André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Jamaican sprinting superstar Usain Bolt may not have had the best of season openers at last Saturday's Camperdown Classic, but the towering sprinter is taking a positive outlook as he prepares for an assault on the IAAF World Championships later this season.
Bolt, running his first 400m in about two years, had to dig deep to win his heat in 46.71 - which, while being way off his 45.28 personal best over the distance, left him sprawled out on the National Stadium track.
However, the most important lesson learnt was that the double Olympic champion and world record holder is healthier and fitter than he has been in recent years.
"I just wanted to get through it. I have never been so nervous because I hadn't run a 400m in so long," said Bolt. "I always miss this part of the season. So for me to just be in the race, I am just happy that I am fit at this time of the season.
"Every year, I have always missed this part of the season, so to actually get a chance to run at this part of the season is very good and is a good sign for the rest of the year," Bolt reasoned. "Training has been going very well, I haven't had any problems, and that's a good sign, so I'm just working hard and pushing forward."
Bolt, who suffers from scoliosis (curvature of the spine), is a usual absentee during the first couple months of the track season largely because of injury concerns.
The sprinter actually finished behind Warren Weir, 46.23, Edino Steele, 46.64, and Peter Matthews, 46.67, in the timed final. Yohan Blake, who ran in the same heat with Weir and Steele, finished third in his race and fifth overall in 46.77.
"It didn't matter about the time. I just wanted to complete this race. I know I may have one more for the season, maybe two depending on what the coach wants, so it was about getting through the first one so I can be more confident for the others. So the next races. I should get faster," added Bolt, who also spoke to his physical condition heading into the season proper.
"Physically, I felt good, not as good as I normally would, but overall, I feel good. I wasn't as tied up at the finish, so it's OK."
Bolt has long been paired with the 400m, an event in which he excelled at the junior level, winning gold medals at the Carifta and CAC Juniors. Bolt is still the Carifta Under-17 400m record holder after his 47.33 run in 2002.