Bolt gets hero’s reception for Games debut
Usain Bolt has given Glasgow a glimpse of his brilliance and a piece of his mind.
The sprint superstar made his eagerly-awaited Commonwealth Games debut by superbly anchoring the Jamaican sprint team to victory in a relay heat on Friday.
He then set about addressing the media storm caused after a journalist from British newspaper The Times earlier in the week reported him as calling the event “a bit shit”.
“I can’t believe she (the reporter) said that,” Bolt said in a television interview immediately after his race.
“I would never use that word. I love competing and I came here because I wanted to compete.
“People here have been so nice to me. Glasgow has been great, it’s all good so far. It’s just the weather, it got really cold. I am happy to be here and I am enjoying what’s going on.”
Bolt then also hit out at what he perceived as criticism from BBC presenter and former Wales international gymnast Gabby Logan, who had suggested Kirani James was now the most popular Caribbean athlete after the Grenadian stormed to 400m glory on Wednesday.
“I want to say something, all right?” he said, before turning to camera.
“Somebody said they enjoy the Games without (Yohan) Blake and me – yeah you, she knows who I’m talking to.
“… I’m a fun person. I love to have fun. Look at me.”
It was Bolt’s first competitive outing since the Diamond League season-ender in Brussels last September.
He stormed down the home straight impressively before almost jogging in the final metres as he anchored the quartet home in a 4x100m relay heat in 38.98sec.
Despite his alleged slur against the Games and its host city- which he quickly denied on Twitter when the story came out – Bolt received a customary hero’s welcome.
He was greeted with a huge cheer when his name was first read out by the stadium announcer and the roars only grew as he played up in trademark style to the 40,000-plus crowd.
“It was wonderful, just like the London Olympics,” Bolt said.
Bolt’s debut came on a day when pint-sized gymnast Claudia Fragapane became England’s best performer at a Games in 84 years.
The 16-year-old, 137cm Fragapane made history by adding the floor gold to her wins in the vault, individual all-around and team events.
The last Englishwoman to win four gold medals in a single Commonwealth Games was Joyce Cooper at Hamilton in 1930.
Australian Sally Pearson dominated the hurdles just two days after Australian team head coach Eric Hollingsworth was suspended for criticising her as a bad leader for missing a pre-Games training camp.
The Olympic champion clocked 12.67 to beat England’s Tiffany Porter (12.80), completing a golden athletics treble for Australia.
Former world champion Dani Samuels triumphed in the discus and 18-year-old high jumper Eleanor Patterson became the third-youngest individual Australian gold medallist at a Commonwealth Games.
Women’s sprint star Blessing Okagbare saw her bid for a Commonwealth treble remain on track after watching her Nigerian teammates qualify for the women’s sprint relay final while there was a third medal cleansweep of the Games for Kenya in the men’s 3000m steeplechase.
The day started with controversy with Nigerian teenage weightlifter Chika Amalaha stripped of a gold medal after failing a drugs test.
Amalaha, 16, tested positive for diuretics and masking agents after winning the 53kg division last Friday, becoming the youngest ever female to win a weightlifting title at a Commonwealth Games.
England have 48 gold medals, eight more than second-placed Australia, with two days of competition remaining.