Friday, January 19, 2018

Bolt defends Commonwealth quality


Bolt on show: Double Olympic champion at the 100 and 200 metres, Usain Bolt of Jamaica poses with local schoolchildren and the mascot of the Commonwealth Games “Clyde” at a press conference at the main press centre for the Commonwealth Games Glasgow 2014, in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday. —Photo: AP

Mark Fraser

 Athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are among the best in the world and the event has not been affected by big name withdrawals, six-time Olympic champion Usain Bolt said yesterday.

With the likes of double Olympic champion Mo Farah and Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake forced to pull out of the Games with injury, the quality of the competition had been called into question.

But the towering Jamaican, who confirmed he would run in the 4x100 metre relay heats, is confident the remaining athletes can still dazzle the Scottish crowd.

“I think the athletes that are here are top tier and they will try and perform,” Bolt, who will take part in his first Commonwealth Games after missing the 2006 and 2010 events, told reporters.

“The Games will go on and they will be good. As long as there are athletes and eight lanes there’s competition.

“I don’t think anybody dropped out on purpose, it’s all about injuries. It happens in the big Olympic Games and World Championships, sometimes just things go wrong at the last 

moment.” The arrival of the world record holder at 100m and 200m in Glasgow was met with great fanfare from the world’s media and the 27-year-old posed for photographs in his customary “lightning bolt” celebration with children.

“I have always wanted to compete in the Commonwealth Games. I strained my hamstring so I couldn’t go to Australia,” said Bolt, who confirmed he would stay in the athletes’ village during his time in Glasgow.

“The second one was in India in October and November, so it was a bad time for me because the World Championships were coming up.”

With the 4x100m relay heats getting under way at Hampden Park on Aug. 1, Bolt, who has struggled with injuries so far this season, said he was fit and raring to go having decided not to compete in the individual events.

“I didn’t want to take anybody’s spot because I didn’t go through the trials so I thought I’d do the relay,” he added.

Fitness wise I have done a lot of training this past month. I have been really pushing 


“I’m not yet in running shape so hence why I’m running the heats to get a few runs in.”