Jamaica Gleaner / LONDON, England:
Devastated after watching Usain Bolt clutch his hamstring and crash to the floor during the anchor leg of the Men’s 4×100 metres relay, his teammates are among those who are blaming a 30-minute wait as a possible cause for the iconic sprinter’s injury.
The trio of Omar McLeod, Julian Forte, and Yohan Blake had safely transported the baton into the hands of Bolt, on anchor, with the Jamaican in touching distance, with American Christian Coleman and Great Britain’s Nathaniel Mitchell-Blake on the last leg.
Bolt, however, suffered the injury some 20 metres after taking the stick and pulled up in agony 10 metres later.
Forte, McLeod, and Blake all complained about the wait and believes that that, coupled with the chilly conditions, contributed to the Bolt’s injury.
Their argument was supported by American sprinter Justin Gatlin, who noted that the teams were held in the Call Room – a pre-race holding area – for over 30 minutes in their running gear, making it difficult to stay warm.
“I knew something bad would happen to someone. It was madness,” Gatlin said.
Forte believes that the organisers should look seriously into the delay and have it addressed.
“They kept us in the Call Room extremely long in our running kits. We were getting cold, and it’s not the warmest weather over here, and they kept us a while. I think they really need to look into that and do something about it,” said Forte.
The race itself went off close to 10 minutes after its scheduled 9:50 p.m. start.
“It was ridiculous! We were there waiting. I think they had, like, three minutes, and we were really trying to stay warm, but it was really ridiculous. We waited a really long time,” added an emotional McLeod, who said that he was desperate to help send off Bolt with another gold medal. “I drank like two bottles of water.”
The event was won by Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 37.47 seconds, with the USA taking the silver in 37.52. Japan were third in 38.04.
“It’s tragic,” Blake lamented. “Everything didn’t go according to plan. They were holding us too long in the Call Room. The race was 10 minutes late, inside was really cold, and Usain said to me ‘Yohan, I don’t like this’.”
“We kept warning up, jumping up and down. I think the weather got the better of us. We were waiting too long, and there was a hell of a walk as well. It was just crazy and to see a true legend of the sport to go down like that, and we as Jamaicans and the world don’t like to see that. We wanted him to go out in style, and we went out there to give it our all, and it came to that,” Blake added.
It was Jamaica’s first loss in a Men’s 4x100m relay at the World Championships since 2007.