Athletics: Bolt aims to get back into shape

Track superstar Usain Bolt signing autographs for fans in Ostrava, Czech Republic. He has one more scheduled event before his swansong at the world championships.
Track superstar Usain Bolt signing autographs for fans in Ostrava, Czech Republic. He has one more scheduled event before his swansong at the world championships.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Jamaican's focus is on staying injury-free, unconcerned by form before world c'ships

LONDON • Usain Bolt believes his German doctor will cure his ailments, allowing him to train hard before the world championships that start in just over five weeks.

The eight-time Olympic champion said he would be going to see his long-time physician Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt after suffering a stiff back that limited him in the build-up to his 100m run in Ostrava, Czech Republic. He won in a sluggish 10.06 seconds.

"It wasn't that good a race, I would say. I have some work to do, but as long as I stay injury-free I'll be all right," he said.

"I am going to see my doctor now so I know he will fix every problem - all I need to do is train hard and get myself into some shape."

The 30-year-old Jamaican has been treated by Muller-Wohlfahrt since he was a teenager, when back pain was first a problem.

Barely has a season gone by that he has not had to deal with one niggle or another.

He has only one more event scheduled before the world championships in London, a 100m race at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco on July 21. But he does not seem at all worried at the lack of a serious test so far.

"I tell you guys year after year, one run doesn't really matter to me - it always comes down to the championship," he said.

"For me it is all about getting myself into great shape and that is the focus for me right now."

Olympic 400m champion Wayde van Niekerk broke the world record over 300m in Ostrava. And Bolt believes the 24-year-old South African could be ready to take on the best over 200m and even 100m.

"I think he really wants to be a sprinter," said the 100m and 200m world record holder.

"He is showing he is ready for the challenge. He listens and he wants to be good. He is on the right track and if he continues like this he will take over track and field."

Like Bolt, four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah, who won the 10,000m in Ostrava, is heading to the end of his track career in London. The Briton says he is finding his final year as a runner quite emotional.

"When I was at the press conference and they said this was my last 10,000m here I was like 'Ah, really'," said the 34-year-old.

"It's emotional but I have to move on. It's been an amazing journey, but it will be perfect if it goes well in London."

He will run the 3,000m at the Muller Anniversary Games in London next week and believes he has work to do to retain his 5,000m and 10,000m world titles.

"I'm not quite there yet and it showed," he said. "I was a bit rusty. But it is my first 10,000m. There's a bit more work to do and then London 3,000m to sharpen up. Hopefully I've got enough time."

THE TIMES, LONDON, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2017, with the headline 'Bolt aims to get back into shape'. Print Edition | Subscribe