Sat | Aug 18, 2018

No one can replace Bolt, says Guliyev

Published:Saturday | December 9, 2017 | 12:00 AMHubert Lawrence
Usain Bolt

Ramil Guliyev, Turkey's World 200-metre champion, believes that there is no real successor to the retired Usain Bolt in the curved sprint.

In an interview posted on the European Athletics website earlier this week, Guliyev said Bolt's departure leaves an evenly matched group of sprinters battling for supremacy in the 200 metres. Speaking boldly, he cited Bolt's world record as one of his targets for the future.

"Now that Bolt has gone, there is no obvious successor and there are maybe 15 of us at a similar standard. However, that can only make the races more exciting," added the 27-year-old Turk, who suggested that the increased competition at the top echelon of 200m sprinting will push him to a new level.

Guliyev edged 400-metre record holder Wayne van Niekerk to win the 200 metre at the World Championships in August and has his eye on success in 2018.

"Breaking the 200m record, and hopefully at the European Athletics Championships next year, is my biggest goal now," he previewed with reference to the European record of 19.72 seconds set at high altitude by legendary Italian Pietro Mennea in 1979.

France's Christophe Lemaitre went closest to Mennea's mark when he ran 19.80 when finishing third to Bolt at the 2011 World Championships

Guliyev's best time is 19.88 that he ran in Zagreb in 2015.

"And after the European record, then I want to get the world record and win medals at the Olympics," the former European junior champion added.

The former representative of Azerbaijan placed seventh and sixth, respectively, in World Championship 200 metre finals won by Bolt in 2009 and 2015.