ROME: Six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt said he is ready to put his injury woes behind him when he lines up at the Rome Golden Gala for his first appearance of the year in Europe on Thursday.
Bolt’s start to the season has been hampered by hamstring problems and, a month ago, American rival Justin Gatlin posted an impressive time of 9.97sec at the opening Diamond League event of the season in Doha.
Meanwhile, Bolt was clocking a comparatively mediocre time of 10.09sec for the 100 meters at the Cayman Invitational, way behind his world record time of 9.58.
But, ahead of his European debut at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on Thursday, the 26-year-old Jamaican said he is now up to competition speed.
“I’m feeling great, (I’ve) been doing a lot of work, working on my speed and endurance for the past couple of weeks,” Bolt told reporters in Rome yesterday.
“I’ve done a few starts, so everything is coming together.”
He added: “I’m happy with where I’m at, the coach is happy, I’m in good shape so I’m just looking forward to going out there and competing at my best.”
The Rome Golden Gala is the fifth meet in the 14-leg Diamond League season, at the conclusion of which the athletes (men and women) with the highest number of accumulated points wins The Diamond Race.
Bolt won last year’s Diamond Race for the 100 meters, but having “achieved all my dreams” he is now looking at stretching his impressive list of records at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
At the London Games in 2012, Bolt became the first man in history to successfully defend 100m and 200m titles and then added a sixth Olympic gold by helping Jamaica defend their 4x100m title.
Although evasive when asked how far he could take his world record, saying: “I never put a limit on anything. For me anything is possible,” Bolt already has one eye on the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Having flirted with converting to other sports, from football to cricket, Bolt hinted that he could end his athletics career after the next Games.
“(I will have) four more years, personally, in the sport, so now it’s all about dominating for those four years,” he added.
“I’m looking forward to the next Olympics, to do something that has never been done before. For the next four years I will try to dominate the sport and show people it’s possible to go year-in year-out being the best.”