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Wed Apr 23 08:39:57 SAST 2014

Tyson coach slams Magakwe omission

DAVID ISAACSON | 20 July, 2012 07:130 Comments
Yellow Pages South African Senior Championship: Day 2
Simon Magakwe during day 2 of the Yellow Pages South African Senior Championship at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on April 14, 2012 in Port Elizabeth
Image by: Richard Huggard / Gallo Images

A FORMER Olympic sprint champion says he is puzzled by the omission of South African speed king Simon Magakwe from the London Games team.

While Team SA boarded the plane to London last night, Magakwe was left behind to ponder where he had done wrong in a season during which he beat the 100m qualifying time on six occasions — including a 10.06sec effort which equalled the national record — and the 200m criterion twice.

His only failing was not achieving one of those times at an IAAF-sanctioned meet.

But Jon Drummond, a 4x100m relay gold medallist at Sydney 2000, who is the US relay coach as well as the mentor of Tyson Gay, said it wasn’’t always fair to expect athletes to perform overseas on demand.

 “The unfortunate thing about flying abroad and competing is time change, acclimatisation and weather and if these are not in your favour, it’’s very possible you’’re not going to have a great showing. You need several meetings to get your rhythm.

 “You can’’t get off the plane and just run fast, it just does not happen,” said Drummond, who is in Monaco on camp with the US team — at the same hotel as SA’’s Olympic swimmers.

 Gay, Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter are among the stars who will compete in the Diamond League meet in Monaco tonight. SA's Caster Semenya, in the 800m, and long-jumper Khotso Motau will have their final pre-Olympic here.

“With Tyson Gay we flew from Seattle but we arrived five days before to compete in Paris. We had a good showing but we didn’t have our fastest showing. He ran 10 flat.”

“I would safely say that if I (were) part of the (SA) federation and this young man has run a national record — or close to a national record — I would definitely consider having him at the Olympic Games because it’s about bringing your best.

 “And while he might not have been able to perform on an international level in the required time it doesn’t mean he won’t be able to perform well at that level at the Games.”

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Tyson coach slams Magakwe omission

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