Team GB men’s 100m sprint stars hope for Tokyo success in post-Bolt era

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CJ Ujah led off Britain’s relay-winning quartet in London in 2017. Photo: MV4R Photography

With reigning Olympic champion Usain Bolt having retired since winning in 2016, CJ Ujah from Enfield believes he can be the man to succeed one of the biggest names in sport by winning men’s 100m gold at Tokyo 2020.

“I’m looking to go out there and be competitive and challenge for the gold medal,” said the 27-year-old who was part of the quartet that won the 4×100 metres relay at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.

“I would definitely say this is a different CJ, completely. I’m more experienced,” he added.

“I’m really excited. The hard work is done. It’s about acclimatising and getting ready for your race.”

Ujah’s 10.03 season’s best is the fastest run by a British man this year, although he followed it up by winning the national title in 10.05 in Manchester.

Meanwhile, teammate Reece Prescod admitted that he is “relieved” to be competing at the Olympic Games after a year in which he has struggled.

The 25-year-old from Walthamstow won 100 metres silver at the 2018 European Athletics Championships and is the fourth-fastest British man in history with a best of 9.94 seconds.

Reece Prescod broke 10 seconds for the first time in 2018. Photo: MV4R Photography

However, his fastest time this season is 10.13 and he was picked at the discretion of selectors after only coming fifth at the Olympic trials in Manchester.

“I was just relieved that they trusted in my ability,” said Prescod ahead of Saturday morning’s 100 metres heats.

“I’ve had to really struggle this year with moving coaches,my body has not been great, but over the last couple of weeks we’ve found some really good form.”

With the hope that last-minute adjustments and training will pay off, the Enfield & Haringey club runner said: “I’ve done a lot of background work.

“I’m just praying I can get down to 9.9 seconds because I’m a sub-10 runner and I just want to get back down there.”

Zharnel Hughes is the reigning European champion. Photo: MV4R Photography

Zharnel Hughes was unfortunate to be disqualified for a false start at the British Athletics Championships, but was also picked by selectors after running 10.06 in his semi-final.

Hughes is trained by Usain Bolt’s former coach Glen Mills and ran 9.91 in 2018 to put him second on the UK all-time list behind Linford Christie’s 9.87 record, which has stood for nearly two decades.

“First time being at the Olympics and I’m grateful and I’m excited to get started,” he posted on his Instagram account.

“Time to make the magic happen.”

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