London: Usain Bolt welcomed Dwain Chambers back into the Olympic sprinting fold, on Wednesday, before warning that Britain’s fastest man should, like all the rest of the world’s quickest, expect to be blown away by him this summer.
Bolt will race against Chambers over 100 metres here at Ostrava’s Golden Spike meeting on Friday and says he has no problem with the former doping offender having been given the green light to seek Olympic qualification.
Reflecting on the brief spell when Chambers, on his comeback after his doping ban, briefly trained in his coaching group under Glen Mills, Bolt said: “We talked and Dwain was a cool person. For me, if the rules say it’s OK for him to come back, then who am I to really complain. Is he a threat? As long as he is in a lane beside me, he is. I’m focused on whoever lines up beside me.”
This was a hugely diplomatic assessment from Bolt, who on 2012 form has run exactly half a second quicker than Chambers over 100 metres.
Bolt’s 9.82sec, clocked in Jamaica three weeks ago, is the fastest of the year, while Chambers’s 10.32sec, recorded during his 150m road race in Manchester on Sunday, does not even put him in the top 120. But then Bolt made it sound as if the world’s best would be competing for minor places in London anyway as he insisted: “As long as I’m in great shape, nobody will beat me in London that’s for sure.”
The buoyant triple Olympic champion said he felt he was on course to replicate his form of 2009 when he obliterated both his 100m and 200m world records at the World Championships in Berlin and, ominously for his opponents, added that he felt the work on improving his start was beginning to pay dividends.
“If my start gets as good as I want it and I’m as fit as I want, then I think I’ll be in better shape than I’ve ever been, so, I guess with a good start, it should be a world record.” That is for later this summer, though.
Bolt, who is paid his usual £200,000 to compete in Ostrava, still will not run at Crystal Palace because of British tax laws. “It’s pretty sad,” he said. “But at the Olympics every Jamaican will get one of the most awesome shows.”
If the weather stays fine here in the Czech stadium, where he has competed more often than at any other international venue outside Jamaica, he is talking 9.7sec.
After having a crowd of 1,000 in raptures here on Wednesday by losing a sprint race against a bunch of five year-olds, Bolt also reflected on his reputation as the saviour of modern day athletics, smiling: “A lot of people have said that and I think maybe it’s true. Since Beijing, I’ve really tried hard to put a fire into the sport and think I’ve changed it in a better way.”