Although Jamaica’s Usain Bolt could not win his last 100m of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships, some athletics enthusiasts say he remains the world’s greatest athlete.
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt gestures before the semi-finals of the men’s 100m athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 5, 2017.
Justin Gatlin won the London IAAF World Championships’ 100m with a time of 9:92secs ahead of Christian Coleman returned 9:94secs for the second position, while Bolt returned 9:95secs.
Bolt, who bows out at the championships which began on Aug.4 and ends on Aug.13, had his Nigerian fans showing their respect on the social media platforms for having scintillated the world for 12 years.
Tony Urhobo, a former Athletics Federation of Nigeria (AFN) President, in his reaction described Bolt as a “’true gladiator’’ whose memory would linger in the hearts of many fans.
“Still, I hail the great big man who has thrilled us for over 12 years with scintillating performances on the track. He has been a beauty to watch, a true gladiator.
“He has re-defined the Track game in many aspects and in many ways. I am certain he will continue to be under-studied as a research subject for years to come.
“I know he will endure as an inspiration and influencer for myriads of athletes from all over the world for generations to come.
“Regrettably, we bid farewell to the greatest and fastest athlete of all times, Usain Bolt!’’
Urhobo, now an athletics coach, said watching Bolt’s qualification into the semi-finals was a struggle rarely seen from him, while commending Justin Gatlin.
“We know he is not the quickest off the block, but he was unusually slow that time. I must give it to Gatlin for coming from behind to snatch the World’s gold.
“Although I was on Bolt’s corner, but did you see the frequency of that catch-up run? It was mesmerising, absolutely breathtaking!
“An obvious observation of Bolt’s performance this year was that he was not in the best form he could have been even at this time of his career.
“Watching him for probably the last time in an individual event was an emotionally moving event.
“I do hope he gets his hands on the 4×100m gold; the competition is stiff though,’’ Urhobo said.
The former AFN president said that another touching incident at the 100m final was the booing of Gatlin by spectators, saying “drug cheat tarnishes athletes reputation’’.
“I also want to comment on another moving moment, when Gaitlin bowed to Bolt after winning the race like: `You are still the king, you are still the greatest’.
“Something shifted in my heart for Gaitlin, if you noticed, he was the only athlete that the crowd of spectators noticeably booed during the introduction and after the race.
“The tag of `drug cheat’ has dogged his career ever since his drug bans. I think that a lot of athletics lovers will forgive him after that display of humility, bowing to Bolt,’’ he said.
Saheed Akinpelu, also an athletics coach, said on his Facebook page to congratulate Bolt: “He will always earn respect even after retirement’’.
Divine Oduduru, a five-time African Junior Champion, who adores Bolt took to his Facebook saying: “A big congratulations to you, no matter what, you are my hero.
“The king of track, you ended well,’’ said Oduduru who ran alongside Bolt in the 200m semi-finals of the 2016 Rio Olympics.
In a hilarious comment on his Facebook, Chukwudi John Olisakwe, another young athletes, said that “I will bet with my 2012 running spike that Bolt will always be a legend’’. (NAN)