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Bolt will break more records, says Mum

Usain Bolt, the fastest man on Earth, will smash his world records yet again if he listens to his mum, she told AFP.

Jennifer Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter's mother, said she had tried simply telling her son to run even faster, but gentle encouragement combined with hard work in training would see him break his already incredible record times.

Bolt goes head-to-head with Jamaican compatriot Asafa Powell and America's Tyson Gay in Stockholm on Friday for the first time since the 2009 Berlin world championships.

Mrs Bolt said she was very close to her 23-year-old son and talks him through the challenges of staying ahead of his rivals when he needs a mother's reassuring advice.

"If he trains well, continues training, he will run faster," she told AFP. Bolt's 9.58 seconds in the 100 metres and 19.19 seconds in the 200 metres, set in Berlin, are the world records by a comfortable margin.

His three gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics transformed him into a global sporting icon.

But Mrs Bolt was not surprised by the way her son rolls back the frontiers of human speed.

"I'm not astonished. I know he can do it. So when the time is right, he'll go out and do his best," she said.

"When it's a good day, I know he'll go out, and the record time will come, if he has a good day. I don't know how fast he can go." Jennifer Bolt, a former sprinter herself, said she cannot simply pull rank and order her boy to run even quicker.

"I tried but he's not doing what I say. He said, 'It's not easy!', she laughed. "We are close. He's very close to me so I always encourage him. We have a good relationship, so we talk as friends. I don't have to force him. I just talk with him and he understands.

"And if it's something that he can't, he says, 'No, Mum, this is not easy,' but he's quite a humble child and so we get on very well." The superstar's famously relaxed demeanour is evident in his mother, who speaks in a quiet, calm manner.

"It comes from both of us, his parents," she said. "And both parents we used to run, so I think he had some of that in his genes." But she said there was much more to being the fastest man alive than genetics.

"It's all down to hard work," she said.

Growing up in the rural Trelawny parish in northern Jamaica, Bolt's family did not have an easy task nurturing his talent.

"You have to make sacrifices growing up in the country, one parent working," Jennifer Bolt said.

"You want to go on vacation, you have to give that up to make provision for school books, bus fares, lunch money and so on.

"When he was 12 years old, he was going to primary school, that's where we noticed that he could run, and then, at the age of 15, when he started high school, he entered the world juniors." Bolt won the 200 metres at the 2002 event in Kingston, becoming the competition's youngest-ever gold medalist. "After the world juniors, that's where we knew that he was going somewhere," his mother said.

Mrs Bolt said she used to get emotional watching her son's early races, but was more relaxed these days.

"Because I know what he can do, I really don't get emotional now as I did at first," she said.

However, "Lightning Bolt" could have taken up a different sport in cricket-mad Jamaica, had his parents Jennifer and Wellesley stepped in.

He used to open the batting for his school team and his 1.95-metre height not to mention his pace makes him a handy fast bowler.

In a charity match last year, he smashed West Indies captain Chris Gayle for six before clean bowling him. "Myself and his dad, we thought he could do much better in athletics," Jennifer Bolt said.

Bolt was speaking in London as part of Procter and Gamble's "Proud Sponsor of Moms" campaign, which will see the US consumer goods giant help mothers to see their children compete at the Olympic Games.

LONDON, AFP.

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