OSTRAVA, Czech Republic May 19- Speaking at the press conference ahead of the Golden Spike meeting on Friday, Usain Bolt outlined his intentions to run well below 10 seconds for 100m at the IAAF World Challenge meeting in Ostrava, provided the weather played ball.
“I was promised the weather would be good,” said the multiple world and Olympic champion. “Hopefully I can run a 9.8; I’d be happy with that.”
The Jamaican superstar is understandably cautious when making his predictions for Friday’s competition. He won the 200m in Ostrava last year, but the cold and damp conditions hindered his chances of a sub-20-second clocking.
Likewise, the wet weather at the 2010 edition of this meeting didn’t help in Bolt’s attempt to break the 300m world best.
But generally speaking, Bolt can’t be too unhappy with his seven previous appearances in Ostrava as he is undefeated in the Czech city. Along with his 300m victory in 2010, he won the 200m in 2006, 2008 and 2015 and the 100m in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
“I had a tight hamstring after my last race,” said Bolt, who ran 10.05 to win at the Cayman Invitational last week. “But I went to see a doctor and I’m feeling much better now. I know that the more I run, the better I’ll get, so I’m happy that I started racing early this year.
“If I can continue on the right path to the Olympics, I definitely think world records are possible in Rio,” he added. “I really want to run sub-19 in the 200m; that’s my focus.”
On season’s bests, Bolt is just the second-fastest athlete on the 100m start list for Ostrava. Double African champion Wilfried Koffi of the Ivory Coast is the fastest in the field this year, having set a national record of 10.01 last month.
But there is a far more intriguing opponent in the field. World and Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton will test his speed by lining up against Bolt for the first time in his career.
“Obviously I’m super out of my league,” Eaton said last month. “But what I’m hoping is that running with these people I’ll learn a thing or two, because you pick up some stuff. And maybe I can get a fast time.”
Eaton will also contest the long jump in Ostrava where he will compete against world indoor bronze medallist Huang Changzhou of China and Germany’s Paralympic champion Markus Rehm.