Usain Bolt ready to take on triple challenge in Sherbrooke
Thursday 10 July 2003
16-year-old Usain Bolt of Jamaica is arguably the most famous of the 1200 youngsters who will compete at the 3rd IAAF World Youth Championships in Sherbrooke from today and until Sunday.
Fame is not something that Bolt is striving for, though, as the young man from Trelawny likes to stress. Fame is something that naturally came to him just over a year ago when his incredible talent led him to become the youngest ever IAAF World Junior champion.
Running in front of over 33,000 Jamaicans, Bolt literally ( ?!?) set Kingston national stadium on fire (lucky no-one was burned to death!!! ) when winning the 200m final in 20.61 and those who were privileged enough to be present certainly remember the deafening ‘USAIN, USAIN’ roars that enlightened that hot Jamaican night. And so does Usain.
“Kingston World Champs last year was a great experience and one I can never forget,” said the young man after today’s opening ceremony of the Championships.
In addition to his 200m world junior title in Kingston last year, Bolt also helped his country to claim silver in both the 4x100m and the 4x400m relays in less than two hours.
Baring the national flag this afternoon and standing well above his compatriots – he stands 196 cm tall - Bolt made his entrance in Sherbrooke University brand new stadium with class. Leading his 17 team-mates, Bolt made a point of not missing such a symbolic occasion.
“I was very proud when I entered the stadium carrying the Jamaican flag,” said the young man. “It was a great honour”
But coming to carry the flag is certainly not what Bolt came to Sherbrooke for.
“What am I expecting from these championships? To win of course. To win as many races as possible!”
And indeed Bolt will have quite a few races to run at these Championships. Entered to compete in both the individual 200m and 400 races and the medley relay Bolt’s schedule in Sherbrooke includes seven races with a climax on Sunday where he will have to cope with the 200m semi-finals and final before anchoring the Jamaican medley relay in what is scheduled to be the very last event of these Championships.
Bolt remains cool when reminded of the hard work he will be expected to perform in the next few days. And why should he not? After all, he’s come to Canada with the World Youth best performances of the year at both the 200m (20.25) and the 400m (45.35).
“It’s gonna be fine. I’m cool. I don’t get stressed you know. It’s just a question of being able to cope with the several races and I’m sure I will.”
Bolt has also claimed the senior national title at 200m earlier this year which makes him eligible to represent his country at the World Championships in Paris next August.
In less than a year, Bolt has shaven three tenths of a second off his personal best of 20.58 which he had set in the 200m heats in Kingston. What has happened since then in Usain Bolt’s life is the question everyone would like to have an answer to?
Has he changed? Has he adopted a different attitude towards the sport? That would be without knowing the young man.
“I have just been training hard. Nothing has changed, I have continued training like I have always used to. Yes, maybe something has changed,” Bolt smiles. “I am a couple of inches taller than last year!”