Bolt was given a medical exemption by Jamaican officials to compete in Rio after he pulled a hamstring during the country’s Olympic trials and Gatlin wasted little opportunity in trying to get under the his rvial’s skin.
The American said the six-times Olympic gold medallist had been given “a medical pass” to compete and the comment has served only to fuel Bolt’s desire to prove himself on the track.
“I think they have not learned over the years that the more you talk, the more I will want to beat you,” Bolt said. “It’s one of those things but I’m looking forward to it, should be exciting and they will feel my full wrath as always.”
Having won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay at the past two Olympics, Bolt will attempt to become the first to win the three titles at three consecutive Games.
The world’s fastest man, who returned to action in the 200m at last month’s Anniversary Games in London, said he felt he is in better shape than he was for last year’s world championships in Beijing. “I’m feeling much more confident now. I’m much more comfortable with where I’m at. I never try to predict times, because you never know what will happen. But for me the shape I’m in, I’ll say I’m in much better shape, so I think 9.6sec definitely.”
Bolt’s world record for the 100m is 9.58. He ran 9.79 in clinching his third world championships title in Beijing. The 100m final at Rio is on 13 August.
As for the 200m Bolt and his coach Glen Mills have been pleased with the work they have been doing on the bend after some “rust” in London, when Bolt ran 19.89sec.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work since I’ve been here, everything has been going well, I’ve been feeling great and I have no problem so I’m happy with the progress I’m making,” he said. “It was just rust for me, having not run the 200 in over a year pretty much, but now I’ve familiarised myself back with the work, and it’s just about going out there and executing.”