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Sad farewell as Bolt ends glittering career with injury

Sad farewell as Bolt ends glittering career with injury
From Al Jazeera - August 12, 2017

Usain Bolt pulled up with an injury on the anchor leg of the 4x100 metres relay final at the World Athletics Championships on Saturday as the last race of his unparalleled career ended in high drama.

The 30-year-old had taken the baton for Jamaica a few metres adrift when, straining hard to catch the leaders, he suddenly suffered a hamstring injury, began hobbling and ended up coming to a halt after doing a forward roll on the track.

After a short while, though, he rose gingerly to his feet and limped across the line to huge cheers from the 56,000 crowd.

That was not the only surprise. Britain went on to beat the United States in a tight finish.

READ MORE: Usain Bolt, from strong child to track king

The 60,000-capacity stadium was primed for one last Bolt show, one last "To the World" pose after a victory, but the injury made it blatantly clear why Bolt is ready to retire. His body can no longer hold up.

His teammates on the once-fabled Jamaican sprint squad were far from unmatchable, too. Bolt had just too much to make up in the final 100 metres as both Britain and the US were ahead and even Japan was even.

As Bolt fell to the ground, the leg with the golden shoe giving way, the crowd still went wild because the home team went on to win gold in 37.47 seconds, 0.05 seconds ahead of the US.

The brilliantly executed race by Chijindu Ujah, Adam Gemili, Danny Talbot and Nethaneel Mitchell-Blake gave Britain gold in 37.47 seconds, breaking an 18-year-old national record, and the world title for the first time.

The result means Bolt, 100 and 200m world record holder, finishes his career with 14 world career medals, one behind American Allyson Felix, to go with eight Olympic golds.

Amid wild home celebrations, Bolt was attended to by medics, but refused a ride in a wheelchair off the track, instead finally getting up and limping alongside his teammates through to the finish line and then off into the stadium for treatment.

It was a sad exit for an athlete who has lit up the track when the sport has been dragged through its worst-ever crisis, racked by doping and corruption scandals that went to the very heart of athletics' governing body.

Since confirming his sprinting dominance with triple gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Bolt spent nine seasons amassing 19 global golds, 13 of which have come in individual events.

Allied with a charismatic personality, it has guaranteed Bolt recognition as one of the world's most successful sportsmen. Last year alone he earned $34.2m, according to Forbes.

Al Jazeera's Sonia Gallego, reporting from London, said Bolt would be remembered as one of the all time great athletes.

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