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Sprint rivals hope Bolt will slow down in Rome

May 30, 2012

ROME, May 30: Usain Bolt’s 100m sprint rivals admitted on Wednesday their only chances of beating him are if the Jamaican legend starts running slower.

The world record holder clocked an unimpressive 10.04sec in Ostrava last week but still managed to win the race, in which current world bronze medallist Kim Collins finished just behind him.

Bolt’s time in winning here last year was 9.91sec which is a long way off his world record of 9.58sec but again he was first past the post, with compatriot Asafa Powell two hundredths of a second behind.

But rather than believing they can get faster than the double Olympic sprint champion, Bolt’s rivals are simply hoping he’ll slow down.

“It’s very complicated, someone was saying to me that in order to beat Bolt I’ll have to run 9.5sec,” said Collins, the 2003 world 100m champion who is now a veteran on the circuit at the age of 36.

“What I explained is that to beat Bolt he has to just go slower than me.

“If he goes 9.5sec that day I can’t catch him, I can’t run 9.5sec, that’s not on my plate. When Bolt runs slow one day, I can beat him.”

Collins, though, believes that even if Bolt still finishes out in front, the day is coming when every runner in a race will dip under the magical 10sec barrier.

Five men have already broken 9.9sec this year and Collins expects great things at the Olympics.

“I’m definitely not surprised [at the times being run] because it’s an Olympic year and for me it’s not just competition, it’s mad competition,” he added. “This year is going to be special, this year you’re probably going to see eight men in a race under 10sec, so keep watching.”

For Powell, there is no secret formula to beating Bolt, it just comes down to running faster than him on the day.

“It’s simple if you want to beat Bolt, if Bolt runs 9.79sec, then you run 9.78sec and if he runs 10sec, then you have to run 9.9sec,” remarked the relaxed Jamaican.

However, he says he doesn’t want to be focusing on Bolt and needs to keep his attention on himself.

“I’m not here to compete against Bolt or try to beat any times, I’m here to try to run very fast. The finish line is my target, not Bolt or anyone else.”

Meanwhile, world champion Dai Greene and 400m hurdles rival Bershawn Jackson tried to bury the hatchet here after the Briton’s recent spat with his American opposition.

Greene has upset his US rivals by calling 400m Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt a “liar, thief and cheat” while allegedly saying the Americans in his own event were “overrated” — something he claims was taken out of context.

Two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Angelo Taylor responded by accusing Greene of “trash-talking” and saying he was too slow to win in London later this year.

And Jackson said Greene had “cashed a cheque that he can’t cash” because of his winning time of 48.26sec in last year’s World Championship final in Daegu.

Jackson says the media have blown the spat out of proportion. “The media are making it more than it is, there’s no problem between me and David [Dai] Greene,” said Jackson ahead of his meeting with Greene here on Thursday. “He’s world champion, he was the better man and won that day, I take nothing away from him.

“We’re two great competitors, we’re the best at our event, we do what we’re supposed to do and that’s put on a show for the crowd who pay to watch.”

Greene concurred and was full of respect for his cross-Atlantic rivals. “There’s a lot that goes on in newspapers but don’t believe all you read in newspapers,” he said.—AFP