No show from Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake but sprint pair are on track for Olympics

Speculation over Bolt's form and fitness following losses to Blake

From 10.30am yesterday, the crowds, the camera crews and the world's media started gathering on the grass banks of the sun-drenched Munrow Sports Centre track at the University of Birmingham.

They were all hoping to catch a glimpse of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake duelling side by side in training ahead of the 100-metres head-to-head that promises to be the confrontation of the London Olympics. They were all to be disappointed. When the Jamaican track and field team's pre-Olympic open training session got under way at noon, the two speed merchants were nowhere to be seen. When it finished, two hours later, they were still conspicuously absent.

It was left to Michael Frater, the captain of the Jamaican athletics squad and a member of the world record-breaking Jamaican 4x100m relay teams at the 2008 Olympics and 2011 World Championships, to field the barrage of questions about his missing colleagues. Asked whether there might be a new Olympic 100m champion crowned in London on Sunday week, he paused for thought about the threat posed by Blake – who beat Bolt over 100m and 200m at the Jamaican trials – but came down on the side of the defending champ. "Usain Bolt is something phenomenal," Frater said. "I wouldn't bet against him."

Bolt and Blake have been in Birmingham for a week, training and living on the university campus, where special 7ft beds have been installed to accommodate the 6ft 5in Bolt. The pair are long-term training partners in the Racers Track Club sprint stable, coached by Glen Mills back home in Kingston and – despite their rivalry – they have been seen working out and socialising together on the campus in England's second city.

There has been much speculation about Bolt's form and fitness following his two losses to Blake at the domestic trials meeting last month but Don Quarrie, the technical manager of the Jamaican team, said: "I'm quite sure Usain is ready to roll. He's been on the track here. His recent performances are close to those he had before Beijing. That tells me he's going to be ready in London."

The sentiments of the 1976 Olympic 200m champion were echoed by Ludlow Watts, the overall manager of the Jamaican team. "By the time Usain gets to the Olympics, he'll be competition-fit," Watts said. "Sometimes in your preparations there may be certain disruptions, but I believe that Usain is adequately prepared.

"He's training very well and by 3 August we will see the real Usain Bolt. I am not aware of any niggles at the moment. I believe he's OK."

Whether Asafa Powell happens to be OK at present is another question. The former 100m world-record holder missed the recent London Grand Prix because of a groin injury and was another notable absentee from the Jamaican training session yesterday.

Frater, one of Powell's regular training partners, said: "I don't know how it's going. As far as I know, he's competing. If anything comes up there are quite a few guys waiting to step in." At the Beijing Olympics four years ago, Jamaica enjoyed a stranglehold of the sprint events, Bolt winning the 100m and 200m in world-record times and helping the men's 4x100m relay team (featuring Frater and Powell) to do the same.

"Right now, it's us against the world," Frater said. "We have a target on our back. Everyone is trying to take us down.

"The US in previous years had a target on their back and we took them down. Now it's us in that position. I think we're ready. I think we'll be able to handle everything anyone throws at us."

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
News
news
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn