World Athletics Championship 2019 news: Zharnel Hughes reveals Usain Bolt’s ‘motivational’ support
European 100m champion Zharnel Hughes is bidding for a medal at the World Athletics Championhips this weekend… and he has the support of sprinting legend Usain Bolt.
Great Britain's Zharnel Hughes celebrates after winning the men's 100m final race during the European Athletics Championships at the Olympic stadium in Berlin on August 7, 2018. - Hughes finishes first ahead of Great Britain's Reece Prescod and Turkey's E
Hughes is Great Britain’s second-fastest 100m sprinter after Linford Christie, with the Anguilla-born 24-year-old taking gold at last year’s European Championships.
With an eye on Linford’s 9.87s 100m British record and a podium place in Doha on Saturday, Hughes revealed the advice and support he has received from world-record holder and eight-time Olympic champion Bolt.
"I almost flipped and lost my mind," Hughes told BBC Sport when recalling his first meeting with Bolt.
Usain Bolt Jamaica (bottom) celebrates winning the race ahead of Justin Gatlin of U.S. (R) who finished in second and Zharnel Hughes of Great Britain in the men's 200 metres final during the 15th IAAF World Championships at the National Stadium in Beijing
Image credit: Reuters
"My mum and I used to watch videos of him when I was growing up and then there he was, the world's fastest man, breathing in the same air around me and dying just as much as me during training.
"I was young and naive at the time and would sometimes slack off, but Usain is very motivational and I'd watch and learn from his attitude to training.
Even now he's retired, he'll sometimes show up with a stopwatch and be on my case saying, 'That was too slow,' or 'Get out harder'. He watches my Instagram stories as well so I know he's watching and supporting me.
Hughes finished fifth at the World Championships four years ago, but missed Rio 2016 due to a knee injury.
His time of 9.95 at last year’s European Championships was a sign he is ready to compete for a medal.
"It [European gold] was a moment I'd been dreaming of and it was spectacular," Hughes added.
"It put me at the top of Europe which was a goal, but now I have to work 10 times harder to chase down my other targets.
Britain hasn't got any world gold medals since Linford Christie in the 100m or 200m and it's time to break that curse.