Special Correspondent

Johnson did not expect Bolt to break his record in Beijing

Martina’s disqualification left many shattered

BEIJING: The world knows that he is lightning quick on the track. There are two world records as proof.

Usain Bolt, the sprint champion in the Olympic Games, wants to be known as ‘Lightning Bolt’, the media nickname that has been given to him even before he reached Beijing.

Thrilled to break the world record on the eve of his 22nd birthday, Bolt was reacting to the former 200m world record holder Michael Johnson calling him as the Superman.

“I am Lightning Bolt! I am not Flash Gordon or anybody. My name is Bolt, Lightning Bolt”, said Bolt, as he addressed the media after the historic 200m race that he won at 19.30, a new world record.

Michael Johnson had agreed that Bolt would take his record one day, but did not expect that to be in Beijing.

Fast track

“I told myself, If I am going to get the world record, it is going to be here because the track is really fast”, observed Bolt, who loves the 200 more than the 100.

“The 200m has been my love since I was 15. I was the youngest-ever to win the world junior championship. From that day on, it has been dear to my heart. I did a lot of work on the 200m and everything came together tonight. I blew my mind, and then I blew the world’s mind”, he said.

Bolt stressed that the victory and record meant a lot for him and his country.

“I spoke to the Prime Minister on the phone and he told me that everybody was on the streets. He told me that I had written history”, said Bolt.

On being compared to Michael Phelps, the eight-gold wonder, Bolt said that it was not a fair comparison.

“I don’t want to be compared to Michael Phelps. He is a great athlete and to have won eight gold medals is amazing. I am on the track, and he is in the water. You can’t compare. I would like to congratulate him on what he did”, said Bolt.

Commenting on the talent back home, Bolt said that there were more athletes who were getting excellent guidance from the coaches.

“My coach has taken me to be a double Olympic champion, and a double world record holder”, he said with gratitude.

It is tough to race Bolt, and if you try to catch up with him too hard, you may end up without medals.

The originally second placed Churandy Martina and the third placed Wallace Spearmon learnt it the hard way, at the end of the 200 metres final as both were disqualified for lane violation.

Disappointed, but…

“I was very happy when I won a medal. I ran fast. Then they told me that they (USA) sent a protest and I lost my medal. I was very disappointed. But I can’t do too much. I stepped on the line and they saw it. It is bad for me, I guess, and good for them. I have got to move on. I was very sad that I lost my medal, but I know what I am capable of. I am just going to practise and come back harder the next time”, said Martina.

The secretary general of the Netherlands Antilles Federation, Imro Wilgen Van, said that the impact of the disqualification was heavy back home.

“For a country of 140,000 inhabitants, his performance was fantastic. The procedure was not right and not fair”, said Imro Wilgen Van, about Martina being disqualified.

The Director of the national Olympic committee of Netherlands Antilles, Remco Tevreden, wondered as to how the officials did not notice the infringement in the first place.

“Would Churandy have been disqualified if Wallace hadn’t been disqualified and the (US) head coach had not analysed the race?” was the valid question from Tevreden.

“He showed us through the races, that he grows with adversity. This will make him bigger and make him better. Not bitter”, observed Tevreden, about the composure shown by Martina in the face of adversity.

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