Track superstar Usain Bolt no Silver Ferns fan
MATT RICHENS IN GLASGOW
The Silver Ferns are likely to have one of sport's biggest superstars barracking against them on Wednesday night.
The New Zealand netballers take on a Jamaican team who's list of fans included Usain Bolt.
Bolt is at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and at a press conference this morning (NZ time) said watching and supporting the Sunshine Girls was on his list of must-dos.
Bolt will not compete in the 100m or 200m in Glasgow and his only shot at a medal is with the scorching hot favourite Jamaican 4x100m relay team.
He has plenty of training to do before then, but was also keen to see some sport and support Jamaica.
"I definitely want to see the relay girls and the netball team play," he said.
And when the Ferns, who have won their opening two matches against Malawi and Scotland, meet Jamaica on Wednesday night (NZ time), Bolt's relay team aren't expected near the track.
Meanwhile, the six-time Olympic gold medallist confirmed he will not just turn up for a golden Glasgow gallop in the final of the 4x100m men's relay, he plans to run in the heats too.
There had been a thought Bolt might miss the heats and save himself for the final, but the 27-year-old said that would not be the case.
"I need to run," he said.
"This is my first run of the season."
Bolt missed the Jamaican trials and said that was the reason he did not enter the 100m and 200m sprint.
"I didn't want to take someone else's place in the team.
"We worked out that I could still run in the relay so I'm going to."
COMM GAMES STILL ELITE
Bolt said athletes competing at the Commonwealth Games were among the best in the world and the event has not been affected by big name withdrawals.
With the likes of double Olympic champion Mo Farah and Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake forced to pull out of the Games with injury, the quality of the competition had been called into question.
But the towering Jamaican, who confirmed he would run in the 4x100m relay heats, is confident the remaining athletes can still dazzle the Scottish crowd.
"I think the athletes that are here are top tier and they will try and perform," Bolt, who will take part in his first Commonwealth Games after missing the 2006 and 2010 events, told reporters.
"The Games will go on and they will be good. As long as there are athletes and eight lanes there's competition.
"I don't think anybody dropped out on purpose, it's all about injuries. It happens in the big Olympic Games and World Championships, sometimes just things go wrong at the last moment."
The arrival of the world record holder at 100m and 200m in Glasgow was met with great fanfare from the world's media and the 27-year-old posed for photographs in his customary "lightning bolt" celebration with children.
"I have always wanted to compete in the Commonwealth Games. I strained my hamstring so I couldn't go to Australia," said Bolt, who confirmed he would stay in the athletes' village during his time in Glasgow.
"The second one was in India in October and November, so it was a bad time for me because the World Championships were coming up."
With the 4x100m relay heats getting under way at Hampden Park on Aug. 1, Bolt, who has struggled with injuries so far this season, said he was fit and raring to go having decided not to compete in the individual events.
"I didn't want to take anybody's spot because I didn't go through the trials so I thought I'd do the relay," he added.
Fitness wise I have done a lot of training this past month. I have been really pushing myself.
"I'm not yet in running shape so hence why I'm running the heats to get a few runs in."
Bolt fielded a number of strange requests, ranging from being asked if he would wear a kilt to journalists seeking a ''selfie'' - along with his opinion on the Scottish separation referendum in September and the Gaza conflict. He made no direct response to either of the political questions.
- Stuff, Reuters, AP