Usain was a bolt from the blue for Riley
RILEY Day is officially a sprint starlet on P plates since her run-in with track king Usain Bolt enlivened her with something far more valuable than obsessing over technique or race pressure.
"Having fun with it all is lost sometimes by sports people but that experience just told me how important it is," Day said.
Pink nail polish and bright orange toenails suggest the smiling teen from Beaudesert in Queensland is lapping up the lesson to the full in the Bahamas.
The track hopeful is the blue-chip performer among the 75 young Aussie up-and-comers who have landed on the Caribbean island for the Youth Commonwealth Games.
Day was an unknown to all but athletics insiders until a memorable night in Melbourne last summer when Bolt appeared for the mixed 4 x 100m relay at the revolutionary Nitro Athletics meet that engaged more than 7000 fans.
It was Day, then still 16, who was up against the eight-time Olympic gold medallist with wings on his heels on a pulsating night of extrovert expression,
"I've been asked about that race, that night with Usain Bolt, more times than I can count," Day said.
"He was amazing, he congratulated me and I just tried to take in the experience.
"I'm someone who lives in the moment and definitely if there's another moment with Nitro in Melbourne this summer I'd love to be there again. It was the best thing."
Day's slick 23.26 sec best for the 200m is already inside the B qualifying time for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in April and her legs and energy have an A qualifier of 23.10 in them for sure.
She earned her P plates on her first attempt on the bustling streets of Beaudesert just after her 17th birthday in March.
It only highlights how young this new face of Australian sprinting really is because she's taken another week off school from Beaudesert High to race in the Bahamas.
"There was so much to take out of the Nitro event, running in front of a massive crowd for the first time for one thing," Day said.
"Being lucky enough to compete in the Bahamas as part of a big Australian team is valuable for international experience and it would be so good if I could run well enough over the months ahead to qualify for the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
"If I don't I'll definitely go and watch because a home crowd on the Gold Coast will be so good."
Day's improvement suggests she'll be making the team just fine and there'll be thousands watching her.