Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Richards' regret - Discus favourite blames officials after eventful loss

Published:Friday | March 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Fiona Richards of Edwin Allen competes in the Class One girls discus final at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Championships at the National Stadium. Richards placed second with a distance of 48.06m.

A disappointed and dejected Fiona Richards of Edwin Allen blamed officials for her failure to retain the girls Class One discus title at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships at the National Stadium on Wednesday.

Richards, who finished second behind St Jago's Gabrielle Bailey, 48.93 metres, with a throw of 48.06m, injured her ankle during her warm-up and was next to tears when she told The Gleaner that she felt the competition should have been delayed during a slight downpour while the final was in progress.

"I am very disappointed. I got injured warming up because of the officials. The wet surface was causing problems, and they continued the competition even when the rain was pouring. I was doing warm-up throws, and I slipped, hurt my ankle. But I can't complain because I went out with the injury and came second," Richards said while trying to hold back the tears.

Richards, the record holder and overwhelming favourite for the event, said the pain was unbearable with the disappointment of not defending her gold medal clearly stapled on her face. The talented thrower is, however, hoping to recover enough to defend her shot put title.

"The pain was intense. I cried every time I tried to turn. It (the loss) hurts real bad. I just wanted to leave Champs with a big bang, but I guess I am going to have to try and do that in the shot put," she said.

Edwin Allen's coach, Michael Dyke, thought some consideration could have been given to the slippery conditions but sees it as a learning experience for his athlete.

"I think the officials could have given a little more consideration, being that the surface was wet. But sometimes you have to compete in those types of conditions. Those are the things that will build you. I feel disappointed for her, but this is sports and anything can happen on the day," Dyke said.

Eventual winner, Bailey, who also slipped and injured her knee, said she had no issue competing under the conditions.

"The time the competition was scheduled to start, it did not start at that time. We started 20 minutes late," Bailey noted. "While I was warming up, I fell and hit my knee on the metal part of the circle and it swelled immediately, so I thought it wouldn't be my championship. But they gave us medical attention and enough time to recover."