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Bolt preparing to complete a full season, says manager

18 May 2006

By Gary Smith

After becoming the youngest-ever World Junior Champion in the history of athletics when he won the title at the 2002 Championships in Kingston, and then sizzled to the record of 19.93 seconds at the age of 17, Usain Bolt has struggled to complete a full season.

It's evident that Bolt is wrapped in talent and when he gets going his performances on the track provide the full coverage. In fact, the 19-year-old sprint sensation has been hailed by several track and field legends as perhaps the man most likely to take the half-lap race close to its status of the late 1990s, when former American sprinter Michael Johnson, the record holder at 19.32, dominated.

However, despite several promising starts, Bolt is yet to deliver since graduating to the senior level of his career because of injury problems, but his manager Norman Peart confirmed that the necessary steps are now being taken to keep him race sharp for a full season.

"We have been spending a great deal of time with his (Bolt’s) fitness," Peart said in an e-mail interview on Monday. "He does special exercises before and after workouts mainly to aid his flexibility."

Entering the 2004 Athens Olympic Games as a favourite for a medal in the 200m, Bolt, who fought throughout the spring and summer of that season with a hamstring problem, failed to recover from the injury and was unsuccessful in his bid to make it past the first round.

A year later at the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, after clocking 19.99 in the build-up to the championships, the Jamaican sprinter faded into last place in the finals of the event, citing another major hamstring injury on his return to island.

It was then suggested that the lanky half-lap specialist should look towards running the 400m, an event in which he boasts a career best time of 45.35, but Peart said the world junior record holder will continue to run his specialty and squashed talk of him running the quarter-mile.

"He will concentrate on the 200m this season," he said of Bolt. "It's very unlikely he will run even one 400m for this season."

Asked when Bolt will make his European debut, Peart said plans are currently imminent.

"A Europe debut is still being worked on but I am very certain that as soon as he is confirmed, this will be on the various websites."

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