Commonwealth Games ‘not damaged’ after Bolt remark

Usain Bolt's reported criticism of the event has not damaged Glasgow 2014. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Usain Bolt's reported criticism of the event has not damaged Glasgow 2014. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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COMMONWEALTH Games officials have insisted that sprint superstar Usain Bolt’s reported criticism of the event has not damaged Glasgow 2014.

Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper said that the games have gone “fantastically” and have not suffered from the comments “in any way”.

Bolt was quick to declare the Games as “awesome” yesterday, just 24 hours after he was reported to have declared them “a bit s***”.

The furore blew up when the Jamaican sprinter reportedly told The Times he was not really enjoying the Games in Glasgow and that the Olympics were better.

Bolt, 27, later said the story was “nonsense”, and his publicist Ricky Simms said the remarks attributed to him were “utter rubbish”.

The sprinter said the Games were “awesome” after he watched the Jamaican women’s netball team play New Zealand at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

At a press briefing today, Mr Hooper was asked whether Bolt’s reported comments had damaged the Games.

He said: “Mr Bolt made his position very, very clear yesterday. I don’t believe it’s in any way damaged the Games. This is a fantastic event, it has gone fantastically.

“The man has made his position very clear. As far as we’re concerned that’s the end of the matter.”

Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy told ITV News: “I haven’t heard anybody who has said anything derogatory.

“It’s a shame if he (Bolt) has, but I would say take the 99.9% of the athletes’ opinions and use them as your barometer.”

Bolt arrived in Glasgow on Saturday and will be running the 4x100m relay heats tomorrow, with the sprint relay final on Saturday, the final day of athletics competition.

Asked on Saturday what he expected from Glasgow, Bolt said: ‘’A lot of rain maybe, seeing a lot of kilts around the place. I didn’t come here with expectations, I’m just coming out and trying to see the country. I guess they will try to show me their culture.”

Meanwhile it was revealed that pop superstar Kylie Minogue will top the bill at the Games’ closing ceremony on Sunday.

Hampden Park will be transformed from a sports arena to a festival of celebration and song with 2,000 volunteer performers lining up alongside the Australian singer and Scottish favourites Lulu, Deacon Blue and Dougie Maclean.

Today there are road closures across parts of Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and East Dunbartonshire as the cycling time-trials take place, with Welsh Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Geraint Thomas among the competitors.

England’s Emma Pooley took silver in the women’s event.

In the pool today Team England have the chance to trump Scotland with the youngest ever Commonwealth medallist today as teenage diving prodigy Victoria Vincent prepares to take the plunge.

Shetland schoolgirl Erraid Davies, 13, won Commonwealth hearts on Sunday by taking bronze in the women’s para-sport 100m breaststroke SB9 final, becoming the youngest ever competitor to win a medal.

But that record could last for less than a week as London-born Victoria, who is also 13 but is nearly two months younger than Erraid, steps up to the 10m platform at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh.

Victoria, whose nickname is VV Voom, was denied the chance to compete in the Olympics, World Championships and World Cup after organisers ruled that competitors had to be in the year of their 14th birthday.

Speaking ahead of the games, Victoria said: “It is going to be a brand new experience for me and it’s going to be great.

“My aim is just to get as much experience as I can and learn from the other divers.”

England’s Jack Laugher, 19, is also looking ahead to his main event, the 3-metre springboard, with optimism today after winning one of two Commonwealth Games gold medals for England’s divers on day one of competition yesterday.

Today will also see Scotland’s Guy Learmonth and England’s Michael Rimmer return to the athletics track as they battle against Kenyan world record holder David Rudisha in the men’s 800m final.

There will also be medals up for grabs in gymnastics, lawn bowls, weightlifting and wrestling.