News ID: 198560
Published: 0252 GMT August 13, 2017

Jamaicans blame delays for Bolt’s final race injury

Jamaicans blame delays for Bolt’s final race injury
Usain Bolt (2nd R) pulls out injured in the men’s 4x100m final at World Athletics Championships in London on August 12, 2017.
Photo by: TOM JENKINS/THE OBSERVER

The Jamaican relay team hit out at the World Athletics Championships’ organizers in London as Usain Bolt labeled the delay to his final race on Saturday “crazy”, with the sprint legend ending his career in agony after being struck down by injury.

As Great Britain powered its way to a stunning gold in the men’s 4x100m relay with the third-quickest time in history, Bolt was struck down midway through his stint with what has been revealed as cramp in his left leg, The Independent reported.

The race started 10 minutes later than planned, with the teams being held in the warm-up area for nearly 30 minutes before they were able to run out into the London Stadium, and Bolt’s teammate Yohan Blake spoke afterward of their concern with how the preparations were dragging on.

The concern was so great that Bolt turned to Blake before the raise to express his unhappiness, and Blake furiously hit out at organizers immediately after the race after having to watch the women’s high jump medal presentation overrun.

“I think they were holding us too long in the call room,” Blake said on Saturday night. “The walk was too long. Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me, 'Yohan, I think this is crazy'.

“It was 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run. We keep warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting. I think it got the better of us.

“We were over warm. And to see a true legend, a true champion go out there and struggling like that...The race was 10 minutes late, we were kept 40 minutes and it was a 300 meter walk. It was crazy.”

Jamaica failed to finish the race as Bolt lay prone on the track, but he dismissed the aid of a wheelchair to get up and cross the line before waving goodbye to the crowd, with Bolt now unlikely to race in Zurich as had been hinted if the injury proves worse than first feared. The Jamaican team medic, Doctor Kevin Jones, played down any long-term injuries though and claimed the injury was just cramp.

However, Bolt’s other two sprint teammates, Omar McLeod and Julian Forte, were in agreement with Blake that 30-year-old Bolt’s final farewell had been doomed to fail because of the delays.

“It's heart-wrenching,” said 110m hurdle gold medalist McLeod. “I gave it my all and I really wanted Usain to leave golden, or even if it was just a medal, it was really heart-wrenching.

“I couldn't believe it, I'm in shock, utter disbelief.

"It was ridiculous, man. We were there around 45 minutes waiting outside, I think they had three medal ceremonies before we went out so we were really trying our hardest to stay warm and keep upbeat, but it was ridiculous. We waited a really long time. I drank like two bottles of water.”

Forte added, “I really wanted to be a part of the team that sends Usain off in style. Unfortunately it's one of those things, it's part of sport.”

The frustration with the long wait before the race was not contained to the Jamaican team, with USA sprinter and 100m gold medalist Justin Gatlin expressing sympathy for his long-time rival Bolt as he agreed with the cause of the injury.

“You can't really have this night or championship define what he's done in the past. From 2008 on, Usain Bolt has done amazing things. Tonight is not going to define who he is. He is still the man,” said Gatlin, whose USA team finished runner-up to Great Britain.

“This is a farewell tour, we take our hats off to him and we hope he gets better.

“I know it’s TV magic, and everybody has to be prepared on time to make everything happen for the viewers at home, (but) I personally think that we were held in the stadium a little too long without our clothes on, and there was a little draught in there. I lost all my sweat and body heat.

When asked if he thought that contributed to Bolt's injury, the 35-year-old Gatlin said: “I believe so.

"Knowing how Usain performs, he’s always ready, he’s always making sure he’s not injured and it’s very rare to see Usain injured when he comes to performances.”

However, Gatlin believes that London 2017 will not be the last time that Bolt is seen on the track.

“I'm going to win my 100, he's coming back in a year or two,” Gatlin added. “He'll be ready. He has a passion for the sport, he loves the fans, the fans love him. It's something you can't walk away too easy from."

   
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