athletics world championships

‘It was ridiculous, man’: Bolt’s injury leaves Jamaican relay team fuming at organisers

Bolt’s teammates said the problem was caused by organisers keeping the relay teams waiting in the cold

Usain Bolt’s dramatic and inglorious end to his top level career was the fault of world championship organisers, his furious team-mates claimed.

The 30-year-old 100 metres and 200m world record-holder collapsed on the London Stadium track whilst anchoring Jamaica in the final of the 4x100m on Saturday as cramp gripped his leg.

Bolt lay prone on the track but waved away the offer of a wheelchair and eventually, aided by his three team-mates, limped across the line before making a hasty exit – not the way the man who had won triple Olympic gold at the same stadium in 2012 would have wished his competitive career in championships to finish.

But his team-mates complained that his problem was caused by organisers keeping the relay teams waiting in the cold before their race as several medal ceremonies were held.

“I think they were holding us too long in the call room. The walk was too long. Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me, ‘Yohan, I think this is crazy. 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run’,” said Yohan Blake, who branded the wait as “crazy”.

“We kept warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting,” added the 2011 100m world champion, who also won Olympic relay gold in 2012 and 2016 with Bolt.

  “I think it got the better of us. We were over warm. To see a true legend, a true champion go out there and struggling like that. The race was 10 minutes late and we were kept 40 minutes.”   

— Yohan Blake

Bolt may not have led Jamaica to a glorious finale anyway, though, as he took the baton well behind eventual winners Great Britain and the US.

But Jamaica’s 110m hurdles world champion Omar McLeod – who ran the first leg – likewise pointed the finger at organisers for denying his country’s greatest star a more fitting swansong.

“It’s heart wrenching,” said McLeod, who is also the Olympic champion.

“It was ridiculous man, we were there around 45 minutes waiting outside, I think they had three medal ceremonies before we went out so we were really trying our hardest to stay warm and keep upbeat.

“But it was ridiculous. We waited a really long time. I drank like two bottles of water.”

Their criticism echoed that of Justin Gatlin, who led an American 1-2 alongside team-mate Christian Coleman to deny Bolt a farewell gold in the individual 100m.

“I think it was the elements. I am sorry he got this injury. He is still the best in the world,” said Gatlin. “It was a recipe. I don’t want to say this, I understand we need to be ready early, but I think we took our clothes off a little too early.

“It’s a little chilly in here so I think that’s where the cramp came from. That’s what he suffered with. He was running out there cold.”

Despite his relatively unsuccessful championships – in which he will exit with just a single bronze medal – Bolt will still be accorded a final lap of honour in a tribute ceremony before the curtain comes down on the world championships later on Sunday.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Watch Ruchir's journey: A story that captures the impact of accessible technology

Accessible technology has the potential to change lives.

“Technology can be a great leveller”, affirms Ruchir Falodia, Social Media Manager, TATA CLiQ. Out of the many qualities that define Ruchir as a person, one that stands out is that he is an autodidact – a self-taught coder and lover of technology.

Ruchir’s story is one that humanises technology - it has always played the role of a supportive friend who would look beyond his visual impairment. A top ranker through school and college, Ruchir would scan course books and convert them to a format which could be read out to him (in the absence of e-books for school). He also developed a lot of his work ethos on the philosophy of Open Source software, having contributed to various open source projects. The access provided by Open Source, where users could take a source code, modify it and distribute their own versions of the program, attracted him because of the even footing it gave everyone.

That is why I like being in programming. Nobody cares if you are in a wheelchair. Whatever be your physical disability, you are equal with every other developer. If your code works, good. If it doesn’t, you’ll be told so.

— Ruchir.

Motivated by the objectivity that technology provided, Ruchir made it his career. Despite having earned degree in computer engineering and an MBA, friends and family feared his visual impairment would prove difficult to overcome in a work setting. But Ruchir, who doesn’t like quotas or the ‘special’ tag he is often labelled with, used technology to prove that differently abled persons can work on an equal footing.

As he delved deeper into the tech space, Ruchir realised that he sought to explore the human side of technology. A fan of Agatha Christie and other crime novels, he wanted to express himself through storytelling and steered his career towards branding and marketing – which he sees as another way to tell stories.

Ruchir, then, migrated to Mumbai for the next phase in his career. It was in the Maximum City that his belief in technology being the great leveller was reinforced. “The city’s infrastructure is a challenging one, Uber helped me navigate the city” says Ruchir. By using the VoiceOver features, Ruchir could call an Uber wherever he was and move around easily. He reached out to Uber to see if together they could spread the message of accessible technology. This partnership resulted in a video that captures the essence of Ruchir’s story: The World in Voices.

Play

It was important for Ruchir to get rid of the sympathetic lens through which others saw him. His story serves as a message of reassurance to other differently abled persons and abolishes some of the fears, doubts and prejudices present in families, friends, employers or colleagues.

To know more about Ruchir’s journey, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Uber and not by the Scroll editorial team.