IT MAY have taken him longer than 9.58 seconds to make up his mind, but the fastest man on the planet finally looks set to compete at this summer’s Commonwealth Games.
In a statement on his official website, Usain Bolt confirmed he is ready to run in Glasgow and said Scottish fans have flooded him with messages of support.
The 100 and 200-metre world record holder, who has been struggling with a foot injury, may have to limit his participation to the relay, depending on the selectors’ stance towards him missing an official trial at the Jamaican championships this weekend.
There have been doubts if Bolt would be fit to compete after he pulled out of events in Paris and Ostrava earlier in the season.
However, a Commonwealth gold is the only major title the six-time Olympic gold-medallist and eight-time world sprint champion does not possess and he has expressed a desire to take part.
The statement, entitled “A message from Usain”, read: “I am not ready to compete at the Jamaican championships this weekend but I have informed the JAAA [Jamaican Athletics Administrative Association] that I am available for selection for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and have submitted the relevant documentation.
“I do not wish to take the place of anyone who qualifies this weekend in an individual event but am available for relay duty if the selectors feel I can be an asset to the Jamaican team in Glasgow.
“I have received lots of requests, invitations and messages of support from my fans in Scotland who are looking forward to a great event.”
His involvement in Glasgow 2014 would be a major boost for organisers as the 27-year-old has never before competed at a Commonwealth Games.
In 2006, he was due to go to Melbourne but pulled out because of a hamstring injury and, four years ago, he missed the Delhi Games to concentrate on the 2012 London Olympics.
However, Allan Wells, who won Olympic gold in the 100 metres at the Moscow Games in 1980, said he was “disappointed” that fans would not see Bolt run in the individual events.
He said: “Don’t get me wrong, at the end of the day it’s great that there’s a strong possibility Usain is coming to run at the Games. I’m a bit disappointed for the fans who will only see him running in a team event and that’s assuming he is selected for the relay.
“I would have liked the spectators to have had the chance to see Usain close up preparing to run in the 100 or 200 metres and giving it his full commitment – the relay is not the same.
“I spoke to him last November and he was receiving a lot of positive feedback in respect of Scottish fans who made it clear they wanted to see him run.
“He was aware of the strength of public opinion towards him and he made it clear he wants to compete but ultimately he is guided by his coach.”
Wells added: “The Jamaican team will probably win gold if they get the baton round but it’s not a foregone conclusion.
“We should be aware that the Commonwealth Games will continue with or without Usain Bolt and look forward to the event.”
The heats of the men’s 4x100m relay will be held at Hampden Park on Friday, 1 August, with the final the following evening.