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Sprinter Bolt chasing 200-meter world record in 2014

AFP-JIJI

Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt has set his sights on breaking his own 200-meter world record in 2014 with no competitions to distract his focus.

Bolt, who was last week named IAAF male World Athlete of the Year for a fifth time, captured yet another triple gold haul at the world championships in Moscow this summer, defending his 100 and 200 titles before anchoring the Jamaican team to victory in the 4×100 relay.

But records were off the agenda for Bolt this year despite claiming the world-leading 200 time in Moscow — a situation the 27-year-old is keen to rectify as he plans his strategy for 2014.

“Definitely for this season me and my coach have decided to focus on running faster because there is no championship, so we are definitely targeting the 200 meters,” Bolt said during a visit to Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium on Friday.

“We’ll see what happens. Hopefully I can stay injury-free and everything will go well this season and I can break the world record.”

Bolt set the current 200 world mark of 19.19 seconds and the 100 record of 9.58 at the world championships in Berlin in 2009.

“It’s all about not getting injured this season,” said Bolt. “That’s my focus, and then we’re going to try to push myself and hopefully get the world record and it will all work out.

“We’re going to to run a lot more 200 this season and we’ll see if we can get it done.”

Six-time Olympic gold-medal winner Bolt earlier this year indicated that the 2016 Rio Games would be the swan song to his glittering career at the age of 30, before hinting in September that he could carry on for another year.

But Bolt revealed on Friday that his coach believes he is capable of continuing until the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, even if the athlete himself does not share his enthusiasm.

“At the beginning of the season I had a meeting with my coach, and we were talking about how long I can go on in track and field for,” said Bolt.

“I was saying 2017 would be the max and he said I probably could go to the Tokyo Olympics if I wanted to. I was like, ‘it’s kind of far.’

“So it’s something on his mind and not on my mind. I want to retire in 2017, but even if I don’t run here I’ll definitely be here because I enjoy watching track and field. We’ll see what happens, but I want to retire in 2017.”

Bolt also had words of encouragement for Asian sprinters as they strive to break the 10-second mark, pointing to the example of Frenchman Christophe Lemaitre as the first person of European descent to achieve the feat.

“For me anything is possible,” said Bolt. “It takes hard work and dedication, talent but also focus. Over the years I learned that Christophe Lemaitre did it and there were many others that went under 10 seconds.”

He added: “So for me it’s all about making that first step and deciding that I am going to work hard to get there and then everyone will follow. It’s just about the time and the work and the focus that you put into it that will get you there.

“I never thought I would run 9.58 once. I put my mind to it and I worked hard.”