Usain Bolt’s Olympic quest is in doubt, after the sprint superstar left Jamaica’s national championships with a hamstring injury shortly before he was going to run in the 100-metres final.
Bolt’s long-time rival Yohan Blake won the 100m title and formally qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics – but only after a false-start disqualification call against him was overturned after review.
But even after Blake regrouped and prevailed, all the buzz was about Bolt, 29, especially since the national meet serves as the Jamaican Olympic trials.
He’s not out of the Rio Games, but his status hinges now on how he does at a meet in London in three weeks. Bolt said he was diagnosed with a Grade 1 hamstring tear – the most mild sort – and that the discomfort began presenting itself in his quarter-final race on Thursday night.
“I have submitted a medical exemption to be excused from the 100m final and the remainder of the National Championships,” Bolt said in a statement. “I will seek treatment immediately and hope to show fitness at the London Anniversary Games on July 22 to earn selection for the Olympic Games in Rio.”
Blake, who finished second to Bolt at the 2012 Olympics in the 100m, said he was confident that the world-record-holder will be in Rio.
“No doubt, no doubt, no doubt,” Blake said. “It’s just a caution measure. He’s good. Just being cautious.”
Blake won the 100m final in 9.95 seconds, 0.01 ahead of Nickel Ashmeade. Jevaughn Minzie was third in 10.02 seconds.
Bolt’s absence was announced on social media but never to the crowd, which left many of the green-and-gold-clad fans wondering what was going on with the national hero who would likely be considered the favourite to win the Olympic 100m gold for a third consecutive time – something no man or woman has ever accomplished.