Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Bailey expected boos from crowd Jamaica International Invitational

Published:Monday | May 11, 2015 | 5:00 AMRaymond Graham

FOREIGN athletes are used to getting a good reception from Jamaicans when they compete at the Jamaica International Invitational, an IAAF World Challenge meet, at the National Stadium.

The likes of Justin Gatlin, Tyson Gay and Carmelita Jeter are just some of the big name athletes who the crowd has always welcomed with loud cheer.

However, this was not the case on Saturday night for the United States' Ryan Bailey.

Bailey, who anchored the United States men's 4x100 metres relay team to defeat a Jamaican quartet - which included Usain Bolt the previous week in The Bahamas at the World Relays - drew the ire of the Jamaican public with his celebration of that victory.

The American, whose team had been losing to Bolt for over seven years in the relays, celebrated by doing Bolt's trademark 'To di Worl' pose with the addition of dragging his finger across his throat.

Bolt's Racers club training partner, Warren Weir, had hit out at Bailey for 'disrespecting' Bolt and track and field, after anchoring Jamaica to victory in the men's 4x200m at the World Relays.

Others used social media to chastise Bailey, and on Saturday night, when the sprinter made his appearance for the men's 100 metres, the crowd booed loudly.

Regardless of the boos, the American appeared quite jovial and respectful as he walked along the track and waved repeatedly to fans in the stands, both prior to, after his event and at the medal presentation.

In an interview with The Gleaner, he said he expected that sort of crowd reaction.

"I knew the crowd would have done this and my only regret was that it was not louder as if this was the case I surely would have run much faster," said Bailey, laughingly.

He placed second behind Jamaican Asafa Powell, who raced to a world leading and season best 9.84 seconds. Bailey clocked 9.93.

"I am satisfied with the result despite a very sluggish start, but my mid-race was good and when you run sub 10 seconds it is always a wonderful feeling," stated Bailey.