Commonwealth GamesSunday, July 27, 2014
Bolt clear of foot injury, ready to compete
Usain Bolt, the world record holder and double Olympic sprint champion, held a packed news conference. He’s running in Jamaica’s 4x100-meter relay team over the final two days of athletics next Friday.
GLASGOW, Scotland — Almost immediately after Usain Bolt landed in Scotland, the level of hero worship afforded to him demonstrated just how important the sprint star’s participation is to the Commonwealth Games.
The Jamaican has never raced before at the Commonwealths, and his slow recovery from a foot injury had put this appearance in doubt.
Despite skipping the individual sprints, Bolt insists he will honour a commitment to enter the relay — both the heat and a probable final.
“I am here to run,” the six-time Olympic champion said yesterday, fresh from the airport. “I will be running definitely.”
Bolt seemed affronted to be asked if there would be a late withdrawal like distance runner Mo Farah, who has the same management representation.
“That’s a very weird question,” Bolt said, burying his head in his hands in disbelief. “Yes, I am here to run, I don’t see why else I would travel all this way to Glasgow.”
It was a rare probing inquiry at a news conference in Glasgow attended by many giddy reporters seemingly there to pay homage to the world’s fastest man, and leave with personal mementos. Even for a Bolt briefing, the level of sycophancy was high as futile attempts were made to present him with a kilt and pose for selfies.
“The injury has completely gone, fitness wise I’ve done a lot of training over the past month,” he said. “I’ve been really pushing myself and I’m in pretty good shape, but I’m not yet in running shape, hence why I’m running the heats just to get a few runs in.”
“I won’t be doing a lot of races this season, just four,” he added. “I’m just taking my time trying to get myself into running shape, but not to push myself too much and then get injured again. I’m focused on just getting through the season.”
Bolt’s appearance on the Hampden Park track in the 4x100 relay heats on Friday will be his first competitive action all year.
Emily Seebohm successfully defended the 100-metre backstroke gold medal she won at New Delhi four years ago to continue Australia’s domination in the Commonwealth Games pool yesterday.
Australia had three more wins and has earned eight golds in three nights in the water. That’s helped the country move level with England on overall gold medals — 17 each — after 70 of 261 medals to be awarded before the games end on August 3.
Chad le Clos of South Africa, who beat Michael Phelps in the 200 butterfly to win gold at the London Olympics, added the Commonwealth title in the same race.
Adam Peaty of England won the 100 breaststroke, relegating Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa to second.
At the velodrome, it was another productive day for the Australian and New Zealand teams, who picked up nine of the available 12 medals. Australia is clear at the top of the cycling standings with 15 medals overall. Anna Meares set herself up for a record sixth Commonwealth gold when she won her sprint semifinal — she’ll face fellow Australian Stephanie Morton in today’s final.
New Zealand extended its winning streak in rugby sevens to 28 matches with a 59-0 win over Barbados at Ibrox Stadium. With earlier wins over Scotland and Canada, New Zealand qualified for today’s medal round.
England continued its domination of the triathlon events when it won the mixed teams relay, with South Africa second, and Australia taking bronze.
Veteran shooter Michael Gault of England equalled the Commonwealth Games record for podium finishes when he took bronze in the 10-metre air pistol.
Herald staff with agencies