Bolt in confident mood ahead of final races

The Jamaican sprinter aims for another 100m world title, while Israeli hopes for a medal rest on triple-jumper Minenko.

Olympic gold medalist and world champion Usain Bolt (photo credit: REUTERS)
Olympic gold medalist and world champion Usain Bolt
(photo credit: REUTERS)
As his long, illustrious career reaches its end, Usain Bolt is confident he will not be overwhelmed by emotion at the World Athletic Championships in London on Saturday and has his sights set firmly on signing off with victory.
In a career spanning over 13 years, Bolt has amassed 11 world titles and eight Olympic gold medals along with the world records for the 100 and 200 meters, becoming one of the most famous athletes in the world in the process.
On the eve of his final two races – the 100m and the 4x100m relay – the 30-year-old said he would be as focused on the finish line as always.
“I can’t approach it any different. It’s just a championship, I have to come out here and look at it and deal with it like a championship so I’m just really focused, I’ve been training hard and I’m ready to go,” Bolt told Reuters.
“For me, I’m always confident. I go there to win at all times. I’m always ready to go, I’m looking forward to the competition so for me that’s it.
I’m just going out there to win this Saturday.”
Bolt will already be in action in the first day of the championships on Friday when he runs in the first round of the 100m.
The semifinals and final will take place on Saturday night.
Andre de Grasse, the triple Olympic sprint medalist, who was supposed to be one of Bolt’s main rivals, pulled out of the championships with an injury on Wednesday, boosting the Jamaican’s chances of a golden swansong.
While de Grasse will be missing, there are others who will want to spoil Bolt’s party, including Americans Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman and Jamaican Yohan Blake.
There will be one gold medal handed out on the opening day on Friday, with local crowd favorite Mo Farah the favorite to win the 10,000-meters final. Farah, who will also compete in the 5,000m, has won both distances in the past two Olympics in London and Rio and is seeking a third successive world double in London. His last global defeat came in the 10,000m in Daegu in 2011.
Israel’s delegation to the championships includes six athletes.
The first to compete will be triple jumper Hanna Knyazyeva-Minenko on Saturday. The 27-year-old finished in fifth place at the Rio Olympics last summer and won a silver medal at the previous Worlds in Beijing two years ago.
However, Knyazyeva-Minenko isn’t among the favorites to reach the podium in London after undergoing foot surgery following the Olympics and struggling for fitness for much of the past year. Her season-best jump of 14.17 meters is well short of her personal best of 14.78m from the Worlds two years ago. Knyazyeva-Minenko, who only competed for the first time this year in late June, will take part in the qualifiers on Saturday afternoon, with the women’s triple jump final to be held on Monday.
Israel’s five other representatives will enter the fray on Sunday.
Marhu Teferi and Girmaw Amare will compete in the men’s marathon, with Maor Tiyouri and Korlima Chemtai to run the women’s marathon. Also Sunday, Marharyta Dorozhon will take part in the women’s javelin qualifiers.
Dorozhon booked her place in London with a throw of 63.07 meters to win the Maccabiah title last month.
Dorozhon is hoping to make up for heartbreakingly missing out on the Olympics in Rio last summer, setting the IAAF Qualifying Standard for Rio in 2015, but failing to register a throw of over 60 meters in 2016 to secure her place, largely due to injury.