LONDON, England — Donald Quarrie, Jamaica's technical leader to the London Olympic Games, says if anyone is to be blamed for the failure of the Men's 4x400m relay team, he will put his hands up.
"I'm the one who signed off on the decision and made the final call," he told the Jamaica Observer a day after the team failed to complete the preliminaries, with Jermaine Gonzales pulling up on the third leg with a quad injury he had told the media had been bothering him for more than two months.
Quarrie told the Observer that after consulting with Gonzales, his coach and members of the coaching staff, they decided to run what they thought was their best available team.
"We took the decision with Jamaica and the team's best interests in mind," he said.
"We had a meeting with everyone — Jermaine, his coach (Bert Cameron) and the coaching staff as we recognised we were in a tough semi-final (with eventual winners Bahamas and silver medallists USA) and we knew we had to run our best team or we would not be able to get into the finals and Jermaine was part of what we considered our best team with his experience," he said.
Quarrie argued at no time were they aware Gonzales had issues with his quad.
"He told us he was okay, wasn't tired and at no time did he or his coach object to running the relays," he revealed.
Gonzales' inclusion raised questions after he had told reporters after clocking 46.21 seconds for sixth in his first-round 400m heat that he did not think he should be included in the relay team.
"I'm supposed to be the key man in the relays, but as you saw today, I did not run that well. If it was up to me I don't want to run on that relay team as I'm sure the rest of the guys are running faster than me right now," he said then.
Gonzales said he had been struggling with the injury that caused him to lose preparation time and he came close to pulling the plug on his Olympic participation.
"This is not what I wanted," he said. "It's a big disappointment. I have been struggling with a right hamstring problem from before the National Championships and it did not give me a chance to prepare properly. I've been in an out of treatment and just did not get enough time to prepare to run..."
Jamaican head coach Maurice Wilson told the Observer the coaching and medical staff were not aware of any medical issues with either Gonzales or Rushane McDonald, who also complained of severe back pains after his 400m race.
Wilson said until they got word from the team doctors Dr Warren Blake, the JAAA president who was the chief medical doctor there; Dr Winston Dawes and Dr Priamanand Singh, as far as he was concerned they were part of the squad and eligible for selection.
On Friday, Dane Hyatt and Riker Hilton put Jamaica in a position to qualify for the final before Gonzales ran some 100m before pulling up, leaving Errol Nolan stranded.