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Worrell: Rethink athletics strategy

Mike King

Worrell: Rethink athletics strategy

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Michael “Abu”?Worrell, head coach of last year’s CARIFTA Games track and field team that captured 27 medals, including nine golds, has called for a rethink and re-evaluation of the sport if last weekend’s disappointment in Bermuda is not to be repeated.
“We didn’t step up to the plate when I thought we should have. I was not there to say what the children experienced as far as the weather was concerned but I am still disappointed at the outcome.
“We were poor this year, and it has nothing to do with me being in Barbados. We all have to take the blame – and that includes me. We have got to seriously look at our preparation.
“We knew that the athletes would be faced with cold conditions in Bermuda – but what did we really do to make sure that they would be ready for that? Nothing.
“We put the team together too late. There wasn’t time to bond as a team, and that is one of the concerns that I have. I?was also not happy that the inter-school sports were held just days after CARIFTA trials, so [there was] the risk of burnout,” he said.
The Barbados team left Bermuda and returned home last night with just two gold medals, one of its weakest ever performances with only Akela Jones and Sadé-Mariah Greenidge being covered in glory.
Worrell, the last Barbadian to strike CARIFTA gold in the Under-20 Boys’ 400 metres, in 1984, said the medal haul could have been improved if some of the athletes had reproduced their form over the last few weeks.
“If the guys had matched their personal bests or come close to, the medal tally would have been higher because the times that won the events were not earth-shattering outside of the top girls in the Under-20 sprints, who were special,” he said.
The big disappointments were Shaquille Alleyne, who did not even make it to the final of the Under-20 Boys’ 400 metres, Levi Cadogan, who made an early exit from the 200 metres for the senior boys, while John Haynes and the highly touted Jerrad Mason came up short in the Under-20 Boys’ 800 metres.
“Shaquille Alleyne did not get to the finals of the 400 metres because he left Barbados with the intention of racing in just the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 relays. When he got there, he was implanted in the 400 metres, so he was not as mentally tuned in, so I am not blaming him.
“I expected more from Levi Cadogan. Why did he not race in the 100-metre dash? Is he a 200 metres specialist? Deon Hope did just one event, got hurt and that was unfortunate,” he said.
It was a shock to almost all and sundry when Worrell was ignored this year in spite of last year’s success, but the two-time CARIFTA gold medallist said he was not disappointed.
“I am not disappointed that I was left out. Every year, one is supposed to apply and I did not. That is the past. I am available to represent my country any time and any place as long as I am wanted. Country first, everything else after,” he said.
Worrell felt that promising thrower Shanikah Haynes from Grantley Adams Memorial should have been selected.
“She wasn’t picked because she did not compete at CARIFTA trials, but yet some non-qualifiers were chosen. Shanikah probably would have collected a medal because she was throwing well. Once you make the standard, you should be considered, and I felt she should have had a chance,” he said.