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Bolt ready to run his best

04 June 2013, 18:02

Rome - Usain Bolt is looking forward to performing at his best again after being slowed by a hamstring injury a month ago.

The 100-meter world record-holder makes his European debut this season at Thursday's Golden Gala meet.

The six-time Olympic champion ran the 100m only once this year, narrowly edging one of his training partners in a photo finish in the Cayman Islands on May 8 with a relatively slow time of 10.09 seconds.

"I did have a bad performance but we went back to the drawing board and worked out everything. We figured out what went wrong. I'm confident now," Bolt said on Tuesday. "It's a long season. Last season started badly also, so I'm just going to keep working.

"My hamstring is much, much better now," he added. "I'm training hard and hopefully everything this season will continue to be good."

It's the third consecutive year Bolt is running at the Stadio Olimpico. He won in 9.91 in 2011 and in 9.76 last year.

Bolt's 100 world record of 9.58 was set at the 2009 world championships in Berlin.

"I'm feeling great. I've been doing lot of work on my speed endurance the last couple of weeks," Bolt said. "Everything is coming together. I'm happy where I'm at and my coach is happy where I'm at. I'm looking forward to going out there and doing my best."

The 100 field in Rome includes London Olympic bronze medalist Justin Gatlin and American teammate Michael Rodgers, both of whom have run under 10 seconds already this year. Kim Collins, the 2003 world champion from St. Kitts and Nevis, is also running.

Gatlin should be Bolt's biggest challenger.

"I never worry about one athlete," Bolt said. "The big championship is always the big thing or me. He's done a lot this season already but for me it's when you show up and show that you're the best at the big championships and that's what I do, so I'm not really worried."

Preparing for the world championships in Moscow in August, Bolt will also run the 200 in Oslo next week; the 4x100 relay in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on June 27; the 200 in Paris on July 6; and the 100 and 4x100 relay in London on July 26-27.

Also later this month, Bolt will return home for the Jamaican championships.

Meanwhile, Bolt also paid tribute retiring Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson. Known as a big United fan, Bolt has often said - half-jokingly - that he would like to try playing football when his track career ends.

"Me and Alex were friends so now that there's a new manager I'm worried it's going to be a little hard for me to make the team," Bolt said.

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- AP


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