x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Usain Bolt backs out of final run before Olympics

Olympics 2012: No reason given but sprinter confident he will be in London to defend his 100m and 200m titles.

Usain Bolt gets his right hamstring stretched out after losing to Yohan Blake in the 200m.
Usain Bolt gets his right hamstring stretched out after losing to Yohan Blake in the 200m.

Usain Bolt yesterday withdrew from his final race before the Olympics with what his coach called a "slight" injury problem following the Jamaican trials.

Bolt was scheduled to run the 200 metres at the Monaco Diamond League meet on July 20, but pulled out to have treatment ahead of the London Games.

Bolt said the withdrawal would not keep him from coming to London to defend his titles.

The Olympic champion and world record-holder in the 100m and 200m had his right hamstring stretched out on the track after finishing second to Yohan Blake in the 200m at the Jamaican Olympic trials over the weekend. He also was beaten by Blake in the 100m, in Kingston.

Bolt's coach, Glen Mills, said in a statement the withdrawal was because of "a slight problem" Bolt had at the trials.

He did not elaborate.

"After careful assessment I have had to withdraw him from the Diamond League Meeting in Monaco on July 20 to give him sufficient time for treatment and time to train and prepare for the Olympic Games in London," Mills said.

Bolt's losses to Blake suggested the sprinter may not be in the dominant form he was at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when he powered to gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, all in world-record times.

"I am happy to have earned my spot on the Jamaican Olympic team despite the challenge," Bolt said in the same statement. "I will be in London to defend my titles."

Michael Johnson believes Bolt can lower his 100m world record from 9.58 to 9.4 seconds.

"If Usain was to be really focused and committed on cleaning up his technique he could probably run 9.4 seconds, but he would have to do some major training and adjustments," Johnson said in an interview with Laureus.com.

Johnson, who holds the world and Olympic records in the 400m, was impressed by Yohan Blake's two victories over Bolt in last weekend's Jamaican trials and believes the 22-year-old is another gold-medal prospect at the Games.

"Yohan Blake showed he will take advantage when Bolt does not perform at his best," the American said. "Bolt now has a legitimate challenger and will need to be at his best."

The US sprinters Tyson Gay and Justin Gatlin will go head-to-head in the Diamond League meeting in Paris tonight, with the home hope Christophe Lemaitre also hoping to show his form ahead of the Olympics. Gay and Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic champion coming back from a doping ban, have both qualified.

And Lemaitre, 22, arrives on the back of having sealed his second European 100m title.

But Gay, the US national record holder and second fastest man of all-time at 9.68sec, said: "I feel pretty good, considering I came back and made the team.

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