Olympic sprint great Usain Bolt sees struggle ahead for Jamaica’s men at the world championships, claiming the Caribbean nation’s “spoiled” young sprinters lack the discipline to train and the hunger for success. Bolt, who won eight Olympic gold medals and led Jamaica through a golden era in sprinting, said he felt motivation levels had fallen since his retirement after the London world championships in 2017.
“I don’t think it is going to get any better because I think these youngsters are a little bit spoiled,” the 32-year-old told Reuters from his home in Kingston on Tuesday, pointing to their attitude to training.
“I must say yes about that when it comes to sprinting in Jamaica right now on the male side. When I was around I think the motivation was there and we worked hard and the level was high, but now that I have left the sport, I feel like it has dropped. Not that I’m saying (it’s) because I left the sport, but now that I have left, it has dropped for me and Glen Mills, who is a top coach that I look up to.”
The 100 and 200 metres world record holder’s comments echoed sentiments put forward by Jamaican sprint coaches Mills and Stephen Francis, who feel the nation’s male sprinters are not cutting it at the highest level.
Bolt bowed out of London with a bronze in the 100m and suffered a hamstring injury during the 4×100 relay as Jamaica’s men’s team missed out on a medal for the first time since 2005 in Helsinki.
The Jamaican men also had a disappointing Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast last year, picking up bronzes in both the 100m individual and relay events despite the relatively weak fields.
Bolt was more positive about Jamaica’s hopes in the women’s events at the Sept. 28-Oct. 6 world championships in Doha, with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson jointly holding the year’s best time of 10.73 seconds in the 100m.
“Again I think that the females will do well,” said Bolt. “If we are going to fail, it will be on the male side, but I feel like the females will hold up their end and will do well, but we’ll see what happens.”
Bolt said Jamaica’s women simply had more ambition and drive than their male counterparts.
“It’s the fact the females, I must say, are smarter,” he added. “I personally believe that because they want to be rich … They want to be great, they want to accomplish things in life so they work towards certain things. They want to develop and go on to do big things. I don’t think that the males are there.”