Still alive: Bolt pleased with Ja's male sprinting resurgence; hopeful Seville will medal in "wide open" men's 100m in Paris

By May 02, 2024
BOLT...I am really hoping Oblique can break into the top three this time around. BOLT...I am really hoping Oblique can break into the top three this time around.

Take it from the incomparable Usain Bolt that the race for the men’s 100m title at this summer’s Paris Olympic Games will be wide open, as he is yet to identify any clear favourite to stake a claim on the coveted gold medal.

Bolt, whose words carries the weight of his unparalleled legacy, gave his views on the possible Olympic outcome, as he also shared thoughts on the progress of male sprinting in Jamaica, which he believes remains alive with the emergence of Rohan Watson, Oblique Seville, Ackeem Blake, Ryiem Forde, and Kadrian Goldson, in particular.

Seville has been the main protagonist on that list, as he has consistently knocked at the door of a global 100m medal over the years. He placed fourth at both the 2020 Olympic Games and last year’s World Championships.

The 23-year-old’s rise from promising newcomer to bona fide contender has captured the imagination of Jamaican track and field enthusiasts at home and abroad. With blistering speed and unwavering determination, Seville has carved out a name for himself as one of Jamaica's most promising talents, and along with the others, carries the hopes of a nation known for its sprinting prowess.

“I think these athletes represent our chances, but it is all about execution. I think over the past years, it (Jamaica’s male sprinting) has been struggling, but I do think that Oblique has been keeping it alive,” Bolt, the ambassador for Red Stripe’s ‘Guh Fi Gold and Glory’ campaign, told journalists during the event’s launch in Half Way Tree on Wednesday.

“He has made all the finals so far; it is just for him to now get in the top three. And I think it's just consistency. I think the one thing with Oblique is that he always gets injured, but hopefully he can be consistent this season and stay on the right path and he'll be fine. So, I'm just looking forward to seeing them,” the iconic sprinter added.

Though American Noah Lyles, who copped the sprint double at last year's World Championships, has been a dominant force, his compatriots Fred Kerly, silver medallist at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, and Christian Coleman are also prominent contenders, while the young generation of Jamaican sprinters –Watson, Seville, Blake, and Goldson –have also entered the conversation.

Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, and Botswana's Letsile Tebogo, are also expected to be in the mix in Paris, while Italy’s Marcell Jacobs and Canada’s Andre De Grasse, the gold and bronze medallists from the 2020 Games in Tokyo, are yet to enter the fray ahead of the global multi-sport showpiece.

While it is still early days yet, Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist and the world’s fastest man over 100m and 200m, expressed optimism about Seville’s Olympic Games medal prospects, as he believes the young sensation has proven that he can match strides with those names on the list.

“Let's see what happens. I think it's early. No one is doing anything, and I haven't seen anything impressive so far. So, I think it is still wide open. I am really hoping Oblique can break into the top three this time around. I think he has always worked hard over the years, and he is always in the final and always doing well. So hopefully, he will break into the top three,” Bolt said.

On that note, Bolt, who is looking forward to a second Olympic Games as a spectator since his retirement in 2017, believes the athletes stand ready to write the next chapter in the country’s storied history of success.

“Overall, we all have high hopes. The throwers, jumpers, everybody. Everyone is doing well, and you can see where they are stepping up. The medal tally will be good as always. Jamaica always shows up. We always get at least five medals, and I think we are aiming to get eight to 10 medals in Paris,” he shared.

“I think the athletes will (maintain their performance). Jamaica is always up there. We are still the sprint capital of the world, and I think we will continue to dominate,” Bolt ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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