Bolt ready to run despite 'setback'

Usain Bolt admitted yesterday that he had suffered "a small setback" in his preparations for his 2011 track campaign but insisted: "I am fit and ready to start my season."

The 24-year-old sprinter is due to run his first race of the year in the Golden Gala IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome a week today and in an interview in the Jamaica Gleaner he allayed fears that a congenital back condition, which caused him to cut short his 2010 season after he lost to Tyson Gay over 100 metres in Stockholm last August, might delay his competitive schedule for this year.

Bolt was born with scoliosis, a curvature of the lower spine, and has paid two visits to Munich since the turn of the year to receive treatment from Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt, the German sports doctor known as "Healing Hans," whose list of clients has included the footballers Michael Owen and Cristiano Ronaldo. "Scoliosis is not as serious as it sounds but for me, as a track athlete, it can be serious," the 100m and 200m world record holder said. "I work really hard to keep it away but it's still there."

Bolt said that he had visited Müller-Wohlfahrt "for my regular check-up" but confessed that his preparations for the track season had not gone entirely to plan. "I wouldn't say it's the perfect start to the season," he said. "Yes, I've had a small setback but it's getting there and I'm now looking forward to my first race in Rome. I know people have been questioning if I am OK but I'm fine. I feel good. I'm looking forward to getting the ball rolling.

"I think I have lost about 8lb-10lb so I have trimmed down a little and I believe more muscles have gone on. I've gotten much more muscles."