‘It’s a BIG Blow’ ... Thompson’s withdrawal shocks Wilson
MVP Track Club coach Stephen Francis has explained the decision to end Elaine Thompson’s participation at the 2019 World Championships, a move that Jamaica’s head coach Maurice Wilson described as a big blow to the team’s expectations here.
Wilson noted that Thompson’s withdrawal will present challenges for the coaching staff particularly in the women’s 4x100m relay.
Thompson was pulled from the 200m semi-finals and the 4x100m relays after failing to shake off a calf issue, which according to Francis, had been bothering her since last month.
Francis said the athlete was not in a condition to take any further part in the championship and although he ruled out surgery, he noted that the focus is now on figuring out the best approach going forward, in terms of correcting the issue ahead of next season.
“Well she (Thompson) couldn’t run. Her feet were bothering her. It started sometime during the 100m semi-final. She tried to go yesterday (Monday), it got a little worse. Today (yesterday) she warmed up and she couldn’t go, so we have to now turn our attention to see if we can try and get it fixed,” said Francis.
Thompson, who finished fourth in the 100m final on Sunday with a time of 10.93 seconds, admitted after the race that her Achilles felt sore in the days leading up to and during the final.
Francis explained that the issue is the result of stiffness in her calves, which in turn causes stress on the Achilles tendons in both legs.
“We have been trying to deal with it. The process of trying to treat it makes her not very good in terms of her explosiveness, so it didn’t work out and hopefully we can come to a solution and see if there can be a permanent fix,” Francis told The Gleaner.
Francis, who underlined that Thompson’s issues would not have influenced his decision to also pull 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce from the 200m event, noted his disappointment with the outcome of Thompson’s campaign here in Doha.
“Well I suspected from training camp that she (Thompson) was not at full fitness, however, we expected that she would have been able to medal in the 100m and then see what happened in the 200m. It didn’t turn out that way so I guess that’s a disappointment. It’s one of those things in sports and so she has to wheel and come again,” Francis said. “There is a relatively short preparation period for next year and I think we will find a solution and we will see what happens.”
Meanwhile, with Thompson expected to play a crucial role in the sprint relay, head coach Wilson said it will be a challenge to meet their expectations coming here.
“This is a huge blow to the team and we are really going to have to sit and see how we are going to resolve the situation,” said Wilson.
“We are talking about someone who would have run 10.73 this year. She would have definitely made a big difference in terms of what we would have expected for our medals and so it is something that the coaching staff will have to sit and work out the best parameters in terms of how we are going to move forward,” Wilson noted.
“We have a lot of talent among us but my concern would be really in relation to the (baton) changes. As you would know and as Jamaica would have known, they (MVP) would have been doing a number of passes in Italy (club base) already and we will have to make the sort of adjustment that is necessary to secure the gold medal that we thought that we could have garnered once we hit the track and got the changes around,” added Wilson, who of course also has to do without third place finisher at Trials, Briana Williams, who was recently involved in and cleared after a hearing into an anti-doping violation.
The remaining members of the 4x100m relay pool are Fraser-Pryce, Shashalee Forbes, Jonielle Smith, Natalliah Whyte, Schillonie Calvert-Powell and Natasha Morrison.
Jamaica will look to add to it’s medal tally of four (two gold, two silver), today, when defending champion Omar McLeod, Ronald Levy, Andrew Riley and Orlando Bennett line up in the 110m hurdles semi-finals today with eyes on advancing to and medalling in the final, which is also set for today.