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Fasuba's coach hit back at performance comments

16 May 2006

Olusoji Fasuba of Nigeria runs in the men 60 Metres Dash during the 11th IAAF World Indoor Championships at the Olympiysky Sports Complex in Moscow, Russia on Friday, March 10, 2006. (Image of Sport) Olusoji Fasuba of Nigeria runs in the men 60 Metres Dash during the 11th IAAF World Indoor Championships at the Olympiysky Sports Complex in Moscow, Russia on Friday, March 10, 2006. (Image of Sport)

By Gary Smith

Pierre-Jean George, the coach of Nigerian sprinter Olusoji Fasuba has hit back at comments suggesting that his pupil is no where near sub-10 seconds form and that the newly crowned African record holder will not break the barrier again this season.

Fasuba, who followed former world record holder Asafa Powell of Jamaica in the 100m at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, earlier this year, clocked a remarkable 9.84 seconds to finish behind Justin Gatlin's world record performance of 9.76, which left doubts in the minds of several track and field fans, including multi-Olympic medallist Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago.

However, George said his athlete has work harder than many of the top sprinters in the world and his recent success is just the result of the hard work he has put in.

"Ato Boldon said that Olu (Olusoji Fasuba) won't run a sub 10 again this year and this (his 9.84) is a fluke. Well, nobody knows including me," George said after reading the Trinidadian comments on the weekend.

"If Olu fails we will have plenty of reasons to explain why," he continued. "Olu has very little money to train, he never gets massage unless he’s in camp with me, etc), if he has other success, people will tell us again like we heard in Melbourne, well, he’s just gifted. No, he works harder than the others.

Looking back on Fasuba's heat performance of 9.92 where he notable jumped from his previous career best of 10.09, set last year in Nairobi and a season's best 10.11, George said he knew someone was going to break the record in the finals.

"I was amazed that my little boy was now a 9.92 performer," the coach said. I told him that (he and Justin) were very close to the WR in that race, then we just relaxed."

Despite nursing a hamstring problem, which hindered him from training frequently in the build up towards the meeting, the Nigerian was the first to react at the sound of the gun in the deciding race and had a brilliant 60m, which was timed at a blistering 6.35! He was however gun down by Gatlin, who took control of the race at the 80m mark.

"Olu was clearly leading at 60m when Gatlin came back. They had 6.35 for 60m, which is the best ever recorded behind Ben Johnson 6.33 in Seoul."

"Gatlin passed (him) at 80m....If he had stayed focused 'well who could do so in this case!?' he would have run around 9.80."

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