The very thought that the world’s fastest man may not compete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this year is beginning to haunt the world after Usain Bolt was forced to pull out of Jamaica’s Olympic trials due to a hamstring injury.
Coach Glen Mills confirmed that Bolt injured his right hamstring on Thursday night despite receiving attention to the affected area for extended periods after his appearance on the track.
Confirmation was also received from Bolt’s management team that a medical exemption request had been submitted to the JAAA.
Bolt, who is looking to win a third straight Olympic gold medal trifecta this summer, did not show up for the men’s 100m final after complaining of the discomfort after a 10.05 seconds win in the semi-final over two hours earlier.
He will now have to prove his fitness to Jamaica’s track and field authority, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), which has a provision in its selection policy that allows top ranked athletes, who can prove that they are unfit to compete at the trials, the opportunity to show their return to fitness at a later date, before they name the nation’s team to the championships.
Bolt is next scheduled to compete in the 200m at the London Diamond League meet on July 22. Its not clear if there will now be adjustments to his schedule.
The 100m and 200m world record holder first felt the discomfort on his way to winning his 100m heat on Thursday night.
Bolt, who uncharacteristically stormed off after that race, ignoring media representatives had later complained that his pre-race preparations were seriously affected because the officials brought him out too early ahead of his race, leaving him to stand around for close to 30 minutes.
With Bolt already outside of Kingston’s National Stadium, his training partner, and 2011 World Champion, Yohan Blake romped to a business-like 9.95 seconds win ahead of his former high school team-mate Nickel Ashmeade, 9.96 and another Racers Track Club man Jevaughn Minzie, 10.02, who is heading to the Olympics, two years after running second at Jamaica’s high school championships.
His place in the individual event in Rio is, however, yet to be confirmed pending the outcome of Bolt’s situation.
The JAAA’s selection policy:
“Athletes who are ranked/listed in the top three in the world for their event who are ill or injured at the time of the National Championships and are granted an exemption from competing at the Championships may still be considered for selection provided that they are able to prove their world ranking form prior to the final submission of the entries for the competition.”
“Where an athlete has been granted an exemption and the Selection Committee has determined that such an athlete should be selected among the entrants for the event that athlete shall be selected above the athlete placing third at the National Championships or in place of an athlete finishing in either of the first two places of the event where that athlete has been determined by a medical panel appointed by the JAAA to be ill or injured and not being in a satisfactory physical condition to warrant being entered to compete.”
Meanwhile, Elaine Thompson matched the national record and set a new personal best in the women’s 100m, powering to a 10.70 to place ahead of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce 10.93 and Christania Williams, 10.97 (PB), in a sweep for the MVP Track Club.
Only three women have gone faster than Thompson – Florence Griffith Joyner, Carmelita Jeter and Marion Jones.
Fraser-Pryce has also gone 10.70.
By: Andre Lowe, Special Projects Editor – Sports