Michael Stephens ignored instructions to jog 100-metre Champs final

By March 26, 2018
Calabar High School's Michael Stephens Calabar High School's Michael Stephens IAAF

Questions have been asked of the Calabar High School track and field coaching staff after an injury to 2017 GraceKennedy/ISSA Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championship 100-metre title holder.

Running from lane eight in Friday night’s final at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, Stephens, pushed hard after a slowish start but found the exertion too much for his right hamstring and went down, in obvious pain and disappointment.

Athletes get injured every day, but the controversy surrounding this particular incident came from what happened just prior to the race.

Stephens, pushing out of the blocks, during the warm-up just before the race, grimaced and stooped.

He would go behind the blocks where his right hamstring was massaged and instructions were given to him. He broke down in tears from those instructions and then used a cellphone after that.

To the surprise of everybody in the stadium, Stephens got ready to run in the final anyway.

His eventual injury was no surprise.

Why did the Michael Clarke-led coaching staff of Calabar High allow him to run? Was he coming into the event with an injury?

“No, he wasn’t injured. He felt something while striding out before the start,” said assistant coach Omar Hawes, during a post-event interview.

Calabar had won the championships by a whopping 98 points and never needed the possible nine Stephens could have given them.

“A number of coaches were pretty close by. I was the one who called the coach [Clarke] to speak to him,” said Hawes, explaining the sequence of events.

“I told him [Clarke] to pull him from the event,” Hawes explained, before pointing out that there was an alternative to the scratch.

“He said he would have jogged the event. I told him to go out and jog but he didn’t do that,” said Hawes.

“It was unfortunate.”

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

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