London, Aug 13 (PTI) Jamaican sprint relay team member Yohan Blake has blamed the delay in starting the race for Usain Bolt’s injury that ended his glorious career in agony at the World Championships here.
Bolt, running the final race of his career, suffered cramps on his left hamstring as he sought to chase down the British and American rivals in the last lap of the men’s 4x100m relay race. He suddenly stumbled and hobbled a few strides before falling down on the track in pain and agony.
Blake said the lengthy wait in cold conditions contributed to Bolt’s injury. The final race of Saturday s evening session started later than initially planned, following medal ceremonies for the men’s 5000m and women’s high jump.
“They were holding us too long…it was atrocious. That long wait contributed (to Bolt’s injury). Inside it was cold.
We keep warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting. I think it got the better of us,” Blake said.
“You have to think about the athletes because we were in the mixed zone too long, over 40 minutes. A hero of the sport to go down like that? As a true friend, I didn’t like it one bit. He was saying he was sorry, but there was nothing to be sorry for, he’s done it for us (during his career).
“It was cold and there was 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run. It was crazy,” added the 2011 world 100m champion Blake.
Justin Gatlin, who snatched a gold in 100m dash to spoil Bolt’s individual farewell race, suggested the same.
“I think it was the elements. I am sorry he (Bolt) got this injury. I understand the magic of TV and that everything has to happen for viewers at home but we were held a little long before we went out. We were out of our clothes and it was quite cold. I lost all my heat and sweat. I think if that hadn’t happened, may be we would have run quicker, as would other teams,” Gatlin said.
“It was a recipe (for possible injury). I don’t want to say this but 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 (Bolt) suffered with. He was running out there cold,” added Gatlin who ran the second leg for silver- winning American team.
Bolt was his long-time rival and he lost five successive Olympic and World Championship races to him. Nonetheless, Gatlin paid tribute to the Jamaican.
“No one wants to see Usain go out like that, with an injury. All of us up here have been inspired by his career in some way. If we look past what happened at this championship, he has had an incredible career and that should be celebrated,” Gatlin said.
“He has done so much for athletics, from 2008 until now.
Everything has happened so fast. Congratulations on his legendary career,” he added.
Christian Coleman, who ran the anchor leg for USA, said, “Usain Bolt is a legend, he has inspired us. I was just blessed to be here, to be on the line with him. I will tell my grandkids about this one day.”
In fact, he had beaten Bolt thrice in this championships — in 100m semifinals, finals (where he took a silver) and the sprint relay.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.