Mon | Dec 11, 2017

The Bolt show - Jamaican does what he does best - wins

Published:Saturday | July 22, 2017 | 12:11 AMJoel Campbell
Usain Bolt crosses first the finish line in the men's 100m race at the IAAF Diamond League Athletics meeting at the Louis II Stadium in Monaco, yesterday. Bolt won in 98.95 seconds.
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MONTE CARLO, Monaco:

THERE WAS an inkling that Wade van Niekerk might just steal the show here at the Diamond League in Monaco, it was of course wishful thinking on behalf of the South African's fans because the night belonged to Usain Bolt.

A near capacity crowd rose to salute Van Niekerk when he sauntered to a 400m victory in a meeting record of 43.73s, beating Isaac Makwala convincingly to register a psychological blow to the Botswana athlete, a man some believe could beat the 400m world record holder at next month's World Championships.

But all of that was a side show to the main event which saw Bolt win the 100m in 9.95s, his 50th sub-10 second career victory.

The noise at the Stade Louis II when the 6ft 5inch Jamaican took the start-line was palpable.

Following the victory, which saw Isiah Young and Akani Simbine finish second and third respectively, in 9.98 and 10.02s, Bolt said he'd been focusing on the technical aspects of his race: "That's what we are working on, especially the first 30 metres, we are working on execution.

"I think I got it right, but let's see what the coach says.

"For me every race is focused on execution, we try to focus on execution as much as possible.

"These races are for me to see where I need to focus and work on before I get to the championships."

Saluting the atmosphere in the stadium Bolt said: "This was good, they played a lot of music and it was the first time I have seen cheerleaders, the crowd gave me good support and I really appreciate that."

 

Desire for victory

 

On his desire to claim the victory and keep his four year unbeaten streak intact he added: "It's the last race so it's everything. I am going to the Championships and it's always my aim to win the championships so this was everything, this was my last race so I needed to win."

Talking about the state of his body, Bolt said: "For me, I try not to worry about injuries; I just want to go out there and run as hard as possible, if you get injured you get injured.

"My coach has always said you got to focus on your running, if you go out there worrying about injuries then you will never really compete at your best."

Looking forward to London he enthused: "I'm always excited before a World Championships, afterwards I might be sad but right now I am excited. I know it's going to be energetic, I know there is going to be a lot of Jamaican's, so I am really excited and I am going to do my best as always and aim to win, that's it."

When the dust had settled Van Niekerk reflected on his victory: "It was great performance today, I'm feeling positive about it. My body feels to be in great shape and this win from behind gives me lot of confidence.

"We still are not peaking, we trained hard last week, all should be ok for London and my double. I was forced to change my plan when I saw Isaac in front in last 100 m. All went well. Ready for the big plan."

World record holder in the 100m hurdles Kendra Harrison looked almost human in her race, winning in a time of 12.51s. Playing down what was an average performance by her own exceptionally high standards she said: "My coach wanted me to run and he wasn't expecting anything crazy but I needed to run before the Worlds. I will stay in Monaco and train till London."

Finishing third in the 100m hurdles Danielle Williams said people shouldn't rush to put the gold medal around Harrison's neck, there was still a race to be run. "Anything can happen in a race," said the 24 year-old.

She added: "If she was definitely going to win they would just give her the medal. Anything can happen on the day."