Athletics

Zharnel Hughes flattered by Bolt comparison

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Zharnel Hughes has been dubbed the new Usain Bolt due to a talent and fearlessness that makes him confident this will be a World Championships to remember.

It has been a rather frantic few months for the 20-year-old, becoming 200 metres national champion just weeks after first arriving in the United Kingdom.

Hughes hails from the Caribbean island of Anguilla - a country so small that it is not recognised by the International Olympic Committee, which is part of the reason he followed compatriot Shara Proctor in seeking clearance to represent Great Britain.

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The sprinter knows he will have to get used to the odd 'Plastic Brit' jibe, but says he has been widely accepted and is proud to wear the jersey.

That pride will no doubt be reciprocated should the wider public this week see a glimpse of why he has been compared to Bolt, whom he trains alongside at Racers Track Club in Kingston, Jamaica.

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"It's a lot of fun training with Bolt, to be honest," Hughes said. "He's very funny, as he is on the track. He is very motivational and very hard working.

"When you see somebody like that and you see he's the world's fastest man, it makes me as a youngster, who is still coming up, work even harder. Training with Bolt is a great experience.

"I just like training with him because the way he trains, makes me want to train even harder."

Bolt's sole advice to Hughes has been to enjoy the sport and his constant smile suggests that information has been taken on board.

Hughes has been understandably flattered to be compared to the world's fastest man, but wants to make his own name in the sport - something you would back him to do given his talent and fearless nature.

Asked if Bolt can be overcome, Hughes said: "Anybody is beatable, yeah, if they have a bad day on the track. Anybody is beatable in this sport.

"My mum always told me 'fear no man, fear only God' so I have no fear. I know I can do great things so it's just 'go there and execute' now."

That confidence does not appear to spilling into cockiness, though.

Hughes believes a World Championship podium finish is within his grasp, although he realises there is still a lot of improvements to make.

"For me, just to get through the rounds and make it to the finals (is a great achievement)," he said

"Once I get into the finals, if I get a great lane it's just running from there, having a lot of fun, staying relaxed, power all the way home and try and get a medal and lower my PB."

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Topics:
Athletics
Commonwealth Games

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