Murphy remains doubtful
Gordon Williams, Gleaner Writer
The decision whether or not Jamaica's top high school sprinter runs at the 117th Penn Relays here will come down to the wire today. But Bridgeport High's Jazeel Murphy is eager to make his debut at the prestigious meet, despite carrying a nagging leg injury.
Murphy suffered a strain to his right thigh while anchoring Jamaica's winning 4x100 metres Under-20 relay team at last weekend's Carifta Games in Jamaica.
"My thigh," he said, pointing to the injured area of his leg yesterday after receiving treatment inside the Team Jamaica Bickle tent at Franklin Field here. "I was running and I feel a little cramp and I keep on running and my muscle is just sore."
Earlier in that meet, Murphy ran an impressive 10.27 seconds to secure the gold medal in the 100 metres. The 17-year-old 10th grader also won the 100 metres at the ISSA Boys and Girls' Championships earlier this month, his first year competing in Class One.
Yesterday, he was optimistic he "could" anchor Bridgeport's team, which takes the track this morning for the 4x100 high school boys heats. But he vows not to take any unnecessary risk.
"My coach said I can try and run at Penns," explained Murphy. "If anything, if my foot hurts (again), I'm not running."
The final decision will be made by his coach Carl Page, who believes there is no need to rush the young sprinter. Yesterday afternoon he would not commit to Murphy's participation at Penns, despite the athlete's admission that he is "very excited" about the chance to run in front of the expected large turnout of Jamaican fans.
"I'm still not sure," said Page. "It's a 50-50 chance. We're just taking it one day at a time. By tomorrow we'll come out, warm up, see how he feels and, if he's ready to go, we'll let him run. But if he's not, then he won't be able to run."
Ironically, Murphy said the injury, the first time he said he had suffered a thigh strain, affects him only when he is reducing speed.
"I can run," he said, "but if I slow down now, I feel the pain."
Murphy burst on to the Jamaica track and field scene a few seasons ago, but he has been plagued by injury, mostly blamed on growth spurts. This year, he said, he has largely been free of serious injury. Sore hamstrings cleared up just before Champs.
"I was never 100 per cent fit because my two hamstrings were strained too, but they came back near to Champs," Murphy explained. "(They're) not 100 per cent, but it's good."
Injuries ruled him out of competition at the last two Penn Relays. He is anxious to make up for that in 2011.