London 2017: Prescod comes of age as hero Bolt exits the stage

Reece Prescod walked out for the World Championship 100m final with a shy amble, a stranger to the madness that surrounded him.

Cheers, boos and even a few tears, it was that sort of night in London.

But now he is looking to start his own legacy after playing a supporting role in the final act of Usain Bolt’s storied career.

The 21-year old British sprinter underlined his growing reputation, coming through the rounds to finish seventh in the World Championship’s blue-riband event.

But he admitted disappointment that the fairytale ending Bolt planned didn’t go according to script, with Justin Gatlin taking gold and the eight-time Olympic champion settling for bronze.

Prescod, from nearby Walthamstow, grew up watching the Jamaican and never imagined he would one day race his idol in his home city, an experience he will now cherish for the rest of his life.

“Usain has put athletics on the map. He’s taken it to another level and has done amazing things over the years,” he said.

“He’s been everyone’s inspiration at some point, I used to look up to him as a kid and it’s nice to finally meet him and race against him before he goes out.

“That’s one thing I’ll be able to tell my kids in the future, I raced Bolt. Hopefully now I can start my own legacy.

“I don’t feel the pressure, I just take it step-by-step. I train hard, work hard, and do all the right things. I come out here and do my best, and that’s all I can do for the British public.”

Bolt now heads for retirement – and the beach – while Gatlin will be 37 if he chooses to defend his title in Doha.

But perhaps, in the form of Prescod and silver medallist Christian Coleman, both 21, the next generation has finally arrived.

Prescod certainly gave a hint of that under the bright lights of the London Stadium, earning his place alongside Bolt and co in the final with a semi-final performance to remember.

If those in the 55,000-strong crowd didn’t know who the Brit was before then, they soon did as he bounced back from a slow start out of the blocks to surge over the line in 10.05 seconds.

He emerged for the final to remarkable noise, Union Jacks waving left, right and centre in his honour.

And while the eyes of those in the stadium were undeniably set on one man, and one man only, it’s an experience Prescod won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

“I ran a PB in the first round, the second fastest time this season in the semi-final, so I can’t ask for much more than that,” he said.

“Hopefully over the coming years, it will just get better and better. This is just the start of my career.

“For me, it was a great experience, the fans were good and really supportive – I really enjoyed it.

“I can’t really ask for more from myself than that. I gave it my all, it wasn’t good enough today but in the coming years, it will definitely be better.

“It was my aim to get to the final, but at the end of the day, it’s all about taking it one step at a time.”

You can help the next generation of young British athletes by getting involved in SportsAid Week this September with London 2012 hero Greg Rutherford MBE. Find out more about how you can support the week of fun and fundraising by visiting  


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