LONDON • Usain Bolt insists that he is in good enough shape to reclaim the title of the world's best sprinter from the controversial American Justin Gatlin.
The 28-year-old Jamaican, who has failed to fire so far this year, was set to return to the Olympic Stadium in London to compete in the 100m at the Anniversary Games last night.
He had a sharp retort when asked whether defeat to Gatlin at next month's world championships in Beijing would be bad for athletics, telling reporters: "I'm not planning to lose so I can't really answer that."
Bolt - who holds the 100m and 200m records - has largely looked on as Gatlin, who twice failed doping tests in his career, amassed a winning streak that stretches back to August 2013.
The American has regularly gone under 9.8 seconds for the 100m and posted four sub-20-second times for the 200m this season.
NO CAUSE FOR CONCERN
I know Gatlin's been doing good this season but I'm not worried. When the world championships come, anyone who knows anything about me knows I always show up.
USAIN BOLT on his rival Justin Gatlin
Bolt's best efforts for each distance before yesterday were a rather more modest 10.12sec and 20.13sec respectively.
Injuries as well as poor conditions during his races have not helped. However, the word from the six-time Olympic champion's camp is that he is flying in training - and ready to show that he is in condition to go toe to toe with Gatlin in Beijing.
"I know Gatlin's been doing good this season but I'm not worried," said the eight-time world champion. "When the world championships come, anyone who knows anything about me knows I always show up."
Gatlin's drug bans mean he is not invited to race in Britain, and the pair have not raced individually against each other since 2013.
Bolt insisted he did not have a problem with Gatlin because his failed drug tests took place before he came on the international scene.
Instead, he reserved his fire for Tyson Gay, who also served a ban after testing positive for testosterone two years ago.
Bolt, however, backed Mo Farah, and believes his close friend has been right to stand by his coach, Alberto Salazar. The latter has been at the centre of allegations of doping for the past few months.
Bolt revealed that he had not spoken to the 5,000m and 10,000m Olympic champion about the allegations but relayed a message through Ricky Simms, the agent whom they share.
"When you have confidence in your coach over the years and you know who he is as a person, of course, you're going to want to support him as an athlete. If he believes in his coach, I believe in him."
IAAF DIAMOND LEAGUE, LONDON
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