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Weir blasts American sprinter Bailey for Bolt gesture at World Relays

Published:Tuesday | May 5, 2015 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (right) chases the United States’ Ryan Bailey (centre) on anchor during the men’s 4x100 metres final at the IAAF World Relays at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in The Bahamas on Saturday night.
Jamaica’s Warren Weir reacts after anchoring the men’s 4x200 metres team to the gold medal at the World Relays at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in The Bahamas on Sunday night.
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NASSAU, Bahamas:

Warren Weir spent much of Sunday afternoon on Twitter blasting American sprinter Ryan Bailey for what he called blatant disrespect of Jamaican teammate Usain Bolt.

Later that night, perhaps with tempers still hot, he was driving Jamaica to the gold medal in the 4x200m at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Relays.

The issue?

Bailey, ecstatic that the United States had finally got one over the Jamaicans in the men's 4x100m a night earlier - the first time the Jamaicans were beaten since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing - struck a modified Bolt 'To di Worl' pose by dragging his finger across his throat in a cutting gesture.

The anchor would later say in an interview that he had been wanting to spoof Bolt, whom he considered "somewhat of an icon", for a while, drawing the wrath of Weir, who is Bolt's training partner at Racers Track Club in Kingston.

Shortly after leading the Jamaicans to a successful defence of their 4x200m title with a 1:20.97 win over France, 1:21.49 and Germany, 1:22.65, Weir, the Olympic 200m bronze medallist, scolded Bailey.

"It's great that our team could be able to come back here and defend a title, especially after losing another (men's 4x100m). Seeing the team lose the 4x100m last night was definitely a push for us, and additionally, knowing that we didn't have a Usain Bolt in our team, also provided that extra drive for us to get the job done," Weir told The Gleaner.

Then he laid into Bailey.

"When you see the greats, you have to show them respect, you have to respect the legends of our sport. Especially when you are a little nobody, you really are to show more respect to those who are leading the way and those who have accomplished way more than you have," Weir blasted

"He disrespected track and field. He also said that Bolt is 'somewhat of an icon', he is an icon and he was not showing enough respect, not just to Bolt, but to the sport. As an athlete, I feel like he was disrespecting me and as a member of this Jamaican team, I also felt upset and disrespected about it," Weir added. "This is just the beginning."

The Jamaicans would later strike the Usain Bolt pose at the top of the medal podium as they dedicated the win to the six-time Olympic champion, eight time world champion and triple world record holder, who had to withdraw from the team at the last minute after complaining of a sore hamstring.

Weir's teammates - Nickel Ashmeade, who ran the third leg; lead off man Rasheed Dwyer and Jason Livermore, who almost blew it with a spotty first baton exchange, expressed their delight with the result.

"We came out here with a strong team without having the big man (Usain) Bolt and it really shows how strong Jamaica is, so I'm really excited and I'm really proud," Ashmeade said.

"We are very pleased about this win. We came out here as a team, we were determined to show our unity and execute the plan and that's what we did, so I'm very happy," Livermore chipped in.

Dwyer added: "Bolt is an amazing athlete and he deserves all the praise. But any four athlete that you put out there for Jamaica is capable of giving you the result and that's our strength. This was a good win for us."

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com