January 22, 2019 / 7:18 AM / 6 months ago

Athletics: Bolt the 'business man' worried about Jamaica’s future

KINGSTON (Reuters) - Sprint great Usain Bolt said on Monday the current generation of Jamaican athletes had it too easy and that they were not working hard enough to get to the highest level.

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - International Friendly - England v United States - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - November 15, 2018 Former sprinter Usain Bolt during half time REUTERS/Darren Staples

The eight-time Olympic champion’s last competitive meet was the 2017 world championships in London, where Jamaica managed just one gold and three bronze medals, including Bolt’s third place in the 100 meters.

“I think a lot of these athletes, I think it’s much easier now for them,” Bolt told reporters on Monday. “When we were coming up it was a struggle.”

Bolt, who still holds the 100m and 200m world records, said Jamaica had a deep talent pool but with athletes being handed lucrative contracts as soon as they left high school there was a doubt about motivation.

“They are happy with whatever, so for me, hopefully these athletes can motivate themselves because we are not lacking of talent, we have a lot of that and I’ve seen it a lot throughout the years,” he added.

“But when they get to the senior level now, they are not motivated and they don’t work hard enough to get to the level of a Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake or Shelly Fraser-Pryce or these guys, so it is all about the work and they need to motivate themselves.”

Bolt also signaled that his hopes of playing soccer professionally were at an end. The 32-year-old was unable to agree a contract with Australian side Central Coast Mariners late last year after a trial.

“I don’t want to say it wasn’t dealt with properly, but I think we went about it, not the way we should and you learn your lesson, you live and you learn,” he said.

“It was a good experience. I really enjoyed just being in a team and it was must different from track and field and it was fun while it lasted.”

Bolt, who won Olympic sprint gold medals in Beijing, London and Rio, said his focus now was on his business endeavors.

“I’m just doing many different things ... the sports life is over, so I’m now moving into different businesses, I have a lot of things in the pipeline, so as I say, I’m just dabbling in everything and trying to be a business man now.”

Editing by Peter Rutherfordpeter.rutherford@thomsonreuters.com; +822 3704 5698 ReutersMessaging: peter.rutherford.reuters.com@reuters.net

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