Belfast Telegraph

Agonising end won't damage my proud legacy, insists Bolt

 

By Jack de Menezes and Luke Brown

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.

"After the injury, I pretty much tried to get home quickly to treat it," Bolt said.

"I stayed up for a while texting people who were concerned. I woke up and was getting treatment this morning."

The sad end to Bolt's track career 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 compatriot Christian Coleman pushing the Jamaican into bronze medal position.

It triggered suggestions that Bolt could continue his career in order to try and seal the fairytale farewell he was hoping for - something he 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. 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.

Bolt holds the world records over 100m and 200m of 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds respectively, which look likely to stand for a long time.

He insisted he will not be back to try to set any new ones.

"I've seen too many people retire and come back into the sport just to make it worse or to shame themselves," he said. "I won't be one of those people."

The eight-time Olympic gold medallist insisted that his struggles at the World Championships will never damage his legacy.

"I don't think one Championship is going to change what I've done," said Bolt.

"I remember after losing the 100m someone said to me, 'Usain, no worries, Muhammad Ali lost his last fight also, so don't be stressed about that'.

"I've proven myself year in, year out, throughout my career."

Meanwhile, Sir Mo Farah wants to be known as 'Mohamed' when he starts the next chapter of his career.

The 34-year-old claimed a silver medal in his last track championship race in London.

Farah is now switching his focus to road racing and wants it to be a fresh start, with the four-time World champion ditching 'Mo'.

He said: "My road name is Mohamed. I just feel like Mo is done. I need to forget about what I've achieved and what I've done."

Independent News Service

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