Surin believes he can defeat Greene in 100
By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun
VICTORIA, B.C. -- Montreal sprinter Bruny Surin cut to the chase yesterday, predicting that a victory over Maurice Greene at the Sydney Olympics is a real possibility.
Greene, the defending world 100-metre champion and world-record holder (9.79), is considered the early favourite to win the title at the Sydney Games. Just ask him. The brash American has made a lot of noise about destroying the field in the 100-metre final next month.
But Surin isn't buying what Greene is serving, suggesting quietly, as is his way, that he can win the 100 metres and break Greene's world record.
"Some people think Maurice is unbeatable," Surin said. "I don't. I know the game and I'm not afraid of Maurice."
So what makes the veteran Surin so optimistic? The Haitian-born sprinter said he made some major technical mistakes during the 100 final at the 1999 worlds, even though he stopped the clock in a red-hot 9.84, to take the silver behind Greene.
The other thing is, nobody this season has flirted with greatness in the 100. Greene holds the fastest time with a 9.91, followed by Trinidadian Ato Boldon (9.95), Nigerian newcomer Francis Obikwelu (9.97) and American Coby Miller and Donovan Bailey (9.98).
Surin's best time is 10.08, although he has won some big races, including last week's Grand Prix in London.
So, the outcome in Sydney is far from a sure thing.
"If there is a prohibitive favourite, it would be Maurice, with what he has done," coach Dan Pfaff said. "After that, it's wide open.
"This is one of the craziest seasons I've seen in maybe 25 years. Some of it is (because of) the lateness of the Games. I think coaches and athletes didn't really have secure, solid plans on how to attack this thing.
"If you look at the performances on the board (in the 100), it's very erratic. The 100 metres is very weather-sensitive and the European season has been very wet, cold, with crazy winds, so that limits performance."
Hence the less-than-spectacular times posted by Surin, and Bailey for that matter. Pfaff thinks Surin and Bailey, 33 and 32 respectively, will thrive Down Under as underdogs.
"I think Donovan is right where he wants to be," Pfaff said. "He loves being a sniper. He didn't handle being a target (the favourite) very well."
"And Bruny is training better than he ever has."
Said Bailey: "We're old but we're not dead yet."
Pfaff said he is "very worried" about his high jumper, Mark Boswell, heading into the Canadian track and field championships, which begin today at the University of Victoria stadium. Boswell, the defending world silver medallist, has two sore ankles and a bad hip, but reportedly will compete.