A YEAR ago Tajay Gayle was determined to push through excruciating pain at the Tokyo Olympics in a bid to make his mark in Japan. A year later, the defending world champion is injured again, but the trepidation of not being able to compete has been replaced by a sense of calm.
Gayle and the other Jamaicans arrived in Eugene on Monday night with the former sporting great questioning his health after a leg injury sustained at the JAAA National Senior and Junior Championships forced the suspension of competition.
He returned to training only last Friday.
Initial scans on the leg where he landed awkwardly showed bone bruising, and even after intensive rehabilitation, his participation in this Friday’s qualifiers at 8:00pm Jamaica time is in doubt.
“Many might say I should have just run (on). But I broke the jump instead of running and based on the results you could see the leg was hyperextended and the MRI showed I had a bone bruise,” Gayle said. The Gleaner.
“I’m not sure if it’s cracked. I think it’s cracked. But it caused a huge swelling. The doctor drained a lot of fluid to reduce the swelling. We mainly work to reduce the swelling and prevent it from getting out of control. Because if it swells up again, I can’t compete.”
INJURED ON FIRST ATTEMPT
A year ago, Gayle reached the final of the Olympic long jump, but injured his knee on his first attempt, pushing through the pain during the final to finish 11th.
While that medial collateral ligament (MCL) injury is behind him, experience could play a role in a more cautious approach to Friday’s contest.
“The initial MCL injury has healed pretty well, it’s just a recent bone bruise. As for leg strengthening, I’ve been doing that since the injury. Maybe he can make it, maybe not. I don’t know yet until I actually start training. I’m not sure when,” Gayle said.
“The coach will let me know by Friday depending on how my knee holds up in training. We’ll see in training and hope for the best.”
Regardless of whether Gayle is on track to defend his title, he says he’s at peace with whatever the outcome is and is determined to cherish his Eugene experience in any way possible.
“In terms of feeling. I don’t feel at all. I’m always a happy guy no matter the circumstances. I’m just here to enjoy the show.”
If a title defense is not on the cards, national champion Wayne Pinnock will be the sole representative to carry the torch for Jamaica. Pinnock is making his senior championship debut. His personal best of 8.14 meters is the 18th best jump in the world this year.