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Bolt not 'running scared' of Wayde

20 July 2017 - 07:28 By Reuters
KEEP SMILING: Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt was confident in Monaco yesterday, ahead of his race at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London.
KEEP SMILING: Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt was confident in Monaco yesterday, ahead of his race at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in London.
Image: Valery Hache/AFP Photo

Sprint legend Usain Bolt yesterday laughed off suggestions he was running scared of Wayde van Niekerk, adding that the biggest disappointment of his looming retirement was not getting a chance to race against him.

"You guys know me over the years; I never back down from a challenge," Bolt said at a press conference in Monaco ahead of the Diamond League meet tomorrow night.

"I think that's one of the most disappointing things in my career now, that he came along at this late stage, that I didn't get to compete against him because I think he's one of the best, hands down, right now."

Van Niekerk, the Olympic and world 400m champion, will also do the 200m at the world championships in London next month, but the Jamaican has dropped the 200m for his final season to focus on the 100m.

Van Niekerk has had an awesome start to his international campaign, breaking the world best and Bolt's meet record over 300m in the Czech Republic last month.

"I'm never afraid, I love competition, but it's too late now," said Bolt. "He's at the end of my career now so we'll never know."

Bolt said he was over his early season setbacks and running into form at the right time to sign off his career with two more gold medals in London.

Bolt laboured to a 10.06sec 100m victory in the Czech Republic last month and travelled to see his doctor, German Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt, for treatment on his back issues.

"I'm feeling good," Bolt said, before explaining how the death in April of his close friend and former British high jumper, Germaine Mason, had hampered his progress.

"The season started off slow for me. I had a setback after my friend Germaine passed away, it kind of set me back a little bit," he said.

 Bolt is unlikely to match his best - the 2009 world record of 9.58 - and the 30-year-old said he would be happy with any sub-10 second time as he seeks to find the speed he knows he will need for the 100m final on August 5.

- Additional reporting by David Isaacson

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