Why was Gonzales selected?

By Clare Forrester

Sunday, August 05, 2012    

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It's possibly a good thing that Jermaine Gonzales cut such a fine-looking figure on the Olympic track which he graced in London yesterday because I can't think of one other reason why he is on Jamaica's Olympic team in London.

It was pathetic watching him jog the last 50 or so metres to the finish line in round one of the men's 400 metres.

He later confirmed the obvious in a post race interview with journalists in the mixed zone, he is still carrying an injury and his participation in these games was very uncertain even on the eve of the Games.

The upshot of this is any previous projections for a medal of any colour in the 4x400 metres are now up in smoke. That, in my view, is the first real setback in terms of our chances at these Games. When I made that prediction in my article published in the Jamaica Observer two to three weeks ago, I did note that any hope of a medal in those relays would be based on Gonzales' return to form and fitness.

What I didn't know is that he has been nowhere closer to being fit than he was when he struggled in placing third at the Jamaica Trials. What is puzzling to me is whether his camp knew before he got here that he was carrying a significant injury. He said as much in the post race interview with journalists in the mixed zone yesterday.

This information should and would have been available to us long ago had journalists here covering the Games been given access to the training camp. Someone would have ferreted out the information. We certainly would have known who was fit and who was not. Instead, we were led to believe that the team of journalists who were on hand in London weeks before the Games opened were being unreasonable in their requests for interviews and to get a first-hand view of the conditions in the camp. Readers may recall previous reports published which quoted officials in the camp reassuring the public back home that everything was going well with the athletes. This seems strange now as there were early concerns about Gonzales' fitness that emerged following his below par performance at the Trials.

Surely another 400 metres specialist could have been selected in his place had his injury been disclosed prior to the naming of the team? Experiences like these serve as a reminder about the importance of the media in keeping the public informed. It is to be hoped that this too is used as a learning experience.

The real shocker coming out of yesterday so far, however, is the withdrawal of Kim Collins from the men's 100 metres event by the St Kitts and Nevis team officials for presumably disciplinary reasons. The reason doesn't gel with the Kim Collins I know, but I'm sure there is more to come.





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