Commonwealth Games chiefs are in hot pursuit of the fastest man in history, Usain Bolt, to lure him to this summer’s landmark sporting extravaganza in Scotland.
Organisers of Glasgow 2014 are hoping the prospect of running away with gold medals and world records will be enough to persuade the Jamaican sprinter to attend the event.
With just six months until the start, it is looking increasingly unlikely that double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah will compete because of his plans to debut as a marathon runner in London in April.
Coming hot on heels of the announcement that fellow 2012 Olympian Jessica Ennis-Hill is expecting her first child and will not compete, there is fresh pressure on officials to make sure eligible big names make it to this summer’s event.
And officials at the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) say they are doing all they can to persuade Bolt, the greatest sprinter in the world, to line up in Glasgow.
The Jamaican has previously shown interest in competing at the event but is not required to make a decision until June, a month before the start of the Games. The prospect of Bolt missing this summer’s games is a concern for senior officials at the federation, the body responsible for the direction and control of the event.
The CGF’s head of communications, Peter Murphy, said: “As we get closer, both ourselves and Glasgow 2014 will be lobbying for Bolt to be there. We’re in constant touch with his management
“The case we’ll make is that the Games offers an opportunity to break records that have been standing for decades. Usain has won medals at every major event except the Commonwealth Games.
“And he will get an unbelievable welcome. Glasgow will grind to a halt,” he said.
The laid-back sprinter has been called the world’s most marketable sportsman, and his appearance at the event, which will be seen by millions across the globe, would be a major boon for organisers. A Glasgow 2014 spokesperson said: “Each Commonwealth nation will finalise their list of competing athletes much closer to Games time and we are looking forward to welcoming 4,500 elite athletes from around the Commonwealth to Glasgow next summer and a number of leading names have already expressed their intention to compete.
“They will all be striving for gold and glory in a world-class sporting environment and we are focused on creating a wonderful stage for these athletes to shine.”
Games organisers are now seeking 3,000 volunteers to take part in the opening and closing ceremonies, which will take place in Celtic Park and Hampden football grounds.
Live audiences of more than 40,000 people and more than a billion television viewers are expected.
David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014, said: “The opening and closing ceremonies of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will be a moment for Glasgow and Scotland to shine brightly on the global stage, demonstrating the genuine passion and enthusiasm the host city and country have for the Games.”
IN, OUT & MAYBE
• Nicola Adams MBE, 31, boxer: First woman to win an Olympic boxing title.
• Michael Jamieson, 25, swimmer: Scotsman won Olympic silver in 2012.
• Louis Smith, 24, gymnast: won bronze and silver on the pommel horse at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games respectively.
• Jessica Ennis-Hill, 27 (below) current Olympic heptathlon champion: Announced she was expecting her first child.
• Sir Chris Hoy, 37, track cyclist: The Scot is winner of seven Olympic Games medals, six gold and one silver. Retired last year.
• Rebecca Adlington OBE, 24, swimmer: Won two gold medals at the 2008 Olympics. Retired last year at the age of 23.
• Mo Farah, 30. The Somali-born British runner is the 10,000m Olympic and world champion and 5,000m Olympic, world and European champion.