Sport

Michael O'Hara in shock and disbelief at Bolt's video rant

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, July 12, 2019

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Michael O'Hara has refuted claims that he has disrespected Racers Track Club Head Coach Glen Mills.

O'Hara was one of a number of athletes, including Yohan Blake, Warren Weir and Kemar Bailey-Cole who were named in Usain Bolt's tirade in defense of Mills.

But O'Hara said he would be crazy to disrespect someone who has achieved so much in the sport.

“I was surprised at his comments because I have never spoken to anyone in the media about coach Mills and I am not sure why I was included in that discussion,” O'Hara told the Jamaica Observer.

“Even recently when I switched to the hurdles event, Mr Mills had spoken glowingly about the fact that I have found my niche and I felt motivated just to hear that he gave me such public support,” he pointed out.

Coach Mills came under fire on social media, after a frustrated Bailey-Cole announced issues with the head coach and aired his disappointment with the club.

Bailey-Cole's frustrations were seemingly supported by a number of former athletes who each either liked or commented on the post. Yohan Blake wrote: “I feel your pain son” and Ohara added “fight the fight”, to the dismay of Bolt, who came out swinging in defense of the man who took him to eight Olympic gold titles.

O'Hara was also taken aback by a “rich” comment made by Bolt and his lack of desire to listen.

“One day him look pon me and tell me sey him rich and I said you not rich you just start the game and you need to work hard,” said Bolt.

Said O'Hara: “With reference to Bolt's 'rich' comments, the context of which it was used, was also surprising. In fact, Bolt joined an on-going conversation I was having and the comment was made in reference to purchasing an item, so I was a little surprised at the way in which that conversation was portrayed.”

“I don't recall Bolt and I having a professional conversation like that. We were just joking as athletes and he overheard the conversation and made a comment,” O'Hara explained.

But Bolt was not finished with O'Hara, and said the former Calabar standout was injured mainly because he didn't wear his proper shoe size.

“Them comment pon a post and him nah go tell you sey him a force him foot in a eight-and-a-half spikes and a size 10 him wear,” Bolt reiterated.

As to the shoe comments, O'Hara thought Bolt's comments were ridiculous.

“That story is actually very funny. He is unaware of the full story regarding my foot problems. The truth is, my doctor, upon analysing my recurring foot injury, recommended, among other things, that I wear larger shoes, not that I was trying to fit into a shoe size that wasn't mine. Disappointing, because I have so much respect for the legend as well,” said O'Hara.

The former Calabar High standout in 2013, who struck gold in the 200m at the IAAF World Youth Championship and left Champs in a blaze of glory capturing the 100m, 200m and 110m hurdles titles in 2015, was seen as one that will keep Jamaica's flag flying high.

“One of the reasons I choose Racers Track Club at the start of my professional career, like many other young athletes, was to be another Usain Bolt. At no point in time have I disrespected Usain, he is the standard. His advice is something I would readily welcome. He is the best the sport has ever seen.”

With regards to his future, O'Hara added: “At this critical stage in my career, I am just concerned about getting into shape and keeping motivated, having returned to my pet event. My concern is representing myself and Jamaica to the best of my ability and I am looking forward to that. I have a lot to prove in the sport.”

When reached by the Observer for comment, Bolt's manager Nugent Walker said his client had said “all he neeeded to on the matter” of the video remarks. Nugent added that “he's (Bolt) not doing any back and forth with anyone”.


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