Monday 19 February 2018

'It was unusual' - Usain Bolt has his say on events leading up to injury at World Championships

Jamaica's Usain Bolt (2R) reacts after injuring himself as team-mates try to help him during the final of the men's 4x100m relay athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Antonin THUILLIER (Photo credit should read ANTONIN THUILLIER/AFP/Getty Images)
Jamaica's Usain Bolt (2R) reacts after injuring himself as team-mates try to help him during the final of the men's 4x100m relay athletics event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships at the London Stadium in London on August 12, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Antonin THUILLIER (Photo credit should read ANTONIN THUILLIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Jack de Menezes

Usain Bolt has spoken for the first time since ending his career in World Championship agony after he was struck down with injury in his final appearance before retirement.

The 30-year-old bowed out in the worst possible way on Saturday night as he pulled up during the anchor leg of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay effort, with the world’s fastest man inheriting the baton in third place behind eventual winners Great Britain and the United States.

Bolt collapsed on the track clutching his left hamstring, but after refusing help in the aid of a wheelchair, he dragged himself back onto his feet and across the finish line one final time despite being in visible agony.

“After the injury, I pretty much tried to get home quickly to treat it,” Bolt said at a press conference late on Sunday night. “I stayed up for a while texting people who were concerned what was going on. I woke up and was getting treatment this morning. I will see what it is tomorrow [Monday] to see if it is worse than I think it is.”

The Jamaican relay team hit out at organisers for the delay caused to Saturday’s final event as the medal ceremony for the women’s high jump overran, meaning that the likes of Bolt and the rest of his competitors were kept waiting for nearly 45 minutes after warming up for the race.

Bolt was not fussed about the delay – with the relay beginning 10 minutes later than scheduled – but was more unhappy with being kept in the call room for so long where the athletes were unable to jog and run in order to stay warm, something that Bolt described to his teammate Yohan Blake as “crazy”.

Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Men's 400 Metres Relay Final - London Stadium, London, Britain – August 12, 2017. Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake of Great Britain wins the final as Usain Bolt of Jamaica appears injured. REUTERS/John Sibley
Athletics - World Athletics Championships - Men's 400 Metres Relay Final - London Stadium, London, Britain – August 12, 2017. Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake of Great Britain wins the final as Usain Bolt of Jamaica appears injured. REUTERS/John Sibley

“It was unusual. I knew I had to stay warm,” Bolt added. “We got into second call room to stride out which was fine. But we were taken to the area behind the boarding to be ready to run, but we waited there for 10-15 minutes.

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“Why bring us out if we are going to stand there? They decided to do medal ceremony. What am I going to do? We are athletes who are going to follow the rules."

The sad end to Bolt’s track career, which came just a week after he was beaten in a major final for the first time since the 2007 World Championships as American sprinter Justin Gatlin beat him to 100m gold, with his compatriot Christian Coleman also beating Bolt to push the Jamaican into bronze medal position.

It triggered suggestions that Bolt could continue his career in order to try and seal the fairy tale farewell that he was hoping for – something he immediately dismissed – but there were also questions over his desire to continue after the Rio Olympics and whether London 2017 was a year too far.

“No, I’m fine. My fans wanted to see me compete for one more year,” Bolt explained. “Without them, I wouldn’t have accomplished everything over the years. If I could come out here and give the fans a show, that’s fine with me. That’s all I wanted.”

It had been rumoured before the World Championships that he could run one last time at a Diamond League meeting in Zurich, but the chance of that happening now appears slim following the injury that ended Jamaica’s relay hopes.

Independent News Service

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