Racers Club Squabble; Bolt Defends Coach Mills Amid Allegations of Neglect

Sheri-kae McLeod

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The nine-time Olympic gold medal champion, Usain Bolt has shelved his usual diplomacy to defend his longtime coach Glen Mills amid allegations of neglect made by other Jamaican athletes.

In a lengthy Instagram post two weeks ago, Jamaican sprinter Kemar Bailey-Cole announced his decision to split from his coach of five years, Glen Mills, siting neglect as the main factor.

“(In 2019) I decided to go back to my old ways of preparing, which was pool workouts and track. I spoke with my coach (Mills) and masseur about what I wanted to do and they both agreed,” he explained in the post. “A week went by (and) I got an email saying that my masseur is withdrawing his services because he cannot work with a particular person, so I told the head coach and he told me that my masseur said he heard I was getting massages from someone else.

“I looked past that and moved on and weeks passed and I noticed I hadn’t even seen the head coach at any of my pool or track workout sessions, so I started questioning myself. What did I do to deserve this? Why did he give up on me like that, and I get to realize it’s because I’m injury prone and I’m a waste of time and that my head is not good but I will keep going until God tells me to stop”, Bailey-Cole vented on Instagram.

 

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For the past 5 years I’ve been struggling with injuries and illness back n forth, I managed to over come tearing my hamstring in 2015,2017 and also battle off Zika virus 2016… 2018 I was basically in recovery mode trying to find myself and prepare for 2019 season. However the 2019 season started did my usual background preparation but still had some problems running. My first race for the season was 400m as I always do. The first 100 of the race I felt my leg so i basically jog the complete race as a means of taking precaution for my leg, after the race I told myself I had to make a decision. I decided to go back to my old ways of preparing which was pool workouts and track. I spoke with my coach and masseur about what I wanted to do and they both agreed. a week went by I got an email saying that my masseur is withdrawing his service because he cannot work with a particular person… so I told the head coach and he told me that my masseur said he heard I was getting massage from someone else which was complete nonsense. I looked passed that and moved on and weeks passed and I noticed I haven’t even seen the head coach at any of my pool or track workout sessions. so I started questioning my self what did I do to deserve this… why did he give up on me like that .. and I get to realize it’s because I’m injury prone and I’m a waste of time… and that my head is not good but I will keep going until God tells me to stop. I DON’T CARE WHO WANT TO HATE ME AFTER THIS.. I HAVE ALOT MORE IN ME. Ps I’m no longer affiliated to any club base on what I heard

A post shared by بيلي كول 🤫🕇 (@kemar_baileycole) on

Under the post, other Jamaican athletes Warren Weir and Yohan Blake echoed Bailey-Cole’s message, sharing similar views. “Told you he retired couple years ago and didn’t tell the current athletes. #WeDidntGetTheMemo”, Weir said, while Blake commented, “I know the feeling son”.

Shortly after the post, Bailey-Cole issued a statement announcing that he would return to his former Coach Gregory Little of the Racers Track Club. According to Bailey-Cole, Little had been overseeing his preparations over the past few months leading up to the national championships.

In recent months, six Jamaican athletes have parted ways with Coach Glen Mills- Yohan Blake, Warren Weir, Jevaughn Minzie, Senoj-Jay Givans and Michael O’Hara who is currently coached by Little.

But World Record Holder, Usain Bolt is defending his former coach amid the allegations of neglect made by the athletes. “They’re comfortable to disrespect the coach and make the coach look bad”, Bolt said in a live interview with the Jamaica Gleaner, “but they’re not gonna tell you when they got injured and the coach said this is the direction we’re going (and they do something else).

It’s very upsetting to see this because I believe in my coach. If my coach says “X”, it’s “X” because I believe that anything my coach says, I will get back. That has been proven over the years and years that I’ve dominated”, Bolt said.

It is unusual for Bolt to take a side against his former sprinting teammates, but he says that he is “deeply hurt” by the “disrespectful” comments made by the athletes. “A lot of these athletes complain when coach shows up at their house to even have a conversation- they complain to me”, he said. “But he cares. He cares about track and field and he cares about his athletes.”

Bolt went on further to name names, explaining that “Blake, Warren, Bailey-Cole, the younger ones, them complain because them don’t understand the benefit of having a conversation with Coach Mills.”

He also disputed Bailey-Cole’s allegations of being neglected by Mills. “Coach supports all of us. You can’t complain about the coach talking to you and then go and complain about neglect”, he said. He added that many athletes including Bailey-Cole and Blake came to Racers Track Club, straight from high school, with injuries and Coach Mills dedicated himself to make sure they received the best treatment and were able to compete.

Retired legendary sprinter, Usain Bolt was coached by Glen Mills from 2004 to the end of his track career in 2017. Mills was the reason that Bolt became dominant in the 100 meters, after suggesting that he make a switch to the sprint from the 200 meters. In 2009, Mills stepped down as the Olympic Jamaican athletics coach having overseen athletes to 71 world championship and 33 Olympic medals in his 22 years in the role. He is still the head coach at the Racers Track Club in Kingston.

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