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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014
CWG 2014: Glasgow goes gaga as Usain Bolt touches down
AP
Glasgow, July 28, 2014
First Published: 01:51 IST(28/7/2014)
Last Updated: 02:02 IST(28/7/2014)

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 on Saturday, 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.

"I have to be honest," one Australian reporter said to Bolt. "None of us are here for work, we are actually here as fans. We were wondering if we could get a Channel Ten selfie with you."

The request was quickly and politely rebuffed, and the awkwardness was broken by a question on Bolt's left foot.

"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. 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 in the 4x100 relay heats on Friday will be his first competitive action all year.

"As long as there's athletes and there's eight lanes there's always competition," he said. "For me, it's something to add to my accolades over the years."

A hamstring injury prevented Bolt appearing at the 2006 Melbourne Games and the logistically-troubled Delhi Games were badly timed for him in October 2010.


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