Bolt laughs off idea he's 'past it' after loss
OSLO (AP) - Usain Bolt laughed off suggestions Tuesday he may be `past it,' saying he's looking forward to defending his world championship titles in the 100 and 200 meters.
Bolt, who will run the 200 meters at the Bislett Games on Thursday, said he has his "eye on the prize'' of the worlds in August in Moscow.
He said he's not concerned after coming off a rare defeat in the 100 meters last week.
Bolt lost by one-hundredth of a second to American sprinter Justin Gatlin in Rome, marking the Jamaican's first significant international loss since the false-start disqualification at the 2011 worlds in South Korea.
"I'll just point something out. In `08, I lost one race and I won the Olympics that year,'' Bolt said. "(The loss to Gatlin) doesn't say much. All I'm concerned about really, is the championship.
"Running the runs, getting into shape, figuring out what I need to do to get to the championship.''
Bolt is the world record-holder in the 100 and 200, and any slight dip in form will attract attention. His dominance is being questioned while rivals Gatlin, Tyson Gay of the U.S. and Jamaican teammate Yohan Blake challenge him this season.
Bolt said he respects them all.
"Never try and single out one person to see who's the strongest, because in track and field people get injured all the time,'' Bolt said. "If I focus on one person and they get injured, then what? Then you have to change your focus and you may not be ready for that other person.
"So for me, I just work hard and try to be at my best when those seven persons are lined up against me.''
Bolt will face local favorite Jaysuma Saidy Ndure on Thursday. The 28-year-old set a season-best time of 10.13 in the 100 in Rome last week.
"I always look forward to running against him,'' Ndure said of Bolt. "I know he's going to push me again into another season's best.''
Bolt isn't underestimating the Gambia-born Ndure.
"For me, anything is possible. You never know what's going to happen on the day. Hopefully, he doesn't beat me,'' said Bolt, who wants to be the first to break the 20-second mark in the 200 this season.
Bolt was asked again about his lackluster start to the season.
"I'm not really worried,'' he said, with a resigned laugh. "I'm always confident in whatever I am doing. As long as my coach is not worried, I'm not worried, and my coach is not worried. So I'm definitely confident that I'll be up to standard, that I'll be able to perform to defend my titles.''
The 26-year-old said his fans shouldn't worry, either.
"I keep explaining to everyone that for me it's never about one-off events,'' Bolt said. "They keep worrying but for me, I show up at the championship. That's my aim because it's all about medals.''
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