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Country comes first! - Quarrie questions McPherson's withdrawal after bust-up with teammate

Published:Sunday | August 13, 2017 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Donald Quarrie, the Jamaican team's technical leader at the just concluded IAAF World Championships in London, England.
Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby in tears while being helped from the track in a wheelchair after going down injured during the women's 4x400m final at the IAAF World Championship in London, England, yesterday.

LONDON, England:

Donald Quarrie, the technical leader of Jamaica's team to the just-concluded World Championships in London, is questioning the reasons behind Stephenie-Ann McPherson's withdrawal from the women's mile relay team. He has called for stronger guidelines for national representation.

McPherson was withdrawn from the women's 4x400m relay team just before they took the track for the final, following an altercation with MVP teammate Shericka Jackson.

Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby was brought in to replace McPherson and the line-up was completed with Chrisann Gordon, Jackson and Novlene Williams-Mills. McLaughlin-Whilby, however, suffered a leg injury 100m into her second-leg run before crashing to the ground and ending the Jamaicans' hopes of defending their title.

Quarrie, however, raised questions about McPherson's withdrawal, noting that the athlete threatened not to compete in the mile relay during her spat with Jackson while at the team hotel. Quarrie noted that upon arrival at the warm-up track soon afterwards, he was told by coach Paul Francis that McPherson would no longer be able to compete because she was injured.

In addition to being a part of the national coaching setup here, Paul Francis is a coach at MVP and is the brother of MVP head coach Stephen Francis.

"My main issue right now is the fact that one young lady said she was not going to run, suddenly. I show up at the track and her coach is telling me she has an injury and will not be able to run. The doctor did check with her and said it was a grade one something - I can't remember what it is - but I find it very strange that between the hotel and here (warm-up track), an injury could have occurred," said Quarrie.

"I am not going to put the blame on the young lady only. The coach is the one that said she cannot run, just as he said Elaine could not run. He gave me a reason that Elaine did not run in practice to the extent which he wanted should in case she had to push herself. She had not done that, so it was his decision," Quarrie continued before sharing the circumstances around the altercation between the athletes.

"There was a verbal altercation between herself and Shericka. She (McPherson) said it (that she would not run). I told her not to say so and that we should move on. In the heat of everything, I could forgive the young lady, but I would like to know why, in such a short space of time, I show up at the track, and she is not running," said Quarrie, who, without going into details, shared that the argument started because of uniforms.




"It (argument) started with a uniform thing, and I don't remember exactly why, because when it was beginning, I made sure I got in there to keep things normal. It escalated a little bit, but the main thing I was concerned about was keeping them apart," said Quarrie.

The event was won by the United States in 3:19.02, with Great Britain and Northern Ireland running second in 3:25.00 and Poland third in 3:25.41.

Quarrie is calling for stricter guidelines where national representation is concerned and says he will be submitting his proposals to the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association.

"Part of it is that there are not enough guidelines," Quarrie said. "Guidelines are going to have to be set up and enforced and athletes are going to have to understand that if you are not prepared to step up to the line, you can be replaced even if it means we are not going to win.

"We have to start somewhere as it relates to certain disciplinary means of making sure our athletes realise when it comes to the country, especially with the relays, the country comes first."