Dashawn Morris okay with exclusion from 400m

Monday, July 16, 2018

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TAMPERE, Finland — Despite being caught up in a public opinion storm about his exclusion from the individual 400m at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, Dashawn Morris says he is Ok with the decision of the Jamaican team coaches and management.

“Well it was not my decision so anything the coaches decided, I will go with it,” Morris told the Jamaica Observer after running as part of the men's 4x400m team that was later disqualified on Saturday. “Yes, of course I would have loved to run the 400m but it did not happen, so nothing I can do about it.”

Morris, who had a breakout year in the quarter-mile and led the World Under-20 rankings for most of the year with his personal best 45.09 seconds until late in the season, was expected to be one of the two men chosen to contest the 400m, after he was second at the JAAA National Senior Championships behind US-based Chantz Sawyers.

With Christopher Taylor expecting to run the 200m here in Tampere, despite setting a new National Junior Record 44.88 seconds while winning the Senior men's 400m, the expectation was that he would run the half-lap event, leaving Sawyers and Morris to run the 400m.

The prevailing thought process was that Taylor, who also led the World Under-20 rankings in the 200m, would be a shoo-in to win the event, giving Jamaica a shot at one more medal with Sawyers and Morris expected to medal in the 400m.

With an injury to Michael Bentley just before the semi-finals of the men's 100m, Jamaica had one entry in the men's 200m — Xavier Nairne, who made it to the semi-finals as a fastest loser.

In what became a firestorm of divergent opinions, Taylor and Sawyers were selected for the 400m and won silver and bronze, respectively, in one of the biggest upsets of the championships, as Belgium's Jonathon Sacoor — who came to Tampere with a personal best of 46.07 seconds — ran back-to-back National Junior Records 45.72 seconds in the semi-finals to beat Sawyers, then stunned the entire stadium with 45.03 seconds to win the gold.

— Paul Reid

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