GLASGOW (Reuters) - Six-times Olympic champion Usain Bolt anchored Jamaica to the 4x100 meters relay gold with an emphatic finish to win his first Commonwealth Games medal on Saturday.
The eight-times world champion ran an impressive final leg as Jamaica came home ahead of England and Trinidad & Tobago in a new Games record of 37.58 seconds on a wet night in Glasgow.
Jason Livermore, Kemar Bailey-Cole, who won the 100 meters on Monday, and Nickel Ashmeade ran the first three legs but all eyes were on Bolt, the 100 and 200 meters world record holder.
The towering sprinter collected the baton level with England anchor Danny Talbot but eased powerfully away to the line with his inimitable long stride to easily secure the gold.
“It means a lot. Commonwealth gold is the only medal missing from my collection,” Bolt told the BBC.
“I’m happy to be here and sorry I didn’t manage to run the individual events because the energy out here is wonderful.”
It was Bolt’s first Commonwealth Games and, after a number of high-caliber withdrawals from many of the track events, his presence in the relay had been hotly anticipated.
The 27-year-old did not disappoint. Looking relaxed before the final, he danced to the stadium music and waved to the crowd, who were rewarded with a typically dominant run.
There were concerns that the difficult conditions, with the track carrying surface water for much of the night, could mean the race would not live up to its billing, but the rain subsided in time for a thrilling finale to the athletics at Glasgow 2014.
England’s quartet of Adam Gemili, who took silver in the 100, Harry Aikines-Aryeetey, Richard Kilty and Talbot got themselves into a promising position to defend the title won by their country four years ago in Delhi.
But they could not contend with Bolt’s blistering pace and had to settle for silver in a time of 38.02 seconds ahead of Trinidad & Tobago, who took bronze 0.08 seconds behind them.
Jamaica’s new competition-best time beat one that had stood for 16 years, when England ran 38.20 seconds in Kuala Lumpur.
The Jamaicans celebrated on the track but the night belonged to Bolt whose gold medal performance was a fitting way to bring the athletics to an end ahead of Sunday’s closing ceremony.
Reporting by Sam Holden; Editing by Ken Ferris