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Bolt predicts 9.54 seconds in 100m dash

TRIPLE Olympic champion Usain Bolt predicted yesterday he could reduce his own world 100-meter record to 9.54 seconds when the right opportunity comes.

Bolt clocked 9.69 seconds in last year's Beijing Olympic final despite celebrating his victory before he had crossed the finish line.

The 22-year-old Jamaican, who will race against compatriot Asafa Powell over 100 meters at the two-day London Grand Prix on Friday, told a news conference his coach Glen Mills had told him he could run the 100 in 9.54.

"If the coach says so, he's always right," Bolt said.

Powell was the last man to beat Bolt, winning in Stockholm exactly a year ago, and has a best of 9.72 set last September. "He's a great athlete and a great performer," Bolt said of Powell. "Our (personal best times) are not very far apart."

Bolt clocked 9.79 seconds at the Paris Golden League Meeting last Friday despite a poor start and damp, chilly conditions. Only American double world champion Tyson Gay, who will run the 200 at the two-day meeting at Crystal Palace, has run faster this year with a time of 9.77 seconds in Rome.

Bolt said he had to do more work on his 200 before challenging Gay at the Berlin world championships from August 15-23 after losing a month's training following a car accident this year. He stepped on thorns when he climbed out of the car and needed a minor operation on his left foot.

"Running the curve was really hard for me," he said. "I couldn't do anything on the curve. I lost a month so my speed and endurance is really low.

"The worlds are really important to me, it's going to be hard against Tyson.

"I have never backed down from any challenge out in front of me. Rivalry is always good. It excites me in a way to know that there's somebody out there that could beat me."

Gay's time in Rome matched his own United States record, while the 26-year-old from Kentucky posted a 19.58 over 200 in New York in May that is one-hundredth faster than Bolt over the distance this year.

Bolt, who also broke the world 200 record in Beijing and was a member of the Jamaican team which set a 4x100 world record, was asked how he coped with his new fame.

"The best thing is that a lot of people go out of their way to help me," he replied. "There's not much downside but sometimes I want to be left alone to chill out. I just stay inside and play video games all day."


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