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Bolt: 'It's not really important who I race'

30 May 2008

By Gary Smith

Usain Bolt, the world’s second fastest man in the history of 100m running, believes that competition will be more important to him, rather than who he actually competes against, as he prepares himself for what is expected to be the most exciting season of his career.

The 21-year-old Jamaican will be up against American double sprint World Championships gold medallist Tyson Gay in the men’s 100m at the Reebok Grand Prix meeting in New York, on Saturday and he said running with the American champion is just another profiled meeting to see where he is at in training.

“This is just part of the schedule. I'm working on some stuff. It's not really important who I race,” said Bolt at the press conference for the meet on Thursday.

“I felt good about my time (9.76 in Jamaica). I was working three months on my start. I'm here just to race. I really look forward to competing against Tyson this year.”

At the Reebok, Gay will be going out to shake off his less than perfect 10.05-secs performance in Carson, on May 18, and Bolt knows that he has to get out to quick start, if he’s not to play catch up again.

Already dashing to back-to-back sub-10 seconds this season, Bolt again is targeting a third – at least that is what he strongly believes will have to beat Gay.

“If I plan to beat Tyson, I'm going to have to [go sub-10],” he said. “My start is the toughest part of my race.

“I think it's because I'm tall. I've just been working hard.”

Despite his success in his short stint in the 100m, Bolt has not forgotten about the event he made a name for himself in.

“Right now the 200 is my favorite race,” he said Thursday. “I've been working for years to perfect this race.

“It was all about my reaction. I've been working on this. I've been working on listening for the gun. It's just the first step, the second step,” he added.

The World Junior 200m record holder and World Championships silver medallist from Osaka, last year is still tentative about the possibility of a sprint double at the Olympics. He, however, stated that although the 200m is the main event, he is still leaning towards running the 100m.

“I don't know if I'll be doubling (in the 100 and 200 meters at the Olympics). I know I'll be running the 100 meters. The goal is to get the gold.”

In Kingston, at the Jamaica Invitational, Bolt ran a sizzling 9.76-sec, which is only second to countryman and world record holder Asafa Powell, who owns the fastest mark of 9.74.

Gay is aware of the danger that surrounds him and said that when Powell gets back to competition and joins Bolt, there will be no number one and number two competition, just "No. 1 and No. 1," he said.

Bolt has been fruitful in New York in the past – encouraged by the strong support from many Jamaicans in the stands, and he is banking on another spirited year at the Icahn Stadium.

“For me, Reebok has been very good every year,” he said. “A lot of Jamaican supporters are coming in for this meet. It's going to be good for me.”

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