'Don't expect super fast times in Rio 100m'

August 09, 2016
@Normal:Michael Frater
Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer Usain Bolt runs during training at a Pre-Games camp in Rio de Janeiro.
Justin Gatlin celebrates his win in the men's 200m final at the US Olympic Trials last month.

?Don?t expect super fast times in Rio 100m?

Jamaica?s Usain Bolt will be hard to beat at the Rio Olympic Games. That?s the expert opinion of 2005 World Championships 100 metre runner-up Michael Frater, Bolt?s teammate at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Frater is, however, expecting a keen battle for the medals behind Bolt.

Speaking about the double defending 100 and 200 metre champion in Kingston on the eve of the Games, Frater said, ?He hasn?t run the fastest time this year but he?s a winner.? Bolt has run 9.88 and 19.89 seconds for the 100 and 200 respectively, but Americans Justin Gatlin, at 9.80 seconds and Lashawn Merritt, 19.73, have the best times of the season so far.

?He knows how to win the big races?, Frater elaborated, ?and once he?s in shape, it?s going to very difficult for anybody to defeat him.?

He reckons that Gatlin, Jamaica?s Yohan Blake and Canadian Andre Degrasse will fight for the other medals. Speaking more about the 100 metres, he said, ?Blake is trending in the right direction and if he?s able to produce his best race in the finals, he?ll definitely get a medal and then you have Gatlin there.?

According to Frater, Gatlin?s improved start is a key factor in the American?s consistently fast running. ?What he has over everybody?, he credited, ?is his start is tremendous.?

?That?s what he has right now?, the 2008 Olympic 100 metre finalist analysed, ?but he knows the big fella will be coming so if he doesn?t panic, it should be a good race although I think he?ll end up losing in the end.?

Blake and Gatlin finished second and third in the 2012 Olympic 100m final with Blake runner-up in the 200 metres. Gatlin placed second in both events last year at the World Championships.

Frater has his eye on Degrasse, the 2015 Pan-Am 100 and 200 champion. ?He was hurt early in the season and now he?s actually getting into form at the right time?, said the Jamaican about the Canadian world 100 metre bronze medallist. Since returning from injury, Degrasse has won all his races except the 200 metres at the Canadian Olympic trials.

Frater, the 2003 Pan-Am 100 metre gold medal winner, doesn?t see lightning fast times coming to the Rio 100 metre final. ?I don?t think they?ll run as fast as they ran in 2012, not at all?, he proposed. ?I just don?t see them performing at that standard?, he observed.

?Even before the Olympics that year, you had Usain run 9.7, Yohan ran 9.7, the US Trials was won in 9.8 low that Gatlin had run back then, Asafa was 9.8 already?, he recalled. ?A lot of guys were running 9.8s before that?, he listed, ?not so many now.?

The fastest 100 metre time so far in 2016 is 9.80 seconds by Gatlin to win the US Trials. World Indoor winner Trayvon Bromell, Jimmy Vicaut of France, Bolt and Akani Simbine of South Africa are the others with times under 9.90 this year, at 9.84, 9.86, 9.88 and 9.89 respectively.

By comparison, Blake beat a sub-par Bolt to win the 2012 National Senior Championships in 9.75 seconds. By then, Bolt had already clicked off times of 9.76 and 9.79, with Powell also clocking a fast 9.85. Ironically, Gatlin had won the US Trials in 9.80 seconds.

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