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Bolt predicts he can run 9.54 for 100 meters

LONDON (Reuters) - Triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt predicted on Tuesday he could reduce his own world 100 meters record to 9.54 seconds when the right opportunity comes.

Usain Bolt of Jamaica reacts after winning the men's 200 metres race during the Super Grand Prix athletics meeting at the Stade Olympique in Lausanne July 7, 2009. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud (SWITZERLAND SPORT ATHLETICS)

Bolt clocked 9.69 seconds in last year’s Beijing Olympic final despite celebrating his victory before he had crossed the finish line.

The 22-year-old Jamaican, who will race against compatriot Asafa Powell over 100 meters at the London grand prix on Friday, told a news conference his coach Glen Mills had told him he could run the 100 in 9.54.

“If the coach says so, he’s always right,” Bolt said,

Bolt clocked 9.79 seconds at the Paris golden league meeting last Friday despite a poor start and damp, chilly conditions.

Only American double world champion Tyson Gay, who will run over 200 meters at the two-day meeting at Crystal Palace, has run faster this year with a time of 9.77 seconds in Rome.

Bolt said he had to do more work on his 200 before challenging Gay at the Berlin world championships from August 15-23 after losing a month’s training following a car accident this year. He stepped on thorns when he climbed out of the car and needed a minor operation on his left foot.

“Running the curve was really hard for me,” he said. “I couldn’t do anything on the curve. I lost a month so my speed and endurance is really low.

“The worlds are really important to me, it’s going to be hard against Tyson.”

Bolt, who also broke the world 200 record in Beijing and was a member of the Jamaican team who set a 4x100 world record, was asked how he coped with his new fame.

“The best thing is that a lot of people go out of their way to help me,” he replied.

“There’s not much downside but sometimes I want to be left alone to chill out. I just stay inside and play video games all day.”

Editing by Nigel Hunt