Race for 100m world title wide open without Usain Bolt – Adam Gemili
Great Britain’s Adam Gemili insists the race for the 100m world title is wide open without Usain Bolt.
The 25-year-old is eager to make his mark ahead of the 100m heats on the opening day of the World Championships in Doha on Friday.
It is the first global championships without Bolt since 2003 after the eight-time Olympic champion’s retirement following London 2017.
Gemili will run with team-mates Zharnel Hughes and Ojie Edoburun at the Khalifa International Stadium on Friday afternoon and knows it is another chance to fill the gap left by 100m and 200m world record holder Bolt.
Gemili said: “The fact he is not in it now opens it up for new sprinters to try to show themselves. Hopefully I can be one of those guys.
“Having him in that sport is a great thing and he carried the weight of athletics on his shoulders for many years. For me, now he has retired, it makes the job a lot easier.
“You knew if Bolt was competing, the stadium would always be full.
“Sometimes in championships they would struggle to fill it out, if Bolt is running, if you are in that final, then you know it will be full.
“That was a nice feeling. In terms of competing against him, I felt honoured and privileged to have done that.
“For me, as an athlete, he was another person I would try to beat.”
But Gemili, who is also running in the 200m, will ignore any controversy surrounding 100m favourite Christian Coleman.
The American, the fastest man in the world this year, can run after initially being charged in August with missing three drugs tests, which he denied.
He was facing a one-year ban but USADA withdrew the charge after guidance from the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Gemili said: “I try not to focus on it. It doesn’t affect what I do at all. He has run super-fast this year. His situation is his situation.
“What I would say maybe, humility goes a long way in track-and-field.
“It’s a clean slate. When you are running, it doesn’t matter how fast you run, and he is just another competitor for me.
“He has been allowed to compete, which as an athlete, we have no real say in anything. We just turn up.”
Team-mate and European champion Hughes is fifth favourite for the title behind Coleman, defending champion Justin Gatlin, Andre De Grasse and Yohan Blake.
Hughes, who is also out to defend the 4x100m relay title with Gemili, said: “They’re beatable. They’ve had days where they’ve been beaten so why not?
“I’m looking to go there and give it my very best. I’m looking to represent the country, myself and my brand.
“That is to go out there and give it my best performance – not let those guys get into my head – and focus on myself and my execution.”
Elsewhere, Morgan Lake is in the high jump qualification, Holly Bradshaw competes in the pole vault and Tish Jones and Charlotte Purdue run the women’s marathon at midnight local time with temperatures around 33 degrees.