By Neto Baptiste
A decision by national female sprinter, Joella Lloyd, to pull out of both the 100 and 200 meter sprints at the Under-20 Pan American Games held in Costa Rica over the weekend, was not due to injury.
This is according to coach and floor member of the Antigua and Barbuda Athletics Association (ABAA), Jamille Nelson, who said it was more of a mental issue rather than a physical drawback.
“When she got back to Antigua from Mexico, she went to NSA [Medical Center] on two different occasions and the third one would have been on the day we travelled. But she was cleared to run before that but as you may know, with certain injuries, especially hamstring injuries, it also
a mental effect on the person, so I think that was more of the issue,” he said.
“We went to the warm up and everything and she had already checked in during the first call to run; everything was good up until she did the block starts. We did two block starts and it was on the second she felt that she didn’t really want to risk it,” the coach added.
Lloyd, during an interview following her return from the NACAC Championships in Mexico, said a slight hamstring injury had forced her out of competition for the rest of the season.
News of her inclusion in the team to the Pan Am Games raised questions of her fitness but the athletics association head, Everton Cornelius, dismissed concerns, stating that the athlete was fit to compete.
According to Nelson, however, Lloyd will now focus on preparing for next season.
“She would have run the qualifying time for the Pan Am Games but it would have been past the qualification period so there wouldn’t be any more meets left for her; so it is her just preparing to go back to school. I think she leaves on the 17th of August and she is not down mentally and she was still in high spirits,” he said.
National triple-jump athlete, Taeco O’Garro covered a distance of 15.60 meters to finish sixth during the games.
Nelson commended the athlete for his efforts.
“From the performance at Carifta, he was a bit disappointed being knocked out of the medals in the last round but even though he was knocked down from fourth at this competition in the last round as well, he basically would have jumped a personal best almost four times in a row at that meet so I don’t think you can really ask for much more than that,” he said.
The Antigua and Barbuda National Olympic Association recently named a nine-member squad for the senior Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru which will be held from 29th July to 11th August.