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Zharnel Hughes on piloting and Usain Bolt’s career advice

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Zharnel Hughes is addicted to speed.

That may come as little surprise given he is the European 100m champion, but while his rivals focus strictly on earthbound feats, Hughes’ “obsession” has taken him to literal new heights.

Last year, the man nicknamed ‘Captain’ by former training partner Usain Bolt attained a private pilots’ licence after completing a solo flight with just five hours of airborne experience – half the time it takes most trainees.

“To one day be Olympic champion and a commercial airline pilot, that’s the dream,” says Hughes before winking and breaking into a beaming smile.

A Caribbean superstar living in Jamaica, the British athlete is charismatic and confident, but there is no hint of arrogance.

“Heartbreaking” experiences – such as missing Rio 2016 through injury and being disqualified at last year’s Commonwealth Games – kept him humble, as did growing up in Anguilla – where he hopes to launch an aviation business.

That, though, is for the future – this week athletics has his full attention.

In Doha he hopes to become Great Britain’s first 100m world champion since Linford Christie in 1993 and break his British record of 9.87 seconds, which has stood for 26 years.

Timetable and main events for Doha 2019

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