BOLT "hungry for a title"

Posted on 27 June 2007 - 09:16

The long silver chain that used to hang from his jaw like the bridle of a racehorse is gone as is the clowning around and the jumping into groups of fans after winning races.
Newly-crowned Jamaican 200-metre champion Usain Bolt is more determined than ever to be taken seriously.

“Personally I just felt it was time to get serious. Over the years I have learned a lot and it forces you to grow up quickly,” said Bolt, who won the Jamaican title Sunday by clocking a 19.75 seconds.

The 6ft 6in, 20-year-old speedster Bolt is continuing his preparation for this year’s IAAF World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan.

Bolt says he is “hungry for a title” and realised that if he is to fulfill the potential he showed in 2002 when he became the youngest ever IAAF champion at 15, then “you have to buckle down and do the work”.

During a recent interview Bolt spoke about what he has learned over the years and the long talks with coach Glen Mills.

This newfound philosophy is in contrast to the happy-go-lucky teenager who was reportedly seen partying hard as a regular patron at several uptown clubs.

“My coach talked to me a lot about maintaining a focus,” Bolt said. “And after going on the circuit last year and seeing others like (American Tyson) Gay run fast, it really opens your eyes.”

Asked whether his newfound wealth and popularity after signing with athletic wear giant Puma at age 17 influence his partying habits, Bolt said “not really, I would still go out if I was broke as I like to enjoy myself.”

After winning the gold at the 2002 World Junior Championships and then breaking the world junior record two years later at the CARIFTA Games in Hamilton, Bermuda, Bolt’s progress was halted by a series of injuries.

This period in his life was “extremely frustrating.” But with his new-found wisdom, Bolt said he has learned “you just have to work hard and do things that will help to prevent injuries.”

He recently put pen to paper to confirm a four-year extension to the Puma deal for a reported “US seven figures”.

"My hard work is paying off and I am not surprised because I think I deserve it.

“I am getting better all the time. If you work hard then you will get paid. This is why we work hard.”

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