greatest," Bolt said. "I laughed when I heard it. I was disappointed, especially in Justin Gatlin"

Jamaica's selection policy allows top-ranked athletes to skip trials if they can prove they have an injury. They can then be provisionally selected but must show their fitness later before the final list of competitors for the championship is submitted.

Bolt was forced to withdraw from the Jamaican trials after suffering a hamstring strain while running in the 100m heats and later aggravated same in the semi-final. This led to him missing the 100m final and 200m.

 

Selected for Olympics

 

He was, however, selected as part of Jamaica's 59-member track and field team to Rio, where he is expected to take his place as one of Jamaica's three representatives in the 100m and 200m.

Second place in the 200m went to Panamanian Alonso Edwards, 20.04, with home boy Adam Gemili, 20.07, finishing third. Nickel Ashmeade was disappointing with a last-place finish in 20.51.

Stephenie-Ann McPherson also had a strong performance here, clocking 50.40 in the women's 400m, with hotshot Bahamian Shaunae Miller running away with yet another win in world leading and personal best time - 49.55. Natasha Hasting was third in 50.49. Miller leads the Diamond Race with 35 points, five more than the Jamaican.

Julian Forte, 10.11, ran fifth in the 100m, which was won by Frenchman Jimmy Vicaut in 10.02 ahead of Isiah Young, 10.07, and Martina, 10.10. Michael Frater (10.23) and GC Foster College's Everton Clarke (10.34) failed to make the final

Today's final day of action will see sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce lining up in the 100m alongside young MVP club-mate Christania Williams, Simone Facey, and Remona Burchell.

 

Schedule for Jamaicans

 

4x100m men - 8:20 a.m.

Jamaica

3000m Steeplechase - 9:37 a.m.

Aisha Praught

Men's long jump - 9:50 a.m.

Damar Forbes

Men's Discus - 10 a.m.

O'Dayne Richards

Women's 100m - 9:26 a.m.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Remona Burchell

Christania Williams

Simone Facey