Usain Bolt criticised English sprinter CJ Ujah for opting not to compete at the Commonwealth Games.
Ujah chose to focus on the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, where he was disqualified for a false start in the semi-finals, and is instead training in the United States.
As the Diamond League champion over the 100metres, a crown he won in the aftermath of last year’s World Championships in London, he would have been among the favourites for gold. Ujah recorded a time of 10.15sec in Arizona five days ago, which would have been enough for silver at the Commonwealth Games.
Asked about Ujah’s no-show, Bolt said: “I feel that the Commonwealths is an important stepping stone. I would have done it. People make decisions, you don’t know why. For me, I was very keen on coming here as I look at this as a major championship.
“I want every gold medal in my cabinet. I’m not one of those persons that says the Commonwealths is not important. For me, I find it very important. If they don’t show up, that’s their loss.”
Ujah’s absence has meant that none of the British 4x100m relay team who won gold in London last summer is now competing here.
Adam Gemili pulled out of the 100m final with a thigh injury picked up in his semi-final, while Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake was a late injury withdrawal and Danny Talbot is also on the sidelines recovering from injury.
The England team’s options are depleted for the relay, the quartet of Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Richard Kilty, Zharnel Hughes and 110m hurdler Andrew Pozzi now the only realistic options for tomorrow’s qualifying round. Despite his stance on the issue, Bolt raced at just one Commonwealth Games, in Glasgow four years ago, where he was part of the 4x100m relay team that won gold. He missed the 2006 Games in Melbourne with a hamstring injury and said the subsequent event in 2010 had been “bad timing”.
The athletics has been devoid of many of its global stars but the now retired sprinter insisted the Commonwealths remained a key event for the future.
He said: “A championship for me is a championship. I turned up prepared and ready to go. I see no reason 40 years down the line the Commonwealths won’t be here. I take them seriously.