The reigning World and Olympic 100m and 200m champion, Usain Bolt, has had an unusual path leading up to August’s World Championships.
Usain withdrew from the Diamond League meetings in Paris (July 4th) and Lausanne (July 9th). His website cited “a blocked sacroiliac joint which is restricting his movement and putting pressure on his knee and ankle” as the reason.
This follows his absence from the 100m at the Jamaican National Senior Championships last week. However, Bolt’s agent, Ricky Simms, explained that Usain’s participation was never definite. The Guardian quoted Simms as saying that “Usain was never confirmed to run at the trials….He put his name in to have the option.”
Remember, the world’s fastest man had an abbreviated season in 2014. Now, in 2015, Usain has only faced the starter five times clocking 10.12 in his only 100m in April and a season’s best of 20.13 in the 200m.
Bolt’s last race was a 200m on June 13th at the Adidas Grand Prix in New York. After a sluggish win in 20.29 seconds, Usain admitted that he was “baffled”.
How concerned should we be exactly?
Well, Justin Gatlin is the 2015 world leader in sprints with 9.74 in the 100m and 19.57 in the 200m. Tyson Gay’s has a 9.87 SB in the 100m. The resurgent Asafa Powell has already clocked 9.84 twice this season.
Clearly, on 2015 form Bolt’s chances at the World Championships appear slim. However, a part of me is hoping that Usain silences his doubters and goes to Beijing to show the world how champions react to adversity.
Usain Bolt’s 2012 season was plagued with similar doubts. But after placing 2nd in both the 100m and 200m at the Jamaican trials, he went on to win the sprint double with an Olympic record of 9.63 in the 100m and a blistering 19.32 in the 200m.
The difference between 2012 and 2015 is, however, that Bolt was actually running 9.76 and 9.86 times in 2012. He’s way behind this mark in 2015.
I actually agree with Ato Boldon’s view on Usain’s participation in Beijing. In an article by the BBC Sport, Boldon was of the view that perhaps Usain should not participate in this year’s World Championships.
According to the article, it is Boldon’s view that Bolt should focus on the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“I would only show up to Beijing if I knew that I was capable of performing at the level that everybody is used to seeing me,” said Boldon.
“If he shows up and loses, psychologically that will sort of change things come Rio next year.”
I agree, Usain should only participate in August’s championships if he is mentally and physically prepared. I firmly believe that a sub-par Bolt would be a bigger blow to his psyche and to athletics than an absent Bolt.
If Usain is able to go to Beijing and triumph it would be a legendary feat but I have this gut feeling that in the upcoming weeks Bolt may announce a withdrawal from Worlds.