CANBERRA, June 18 AAP - He lacks arrogance, has failedto secure decent sponsorship and hardly anyone on theinternational athletics scene has heard of him.
But Patrick Johnson holds the enviable title of thefastest man in the world this year.
That’s why he doesn’t care about the rest.
However, Johnson has a long way to go until he proveshimself worthy of the title of the fastest man on theplanet, and before the rest of the world takes himseriously.
His journey begins on Friday when the 30-year-oldQueenslander leaves for two months of competition inEurope, culminating in the world championships in Paris.
Along the way, Johnson has the chance to grab tens ofthousands of dollars in prizemoney, although he claimsmoney is not an issue for him.
He can also use the media attention since he becamethe first Australian to break the 10-second barrier over100 metres to talk himself up as an attractivesponsorship prospect.
But he says the show of arrogance, so evident amongstthe world’s top sprinters, doesn’t appeal to him.
And Johnson likes the fact few have heard of him,although he doesn’t think that will last long.
Regardless of what the rest of the world think, thenI think they'll be aware of what I can do and what I canachieve,'' he said. I’ll be happy if they forget about me now and don’tsee me as a factor because then I can just work on mytechnique and my performance and I’ll slip under theradar.’’
With his run of 9.93 seconds in Mito last month,Johnson grabbed the attention of promoters for theprestigious and lucrative Golden League meets, whichcarry a Euro 15,000 ($A26,500) winner’s cheque for eachevent.
The highlight of his program will be the famedWeltklasse in Zurich on August 15, when he is set tosquare off in the 100m against world record holder TimMontgomery, Olympic champion Maurice Greene andevergreen Namibian Franke Fredericks.
Johnson also plans to race in the Golden League meetsin Paris on July 2 and Rome on July 11, when he willcontest the 100m-200m sprint double.
But rather than winning races and money, Johnson saidit was all about preparing himself for the August 23-31world championships in Paris.
That's where my excitement comes from, on the worldstage, and this is the tip of the iceberg for me,'' hesaid. At the moment I am the best in the world so I’ve gotto make sure I try to keep that mantle.
``It’s not arrogance or ego, it’s more I haveconfidence in my own ability.’’