By Gary Smith, TrackAlerts.Com Contributor
There is still three months to go before the IAAF World Championships, but the battle between the United States and Jamaica has already began.
The Americans dominated the Jamaicans at the recently concluded IAAF World Relays 2015 in Nassau, Bahamas, to take the Golden Baton for the second time in a row, but it was a particular celebration from American sprinter Ryan Bailey that got the “fire blazing.”
Shortly after holding off Usain Bolt to anchor USA to a world-leading and championship record of 37.38 seconds for the gold medal in the men’s 4x100m relay, Bailey restyled Bolt’s famous ‘To di Worl’ pose by pulling his finger across his throat during his celebrations teammates.
His teammates Tyson Gay and Mike Rodgers didn’t seem too interested in that antics, at least so it showed.
The move was a brave cutting gesture — to signify a possible power change — but it didn’t go down very well among the Jamaicans.
In fact, Warren Weir, the Jamaican World 200m silver medallist and training partner of Bolt, slammed the American sprinter as “a little nobody” who needs to show more respect.
“When you see the greats, you have to show them respect, you have to respect the legends of our sport,” Weir said in the Gleaner.
“Especially when you are a little nobody, you really are to show more respect to those who are leading the way and those who have accomplished way more than you have,” Weir blasted
“He disrespected track and field. He also said that Bolt is ‘somewhat of an icon’, he is an icon and he was not showing enough respect, not just to Bolt, but to the sport.
“As an athlete, I feel like he was disrespecting me and as a member of this Jamaican team, I also felt upset and disrespected about it.”
Bailey revealed after the race that he wanted to modify the gesture for a long time.
Weir, who like Bolt and the likes of Yohan Blake, Nesta Carter and Asafa Powell are preparing for the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China, later this summer, is bullish about the future battles.
“This is just the beginning,” he warned.
Weir took over the glory leg in the absence of Bolt on the 4×200 team as Jamaica successfully defended their 4x200m crown at the IAAF World Relays 2015, although falling well short of the record they set at last year’s event.
After the Americans were disqualified for a poor exchange on the third leg, the lineup of Nickel Ashmeade, Rasheed Dwyer Jason Livermore and Weir clocked 1:20.97 for victory, with France finishing second in 1:21.49 and Germany taking third with a time of 1:22.65.
Bailey, who finished 5th at the London Olympic Games in 2012 and holds a personal best of 9.88 seconds, will race over 100m at this weekend’s Jamaica International Invitational and all eyes will be on him to see what reception he will be getting.
Probably not a good one.
Winning up as well in the race is Asafa Powell, who opened his season with a solid 10.08 seconds performance in a strong headwind in Guadeloupe on Saturday.
The former world 100m record holder believes he is in good shape to run faster than 10-seconds, which would be a world-leading time.