Furious Yohan Blake hit out at organisers after Usain Bolt’s dramatic final race at the World Championships.
Eight-time Olympic champion Bolt sensationally pulled up injured with 50 metres to go of the 4×100 metres relay and fell to the track with Great Britain taking gold just ahead of the USA and Japan.
The race started 10 minutes later than scheduled with two medal ceremonies for the 5,000m – with Sir Mo Farah getting his silver medal – and the high jump taking place before.
And Blake, who won Olympic 4x100m relay gold with Bolt and Jamaica in 2012 and 2016, believes the lengthy build-up caused Bolt’s injury in London on Saturday night.
“I think they were holding us too long in the call room. The walk was too long. Usain was really cold. In fact Usain said to me, ‘Yohan, I think this is crazy’,” said the 100m world champion from 2011.
“It was 40 minutes and two medal presentations before our run. We keep warming up and waiting, then warming up and waiting. I think it got the better of us.
“The race was 10 minutes late, we were kept 40 minutes and it was a 300 metre walk. It was crazy.”
Team-mate Omar McLeod echoed Blake and criticised the organisation with his heart going out to Bolt.
He said: “It’s heart-wrenching. I gave it my all and I really wanted Usain to leave golden, or even if it was just a medal, it was really heart-wrenching.
“I couldn’t believe it, I’m in shock, utter disbelief.”It was ridiculous, man. We were there around 45 minutes waiting outside, I think they had three medal ceremonies before we went out so we were really trying our hardest to stay warm and keep upbeat.
“But it was ridiculous. We waited a really long time. I drank like two bottles of water.”
Team-mate Julian Forte, running in his first World Championships, added: “I really wanted to be a part of the team that sends Usain off in style. Unfortunately it’s one of those things, it’s part of sport.
“They kept us in the call room for an extremely long time in our running kits, and it’s not the warmest over here and they had us around there for quite a while, so I think they really need to look into that and do something about it.
Dr Kevin Jones, Jamaica’s team doctor, confirmed Bolt’s injury.
He said: “It’s cramp in his left hamstring but a lot of pain is from disappointment from losing the race. The last three weeks have been hard for him, you know. We hope for the best for him.”
The USA’s 100m champion, Justin Gatlin, had sympathy for Bolt and still expects him to return to the track, with the pair even having a bet.
He said: “You can’t really have this night or championship define what he’s done in the past. From 2008 on, Usain Bolt has done amazing things. Tonight is not going to define who he is. He is still the man.
“This is a farewell tour, we take our hats off to him and we hope he gets better.
“I’m going to win my 100, he’s coming back in a year or two. He’ll be ready. He has a passion for the sport, he loves the fans, the fans love him. It’s something you can’t walk away too easy from.”