Sands: Country should be proud of Ojay Ferguson
Guardian Sports Editor
Published: Aug 19, 2013
MOSCOW, Russia – In hearing reports that a number of Bahamians were making adverse comments about quarter-miler Ojay Ferguson, Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations’ (BAAA) President Mike Sands said that it is unfortunate given what the youngster went through.
Ferguson anchored The Bahamas’ men’s 4x400 meter (m) relay team to a fourth place finish in their semi-final heat, in 3:02.67, thereby missing the final at the second straight world outdoor championships. However, this time they were coming off a golden run at the Olympics, and were expected to be in the medal hunt again here in Moscow, Russia.
That was before three of the quarter-milers who ran in last year’s Olympic final went down with injuries. Those injuries forced coaches here in Moscow to go with a line-up of veteran Chris Brown, Wesley Neymour, LaToy Williams and young Ojay Ferguson.
“First of all, let me say I proud I am of those young men,” said Sands. “We have to remember that Ojay is only 19-years-old, and he had a flu bug that he was battling as well. Also, with the situation being what it was, with Demetrius out and Ramon obviously hurting, and then Michael not being available as well, of course it would have been extremely difficult for them to duplicate what happened in London.
“The other guys on the team, they went out there and ran extremely well. Just to be in that position without three of the guys who would have contributed to the team’s success in London last year, shows how deep the unit is. I am proud of them and I commend them for a job well done.”
Sands, a former quarter-miler himself, is reminding Bahamians that even without Pinder, Miller and Mathieu, The Bahamas still nearly qualified for the final of the event at these 14th International Association of Athletic Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships.
They had a lead on their final leg in their semi-final heat, until Ferguson was passed on the straight away by the runners from Russia, Australia and Germany. The Bahamas finished 13th overall, and out of the final.
The injury which really caught Bahamians off guard here in Moscow was Mathieu’s. He developed shin splints at the BTC National Open Track and Field Championships, in June, but it was the general consensus that he would have recovered in time for the world championships.
He wouldn’t have been able to compete in the final of the men’s 4x400m relay on Friday due to his commitment in the men’s 200m, but he could have given The Bahamas a leg in the heats, on Thursday.
“Michael’s injury really came as a surprise to many of us. Whereas we knew something was wrong after nationals, the severity of the injury caught us off guard,” said Sands. “It is unfortunate that he was unable to go, because he could have helped in a major way. He is one of the guys who got the job done last year, so his presence was missed, especially with Demetrius and Ramon being out as well.”
With the inaugural world relays coming to The Bahamas next year, Sands said that it is imperative that the guys get healthy. He likes the depth of Team Bahamas in the event, but says that in order for the country to have its best showing, key athletes must get healthy.