16th August 2012, St. John’s Antigua- Antigua & Barbuda 100 metres specialist Daniel “Bakka” Bailey said he failed to advance to the finals of the event at the just ended London Olympics only because he fell ill just days before his semi-final heat.
The ambassador clocked 10.12 seconds in heat four to advance to the semi-finals where he finished sixth in 10.16 which did not see the Antiguan advance to the finals.
The final was captured by Jamaican Usain Bolt in a new Olympic record of 9.63 seconds.
“Well, (it’s) simple. I caught the flu before the race and there was nothing I could do. Dr (Philmore) Benjamin stood by my side for the three days before the race and I lost four pounds. I wasn’t eating and sleeping properly and that just threw me off big time. I went to the doctor twice, took some meds and all sorts of different stuff and that just dropped my system right down, took my immune system right down,” Bailey said.
“I didn’t really want to put it to the public and then people say that I was trying to find an excuse or whatever, but I didn’t want to say anything before the race,” he added.
The sprinter, whose best time this season is 10.10, said he was confident going into the event that once fit he would have qualified for the finals.
“I know that if I hadn’t gotten the flu, and I am telling you straight up, I would have made that final because I was in tip-top shape,” he said.
“From the time I got to London, Birmingham, I went to the Jamaica camp and everything changed. I started putting on weight and was running faster times and the coach said to me that he never saw anything like that before and it was the first time he ever saw me going into the Games being in the best shape of my life. I even cried when the flu came on to me. People were telling me not to run, and whatever; but I wasn’t going to go all the way to London not to run.”
When asked, however, to respond to comments made by former national coach and athlete Evans “Jawakie” Jones pertaining to his performance at the London Olympics, Bailey opted not to speak on the matter.
The sprinter’s former coach, Karl Casey, said however, that people are entitled to their opinions.
“Everybody has their own opinion. Mr Jones has his own opinion and I respectfully respect everybody’s opinion and like I said to Mr Bailey, it’s a famous quote, no disrespect but just say ‘no comment,’ just ‘respect’ and that’s it,” the coach said.
Jones, in his comments on Tuesday, said poor preparations leading into the London Olympics had hampered Bailey’s chances of doing well against better prepared athletes.
Bailey, who is currently on island, said his training will resume in October as he looks towards a full indoor season in 2013.