New Delhi: Sprint legend Donovan Bailey feels Jamaican sensation Usain Bolt is perfectly capable of breaking his own world records in both the 100 and 200 metres in the near future.
“Bolt still has the potential to improve, despite the fact that he will be about 30 when the next Olympic Games is held in 2016. He can do even better,” Bailey said here on Friday.
“Bolt is someone I meet often, talk to and advise on a few things. He is a good kid, fast and the best. But he still has the potential to improve, his stance and his start could be better,” said the former Olympic champion, who is here as a brand ambassador of the Airtel half marathon.
Born in Jamaica, Bailey migrated to Canada at the age of 13. From a part-time sprinter till 1994, he went on to win two gold medals in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and became the 100m world record holder. A year before this, he won two gold medals in the World championship. He also won the relay gold in the 1997 World meet.
Bailey was also full of praise for Bolt for never getting into any doping controversy. “That’s the difference between Bolt and Ben Johnson,” the Canadian pointed out.
“It’s about having the right kind of people around you that makes the difference. Look at Usain… he has an incredible team working round the clock for him. I can say for myself that I had a great upbringing. My parents had everything structured for me in order to see me successful,” said Bailey.
On Jamaica producing top world class sprinters consistently, Bailey said: “Jamaica is a tiny country compared to India. But in Jamaica we have a strong culture for running. In India, the associations need to identify the talent pool and nurture them properly.”
“The World Championship and the Olympic gold medals, which I won while setting a world record are closest to my heart. I will always be an Olympic champion and the feeling is exhilarating. But, I think more than the gold medal and the records, what motivates me is -- and I think it should motivate all athletes —is to run a technically perfect race,” he said.
Bailey said that events like the Delhi half marathon are a great platform to generate interest.
“India is a huge country… with appropriate infrastructure and professional training, Indians can definitely produce Olympic champions,” said Bailey.
“I had the opportunity to compete in Pune in a couple events in the 90s and it was a fantastic feeling to see hundreds of people who had come to support and cheer for me. India is an incredible country and the people here are very warm and the food is incredible,” he said.
Questioned if he carried any 'emotional baggage' when he burst into the international circuit as someone who hailed from the 'Land of Ben Johnson', the 46-year-old retorted: "Firstly, that's not the land of Ben Johnson only! And secondly, I have never ever carried any baggage of anyone. My career has been about the person that I am."
Bailey feels that Bolt's story is about the evolution of human body structure rather than redefining the norms of running 100m sprint.
“I won’t say he has redefined 100m sprinters, but he has been an example of evolution of human body and its ability to push it to limits. It's simple. He (Bolt) is a much bigger and stronger lad and he will obviously run faster than sprinters of earlier generations.
“It’s just that kids nowadays are bigger and stronger. It's like five-year olds having a better grip on computer games than 40-year-olds,” he said.
Bailey expects that if Bolt stays healthy, then the Jamaican legend can indeed improve upon the current world record time of 9.58 seconds.