- Omar McLeod not happy with the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA)
- Olympic Champion very heartbroken about not being included in Jamaica’s Olympic team
- McLeod favorite to win at Gateshead Diamond League clash against Ronald Levy and Rasheed Broadbell
Olympic champion Omar McLeod will race for the first time since failing to make the Jamaica team to this summer’s Tokyo Games when he lines up at the 2021 Wanda Diamond League meeting in Gateshead on Tuesday. The 2016 Rio Olympic champion will not defend his men’s 110m hurdles title later this summer after he unfortunately finished eighth at the 2021 Jamaica Championships in Kingston, last month.
McLeod who is the fastest Jamaican sprint hurdler this season and the second quickest overall in 2021 behind U.S. champion Grant Holloway, enters the 2021 British Muller Grand Prix meeting with a season’s best of 13.01 seconds and will take on fellow Jamaicans Ronald Levy and Rasheed Broadbell.
After running 13.04s in his semi-finals at the Jamaica Championships, McLeod had the worse luck in the final when he hit the first couple of hurdles and never recovered. The 27-year-old who blamed the early morning scheduling of the event for his poor return, which saw him jogging across the finishing line in 16.22s, has publicly criticized the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) for not offering him some grace and select him for Tokyo. He will hope to produce something special to prove his point.
“I am very heartbroken, honestly,” he said on Monday. “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 lamented, his voice near the point of breaking.”
Winning up against McLeod in Gateshead on Tuesday is the man that won at the Jamaica Championships, Levy. The Commonwealth Games champion ran 13.10s for his victory in Kingston, but owns a season’s best of 13.08s which he clocked when finishing behind the Olympic champion the evening before.
In his last outing, Levy finished fourth behind Holloway (13.08) at the 2021 Gyulai István Memorial in 13.25 and he will be aiming to improve on that performance as he stages his final tune-up ahead of Tokyo.
Meanwhile, like McLeod, Broadbell who is ranked No. 5 this year and is the third fastest Jamaican this season at 13.10s, will not feature at the Olympics after he was unable to compete at the trials. The 20-year-old ran 13.68s (-0.6) to win in Italy in his last outing on July 3, and he knows he will need something much better than that to secure a victory on Tuesday.
Challenging the Jamaicans at the 2021 Wanda Diamond League meeting in Gateshead will be World Indoor champion Andy Pozzi of Great Britain who has a season’s best of 13.25s, as well as American Robert Dunning, the NCAA champion who owns a season’s best and PB of 13.24s.
Italian European Indoor bronze medalist Paolo Dal Molin will also feature in the event, and he has a season and lifetime best of 13.27s.