Faster than Bolt? Sprinter Kilty challenges Walcott and Bellerin
British sprint champion dismisses Arsenal speed claims and offers to race flying Gunners
The man they call the 'Teesside Tornado' has challenged Theo Walcott and Hector Bellerin to put their money where their mouths are and prove they are as fast as they claim. British sprinter Richard Kilty, the world and European 60 metre champion, is not in the habit of seeing a rival's back and was more than a little surprised to hear reports that Bellerin can cover 40 metres in 4.42 seconds, faster even than Walcott - the Gunner who goes like greased lightning.
Bellerin's alleged time is not only quicker than Walcott's, it would also leave Usain Bolt trailing in the Spanish full-back's wake. Not many sprinters have managed to pull off that feat over the years against the quickest man in history and the athlete who has dominated the sprint events at the last two Olympic Games.
So sceptical is Kilty of Arsenal's claims that he issued a challenge live on Talksport's Tuesday Drivetime show. "I'd be happy to put £30,000 down and maybe if Walcott and Bellerin would do the same, which would leave a pot of £90,000, we could donate half the winnings to charity," the 25-year-old sprint champions suggested. "I would love to do it, it would be a great and fun experience and it would be great for the public to see as well."
Kilty isn't just cautiously optimistic he would breast the tape first, he's oozing confidence that he has what it takes to annihilate the Arsenal duo over 40 metres. "They're both great footballers, they're great at what they do and I've got massive respect for them, " explained Kilty, who ran 6.49 seconds last year in winning the World Indoor Athletics 60m title. "But when the media say a footballer could beat Usain Bolt it's a bit ridiculous… I'm the world champion over 60 metres and Bellerin is claiming to be faster than Usain Bolt over 40 metres."
Describing Bellerin's reported time of 4.42 seconds as "impossible", Kilty added: "I would gladly run a race to show the world that footballers run nowhere near the speed professional sprinters can… I'm one of the fastest 60 metre sprinters on earth and I've seen how footballers run and it is absolutely impossible - unless I pop a hamstring or something - that those guys could beat me."
And in a final act of bravado, Kilty even offered to change his footwear to give Bellerin and Walcott a sporting chance of success. "I'd put football boots on and beat them on the Emirates pitch. It would be as clear as daylight, it would be an embarrassment for them."