USAIN BOLT will call time on his athletics career in England in three years time after Saturday’s Commonwealth Games relay success completed his collection of major medals.
Stockton’s Richard Kilty helped England’s 4x100m relay squad claim a silver medal in the final race of the track-and-field programme at Hampden Park, but the night was all about Bolt as he anchored the Jamaican quartet to a victory that had briefly looked in the balance after a tawdry start.
Jamaica and England were neck-and-neck as Kilty passed the baton to Danny Talbot following a strong display on the third leg of the final, but Bolt was clear within a matter of strides and had opened up a gap of half-a-second by the time he stopped the clock in a Games record time of 37.58sec.
Having already claimed Olympic and world titles, Bolt needed a Commonwealth gold medal to complete his set, and while the extent of his motivation for appearing in Glasgow had been questioned earlier in the week, there appeared to be genuine joy etched over the 27-year-old’s face as he celebrated his triumph.
In the past, Bolt has said he will retire after he has defended his Olympic title in Rio de Janeiro in two years time. But having enjoyed returning to British soil over the course of the last week, the world-record holder is now ready to continue competing until the 2017 World Championships, which will be held on the Olympic Park in London.
“I’ve always said that after Rio I will retire, but they keep saying I should go on to 2017, so I think I might just do that,” said Bolt. “I think that will be my last championships, but I’m just happy I’ve done what I wanted to do in the sport.
“This means a lot. It was the only thing missing from my collection, and I missed a couple of (Commonwealth) Games because of injuries and different problems, so I am happy to be here. Even though I was cold, the reception has been warm.”
Kilty’s silver medal ensured there would be a happy ending to a difficult week for the Teessider, who had failed to make the final of the individual 100m. The world indoor champion has not been selected to compete individually at this month’s European Championships, but is now likely to form part of a British relay quartet that is finally beginning to banish the memories of countless bungled baton handovers.
There was even greater success for England’s 4x400m team, with 19-year-old Matthew Hudson-Smith producing a storming final leg to win gold for a squad that also featured Conrad Williams, Michael Bingham and Daniel Awde.