Canadian sensation had been due to take on Bolt in 100m but is no longer competing amid claims Jamaican had say in who would race
USAIN BOLT and organisers of tonight’s Diamond League meeting in Monaco have denied botting Andre de Grasse out of the 100m field because the sprint superstar was running scared of his new young rival.
De Grasse, who won 100m bronze and 200m silver behind Bolt at last year’s Rio Olympics, has been tipped as a natural successor to the Jamaican who quits after next month’s World Champships.
The 22-year-old Canadian had been due to line up against Bolt in the 100m today – the last race the Olympic champion has before London 2017.
But now he is only competing as part of the Canadian 4x100m relay team – thus avoiding a head-to-head with Bolt, who is yet to run under 10 seconds over the distance this year.
De Grasse’s coach Stuart McMillan said: “We were in the race. We got booted out. That’s all on Bolt.
“Let’s just say he wanted not such an elite field against him.
“The fastest guy in the world gets to choose the field. But I don’t blame him at all. This is his last year, he’s only raced twice.
“I totally understand that he doesn’t want to increase the pressure prior to Worlds by going in with a potential loss.
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“If anyone deserves the right to choose the field, it’s Bolt.”
But Jean-Pierre Schoebel, director of the Monaco meeting, told SunSport : “I am surprised because we discussed it with the agent and it was a discussion about money.
“We don’t have the budget and we stopped the discussion because we couldn’t find the money, so I don’t see why now there is a problem.
“Usain Bolt never said who he wanted to race against. He said here on Wednesday he was ready to face every athlete. But we are not able to pay every athlete.
“I wish we were rich enough to have all the best athletes here.
“Bolt is a great athlete, I think everybody believes it, and what he said yesterday is very clear, he is ready to face everybody and in London hat the world championships he will face everybody.”
Bolt’s management team have also refuted McMillan’s claims, insisting they had no role in the make up of the field.
Bolt has raced only twice over 100m so far in his final season before retirement with victories over realitvely weak fields in 10.03 seconds in Kingston, Jamaica, and 10.06sec in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Even without De Grasse, he faces a big step up in Monaco for his last race before next month’s London World Championships.
South African Akani Simbine has broken 10 seconds eight times already this year, while the field also contains Britain’s Chijindu Ujah – who ran 9.98sec to win the Rabat Diamond league last week.
De Grasse raised eyebrows when he ran 9.69sec in Stockholm last month, but that time came with enormous wind assistance and he is yet to run a faster legal time this season than 10.01sec.
Asked in Monaco on Wednesday about the new breed of sprinters including De Grasse and American Christian Coleman, he said: “The youngsters who are coming up are doing great. But I’m never worried about any one athlete. You always find youngsters coming up.”