Omar McLeod, the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 110-meter hurdles, failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics at the Jamaican Trials in Kingston last month. McLeod, the heavy favorite to win the final, finished last among the eight entrants in 16.22 seconds.
McLeod posted on his Twitter account that he began suffering from severe cramps in his calves before the race.
Since only the top three finishers at the Jamaican Trials qualify for the Olympics, Mcleod was left off the 61-member team announced to compete in Tokyo later this month.
During a press conference on Tuesday, ahead of the Diamond League in England, the Olympian said he was not given a fair opportunity to make the team. He partly blamed his performance on poor scheduling by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association.
“I am very heartbroken, honestly. I don’t think I was given or granted a fair opportunity to make the team with this ridiculous schedule that I have never seen in my years in track and field where they have semi-finals late in the evening and then, without recovery and the country was in complete lockdown so we were unable to go back to the hotel and get food,” he said during the press briefing.
“So, my team and I, we did the best we could and we went to a little lounge at the hotel and drank some soup and had a salad because that was all they had, trying to go back to the track and five in the morning for a final at eight, I mean, that’s stupid.
“For an event that has your reigning Olympic champion, you don’t treat the event like that. Give me a fair opportunity like everybody else to come and make the team. I didn’t have the audacity to not show up at the trials thinking I was obligated to make the team. I went there ready to compete and earn my spot.”
Omar McLeod also reiterated that he had been suffering from cramps before the finals. He said he applied for a medical exemption but was denied, unlike other Jamaican Olympians like Usain Bolt.
“We did a medical exemption. It’s been done for Usain Bolt and other athletes before where they couldn’t run in the final or something happened. I was in the same position where I won all the major gold medals and historic moments where I was the first Jamaican to win (110mh) gold medals in every championship so I thought I was going to be okay.”
McLeod said his team has exhausted every possible avenue of appeal including sending emails and meeting with the members of the selection committee.