Retired Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt has listed the 2015 Beijing World Championships 100m struggle against American Justin Gatlin as one of his toughest ever races.
Heading into the championships, Bolt, who was recovering from injury, was short on fitness with many doubting his capacity to hit top gear. It would have taken a brave man to bet against the Jamaica sprint king but some were convinced an upset was on the cards as the American had looked imperious. Heading into the event, Gatlin had dominated opponents all season to put together a 28-race win streak.
“I was totally not the favourite this time, I could tell that,” Bolt said in an interview with India media outlet Power Sportz.
“This was the first time Justin Gatlin was going to have me chasing after him (wearing favourite tag). But, when I knew he was nervous was when I went into the warm-up area and he was talking to me. That was strange, he never speaks to me. So, it clicked to me that he was nervous as well because this was the first time we were ever going to compete and he was favourite.”
In the end, Bolt only just came past a faltering Gatlin at the death to snatch victory by one-hundredth of a second. Well short of his best, but good enough for gold.
“I [was] happy but you couldn’t see it on my face because it was so much pressure that came off me. I just thought, thank you. For me, that was one of the hardest races I’ve run in my life.” (SportsMax)