Sports

Elaine's relay skip due to Achilles bug

Coach Francis says plan was always for Thompson to skip women's 4x100m event

HOWARD WALKER
At the 16th IAAF
World Champs
in London

Monday, August 14, 2017

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LONDON, England — MVP Head Coach Stephen Francis says Elaine Thompson's Achilles problem, which has affected her this season, was the main reason for the Jamaican sprint star not competing in the women's 4x100-metre final at the World Championships on Saturday.

The makeshift quartet of Jura Levy, Natasha Morrison, Simone Facey and Shashalee Forbes secured the bronze medal in a season-best time of 42.19 seconds. The Americans won in a world-leading 41.82, with Great Britain taking silver in 42.12, but the general feeling is that Jamaica would have had a great chance at gold if Thompson had run.

“She was never, ever going to run the relay because of her Achilles [problem]. Ever since she developed the problem at Prefontaine, the policy has always been that whenever she has run in the sprint spikes, we normally give her seven days or so before she goes back in them,” Francis told the Jamaica Observer.

“She trains in the sneakers. She got a heel spikes which she could train in so we give her seven to eight days to cool down before we put her back in the sprint spikes,” he explained.

Thompson, Jamaica's double Olympic sprint champion, has an impressive personal best of 10.70 in the 100m and has consistently been Jamaica's fastest woman in recent times.

It was a surprise to many local fans when she was missing from the 4x100m final, and speculation was that she was not at her best after vomiting before her individual 100m semi-final and final runs. She placed a disappointing fifth (10.98) behind United States gold medal winner Tori Bowie (10.85).

Thompson denied that the stomach illness was the reason for her final flop.

Francis explained that running the three individual races had taken a toll on her.

“It was almost going to be never on, primarily because of the Achilles, but exacerbated by the problem she had before the final and the semi-finals,” he noted.

“Running three races here was pushing it, and so it was going to very unlikely whether she could run again in six days. Coupled with that, whatever happened to her on Sunday, she was vomiting for nearly 15 to 20 minutes. She needed time to recover from that so her training has been very, very slow, and we planned that on Monday she would go back to training at full intensity,” he noted.

Thompson has already booked her spot in the Diamond League final and Francis believes she will be ready to compete.

“She is a professional athlete and she has three to four more commitments to run for the season. If next week or this week coming up when she trains at full intensity she is OK, she will proceed to run Birmingham and the two Diamond League finals,” the experienced coach stated.

Following the Diamond League engagements, Francis said Thompson will have the chance to rest and recuperate from that niggling Achilles problem.

“It is getting better, but not at a rate which we would want it because, as I said, every time she goes into the spikes, which her foot slants upward, it exacerbates it,” he reiterated.

“So our solution so far of letting her train in flats or the high heel spikes seems to be working. I guess with the rest she will get after the season is finished, she will hopefully solve the problem, [and with] the rehab and the work that we can put in to prevent it happening, I think she should be okay in the future,” he added.

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