PARIS – With the world championships in Moscow just more than a month away, Usain Bolt is looking to bolster his confidence and make sure everything is going according to plan.
He’ll be running in the 200 meters today at the Areva Meeting, the ninth leg of the Diamond League. Bolt will take on Jamaican compatriots Warren Weir, Nickel Ashmeade and Jason Young, along with former European 200 champion Christophe Lemaitre of France. All five sprinters have run below 20 seconds.
“I’m just trying to make sure I get a couple of results before the championships and get the routine right when the championships come because that’s what really matters,” Bolt said Friday.
Bolt is the 200 world record-holder and has won the last two world and Olympic titles. He has the second-best time this season, 19.79 seconds at the Bislett Games in Oslo on June 13.
Tyson Gay ran the fastest 200 this year, 19.74 at the U.S. trials on June 23. Although Gay wasn’t in Paris, Bolt was not underestimating the competition.
“I never said I’m invincible,” he said. “When I’m in great shape and I’m at the top of my game, I’m very confident that no one can beat me because I know what I’m capable of.
“But you can be beaten. There’s times when you get injuries, there’s times when you’re off your game. There’s so many different scenarios that can happen.”
Weir ran 19.79 in Kingston last month to win the Jamaican trials. In May, the Olympic bronze medalist also won the 200 in Shanghai and New York.
Bolt may well break the meet record of 20.01, set by Michael Johnson in 1990, if his challengers push him hard enough.
The six-time Olympic champ came close to breaking that mark in 2011, but a bout of flu prevented him from racing at full throttle. Bolt clocked 20.03 then to outclass Lemaitre by 0.18.
Bolt’s form and motivation were questioned when he lost by 0.01 seconds to Justin Gatlin in the 100 at Rome’s Golden Gala on June 6. But Bolt has recovered by winning the 200 in Oslo, and running 9.94 in the 100 at the Jamaican trials.
“I’m really trying to get back on target, trying to get up to speed,” Bolt said. “I’m feeling great in training, I’m running pretty well. I have a few more weeks to go.”
The worlds start Aug. 10.
In the men’s 400, world and Olympic champion Kirani James of Grenada said he was looking forward to another race with LaShawn Merritt of the U.S. James believed the more he’s pushed the longer he’ll be motivated.
“(I’m) just trying to stay consistent and just trying to be around this sport as long as I possibly can,” James said.