Go, Mr Bolt! We are right behind you

Saturday, August 05, 2017

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For his millions of fans around the globe it was just a great relief to see Mr Usain Bolt break the tape, comfortably easing down, his face relaxed, having rushed to the front after a poor start.

But Mr Bolt is a perfectionist, and for him yesterday's 100m heat, preparatory to today's semi-final and final of the World Championships in London, was “very bad” because he “stumbled a bit” coming out of the blocks.

Make no mistake about it, Mr Bolt will be doing all he has to do to get it right today, in this his last individual competitive event of a career that has lifted international sprinting to dizzyingly new heights over the last nine years.

With all the talk about his extraordinarily charismatic personality, his wonderful sense of fun, and relaxed attitude to life, it must not be forgotten that like all great athletes Mr Bolt is the ultimate competitor.

He has proven it time again — even when, as was the case at the World Championships two years ago, the odds seemed stacked against him.

Mr Bolt has said he is retiring from competition because his body is signalling it's time to go. Yet, this newspaper fully expects that it will take an absolutely exceptional performance to beat him today.

The whole world knows that even should he lose, Mr Bolt has long ago proven himself the greatest sprinter of all time. All that notwithstanding, we suspect that more than anything else right now Mr Bolt wants to win yet another World Championships 100m gold medal.

That's how it is with champions.

From a wider Jamaican perspective we note that former world champion Mr Yohan Blake — who has had more than his fair share of injuries in recent years — is into today's men's 100m semi-final. So too is the fast improving Mr Julian Forte, who equalled his personal best yesterday.

Even as Jamaicans focus on Mr Bolt, they will keep a keen eye on Messrs Blake and Forte.

We dare not forget good, solid performances from discus throwers Messrs Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle, as well as long jumper Mr Damar Forbes, which have taken them to the finals of their events.

Jamaicans are expected to do well on the track, especially the sprints, but also ambitious, hard-working athletes in other areas of athletics are showing that much is possible. Well done, we say.

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