Hubert Lawrence | That McLeod mess
It's sad beyond words that Omar McLeod has lost his 60-metre hurdles crown at the IAAF World Indoor Championships before a single race has been run. The hurt is worse because there is correspondence from McLeod's representatives that shows that the hurdler supreme very much wanted to don black-green-and-gold in Birmingham this weekend. It's truly sad.
The correspondence began in November with reminders and exchanges in February. Now it is too late. The episode illustrates how tough it is to select a team when there is no National Championships. In such cases, the selector has to judiciously give the athlete as much time as possible to show form without leaving it too late to process the team's entries.
If the selection deadline is too late, then any other delay can sink the process, and this is my guess at what has happened with McLeod. He impressed the selectors with times of 7.52 and 7.46 seconds, and even though Ronald Levy has shone with a recent run of 7.49, the reigning champion still leads all Jamaicans on the clock.
Those times and his proven championship pedigree made him a good pick. In fact, the trouble might have been averted if McLeod had been preselected, and perhaps this is a measure the JAAA could consider for those Jamaicans who win World Indoor titles this weekend and in the future.
Beyond that, there appeared to be a comparatively short time between the time team selection was finalised, close of entries and the start of competition today. To be fair to the JAAA, Jamaican athletes and teams go by the dozens to championships around the world. That can't be easy.
However, McLeod's absence from the World Indoor Championships is a hard pill to swallow. One solution is to move the selection deadline up a week. That would give some leeway to those involved in the processes of visa application and travel planning.
That extra leeway and the pre-selection of reigning World Indoor champions could save us all the pain we feel now.
- Hubert Lawrence has made notes at trackside since 1980.