By Larry Fine
(Australian Associated Press)
Usain Bolt is targeting a first ever sub-19 seconds 200 metres as he homes in on an unprecedented sprint three-peat at the Rio Olympics.
The 29-year-old Bolt has also suggested he might not stop there, leaving open the chance he could extend his career beyond the 2017 season he has previously said would be his last.
After a slow start to 2016 due to ankle problems, Bolt said he was getting back on track toward repeating his sweep of the 100 and 200m golds at the last two Olympics and the gold in the 4×100 relay he also win in 2008 and 2012 with his Jamaican team mates.
“Just to defend my titles, to do the threepeat. That’s my main goal. That’s my main focus,” Bolt said in New York on Tuesday.
“My secondary goal is to try and run sub-19,” added Bolt, who set the world 200m record of 19.19 in 2009. “That’s something I really want and I hope that everything goes smoothly and I can get it. That would be a big step for me.”
Bolt said he has been gradually rounding into shape.
“I’m feeling OK,” he said. “My coach says my fitness is not exactly where he wants it to be.
“Starting out this season I had a problem with my ankles and it was a setback but not that bad. We’re getting back on track and he’s happy with the progress I’m making.”
Bolt said he would ramp up his preparations carefully so he could end his Olympic career with a flourish.
“I have two months before (Jamaican) trials and three and a half months before the championships,” he said. “I’ll keep pushing myself and hopefully everything smoothes out and I’ll be at my best when the Olympics comes around.”
Bolt said he would run his first race in Cayman, then in Ostrava and then at his coach’s June meet in Jamaica before the trials and then on to the Diamond League meeting in London.
He said his coach Glen Mills wanted him to leave the retirement door open.
“Coach says I shouldn’t say I want to retire just yet, I should focus on the year and see how I feel after the (2017) world championships (in London),” he said.
“And if I still feel like I want to retire, I should. But he says to give it a chance, because I think my coach is pushing for me to go a few more years. We’ll see what happens.”
“Personally, I don’t really want to continue for years and years because it’s getting hard. I have to sacrifice more and more. It takes up so much of your time.”
In any event, Bolt said he would not treat 2017 like a farewell tour.
“I’m never going to come out and joke or be a joke in a season. I’m a winner. I believe in winning. I hate to lose. I will never come out and say it is a farewell tour. I will want to compete at my best, go to the championships and win again.”