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. Chances are, we will never know it any 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, starting with mandatory training camp in Birmingham. For the camp, several athletes who were not in competition on the circuit turned up late, raising many questions.
Minutes after Gonzales 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 and out of treatment and just did not get enough time to prepare to run here today," the quarter-miler said then.
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, with the latter complaining of severe back pains after his 400m race.
Wilson said until they got word from team doctors, Warren Blake, Winston Dawes, and 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 been 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 Cham, before switching allegiance to run for Jamaica.
In Birmingham, three weeks ago, the University of Houston student said he had always wanted to represent Jamaica but "was not told of my options then".