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Rediff.com  » Sports » Gold Coast Diary: Bolt happy to spur on others by his example

Gold Coast Diary: Bolt happy to spur on others by his example

April 12, 2018 17:35 IST

Former Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt wears a VR headset during a press conference at Gold Coast on Thursday

IMAGE: Former Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt wears a VR headset during a press conference at Gold Coast on Thursday. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

Usain Bolt sometimes still can't quite believe what he achieved in his career but back at the Commonwealth Games as a spectator on Thursday, the former sprint champion was happy to avoid the perspiration and just act as an inspiration to others.

A relay gold medallist at the 2014 Commonwealths in Glasgow, the Jamaican said he was busier than ever after last year's retirement and focused, in the sporting arena at least, entirely on his nascent career as a footballer.

 

The 31-year-old's jet-set lifestyle left him little time for the post-career blues, Bolt said, but he did still frequently take time to contemplate his extraordinary success.

"I sometimes with my best friend say, 'Can you believe it, what we’ve done?' because I'm from the rural area of Jamaica, the country, and I used to play football in the streets," he told a news conference on the Gold Coast.

"I kicked around bottles, anything I could get my hands on, I'd run around in bare feet, at no point in time did I think I would be at this level.

"So for me it's just amazing, sometimes I just sit back and be wowed because I've done so much."

The eight-times Olympic and 11-times world champion said one of the most satisfying aspects of his career was having spurred on others by his example.

"All the time I get messages (or) people see me, not only track athletes or sports people, but just regular people, who say I've inspired them to do well, to work hard, to be a doctor or just do better for themselves," he added.

"For me it's unbelievable, but I'm just happy to inspire people to be better, it's just mind-blowing sometimes."

A packed news conference room at an often near-deserted media centre on the Gold Coast told its own tale of Bolt's enduring appeal but he said he thought it would only be a matter of time before new talents came along to eclipse him.

"It's not always going to be like this, but it's going to take time," he said.

"I’ve said it to a few athletes, this is your time. The sport definitely needs someone to step up and be that person. It's a wide open field.

"(But) I’m still track and field..."

Bolt long ago traded bare feet for state-of-the-art athletics shoes and he said his newest venture, a series of trials with German soccer club Borussia Dortmund, was still in the early stages.

"I'm very serious about playing football, I'm putting in the work, I'm working with Dortmund at the moment," he added.

"They're really helping me figure out in which direction I need to be going in, where I need to improve, to be better if I'm really going to do this.

"I'm not linked to Manchester United, hopefully in the future."

Still very much a fan of the sport which made him a wealthy man, Bolt said he was looking forward to watching the Commonwealth Games 200 metres final, a distance at which he is still world record holder, later on Thursday.

Although he only competed once at the quadrennial gathering of mainly former British colonies, Bolt said there had always been a reason for his absences and he viewed it as a "very important" event.

He was also looking forward to catching up with former training partner Yohan Blake and ribbing him for failing to win the 100m but he had a succinct answer for one reporter who suggested Bolt would be back on the track at the Tokyo Olympics.

"You are very wrong," he chuckled.

Northern Ireland say fined Games boxer 'innocent victim'

Northern Ireland are giving their full support to "innocent victim" Sean McComb after the Commonwealth Games boxer was fined over a disturbance at a nightclub on Australia's Gold Coast.

The light-welterweight, 25, was fined by police following an incident in the Surfers Paradise area early on Tuesday morning, reports AFP.

His Games had ended on Sunday when he was defeated by England's Luke McCormack.

Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC) managers said they had studied CCTV footage "that raises concerns as to the accuracy of the initial information" and had asked Queensland police to review their decision.

"The NICGC has reviewed the latest evidence and determined that team sanctions will not be taken against Sean in relation to this incident and we can confirm that he remains an integral member of the boxing squad and the wider team," said the statement.

 "In our opinion he is an innocent victim in this matter and he retains the full support of the NICGC." The NICGC is seeking legal advice, it said.

Northern Ireland's boxing team were visibly angered by coverage of the incident involving McComb. On Wednesday, coaches and boxers imposed a de facto media blackout, refusing to talk to reporters.

The disturbance reportedly happened at the SinCity Nightclub, the scene of an alleged assault early on Thursday which led to charges against Glasgow 2014 boxing bronze medallist Stephen Lavelle.

An 18-year-old woman was punched in the face and a glass thrown at a man of the same age, cutting his face, police said, adding that investigations are continuing.

"This is not the type of behaviour that we would expect from anybody associated with Team Scotland, past or present," a Team Scotland statement said.

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