Sport

Who made the terrible Gonzales blunder?

BY PAUL A REID Observer Writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, August 09, 2012 | 8:49 AM    

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LONDON, England - The real answer is out there somewhere as to who took the final decision to run Jermaine Gonzales in the preliminaries of the men's 4x400m relays yesterday but chances are we will never know it, at least no time soon.

The decision to run Gonzales is one of the many puzzling decisions taken by the Jamaican management team since arriving in Great Britain and starting with a training camp in Birmingham that was supposed to be mandatory but saw several athletes who were not in competition on the circuit turning up late.

Minutes after the athlete finished a disappointing sixth in his first round heat of the 400m in 46.21 seconds, he told reporters he would not be interested in running the relays as he was still struggling with a right hamstring injury that almost forced him to pull out of the competition.

"I am 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 am sure the rest of the guys are running faster than me right now."

Gonzales said he had been struggling with the injury that had caused him to lose a lot of preparation time and he came very close to pulling the plug on his 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 national championships and it did not give me a chance to prepare properly; I have been in an out of treatment and just did not get enough time to prepare to run here today."

A few days ago however head coach Maurice Wilson told the Jamaica Observer that the coaching staff and medical staff were not aware of any medical issues for 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 is the chief doctor here, Dr Winston Dawes and Dr Priamanand Singh, as far as he was concerned they were part of the squad and eligible for selection to run.

On Wednesday morning television images from the training track showed Gonzales and McDonald training with other members of the 4x400m squad as well as 400m hurdles finalist Leford Green, who had anchored the Jamaican team to a bronze medal at the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, South Korea last year.

The Observer was also told on Tuesday that a special run-off to help select the team and test the fitness of the team members was being carried out at the training track that day but Wilson also denied any knowledge of that saying it would not count for anything even if there was a run off.

In the race, Dane Hyatt and Riker Hilton had put Jamaica in a good position to qualify for tomorrow's final before Gonzales ran about 100m before pulling up, throwing down the baton in disgust and disappointment before walking off the track leaving Errol Nolan stranded.

Nolan whose parents are Jamaicans won a bronze medal in the individual 400m and gold in the 4x400m relay for the USA at the IAAF World Junior Championships two years ago in Moncton, Canada before switching allegiances to run for Jamaica.

In Birmingham three weeks ago the University of Houston student told the Observer he had always wanted to represent Jamaica but "was not told of my options then."

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