Andre De Grasse pulls out of World Championships days before start date

Manchester United Usain Bolt Jose Mourinho

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"I know you really want me to say gold but that's what I want, I would love a medal and I think that would be a huge success, any colour". De Grasse's withdrawal certainly made things easier for Bolt, who (per betting odds available from the online bookmaker Pinnacle) has gone from a -209 favourite before the De Grasse news broke to -280.

Van Niekerk's potential can not be underestimated and he has been on fire this season, having run personal bests in the 100m (9.94sec) and 200m (19.84) last month, and also setting a new world best time of 30.81sec in the rarely-run 300m in Ostrava - again beating Johnson's previous best.

"The entire year this 100-meter race in London was my focus", De Grasse said in the statement.

Of the 30 best 100m times in history, 21 were achieved by athletes who have served drugs bans, while the other nine have all come from Bolt during a superlative nine-year career which has earned him eight Olympic gold medals and 11 world titles. Bolt hasn't forgotten that race.

"I really feel for Andre", said Athletics Canada coach Glenroy Gilbert.

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"I can't approach it any different".

Gatlin too is gushing about Bolt, whose crowd-pleasing antics have gilded his image as the good guy whilst the American has often been cast as a pantomime villain.

De Grasse had a strong shot at gold in the 200 metres, which Bolt isn't racing in London.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, he said: "Hopefully athletes will see what's going on and understand that if they don't stop what they're doing the sport will die".

In the 200, Andre De Grasse was expected to take over from Bolt, but the Canadian is out injured. The Puma CEO is taking him to watch Arsenal play Chelsea in Sunday's Community Shield at Wembley Stadium. "I'm a competitor, he's a competitor and he has pushed me to be the athlete that I am today".

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De Grasse's injury will keep him out of the Diamond League Finals - the 100 on August 24 in Zurich and the 200 on September 1 in Brussels.

In the 10,000m, the 34-year-old Briton will have to overcome Kenya's Geoffrey Kamworor, the world cross-country champion and silver medallist behind him in Beijing in 2015.

"So for me this has been a 12-year journey".

"Probably on the downside of this, next year is, in track and field, an off year". "We won the right to stage the Games by four votes".

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