The 100m record that wasn’t
By Orin Davidson
Published - Wednesday, October 6, 2010 | 3
Not too long ago it was the national cricket, now athletics is being saddled with unrealistic expectations before a major competition.
The Amazon Conquerors flattered to deceive in South Africa and less than a month later a similar fate awaits at least one Guyanese athlete when the Commonwealth Games showpiece segment, kicks off today in New Delhi, India.
Much is expected from Aliann Pompey, who streaked to 400 metres gold in the last staging of the Games in England, four years ago. Also Cleveland Forde, the poster boy for local track and field will be aiming to continue his golden run in the 5000m as he did at the CAC Games two months ago.
And now without warning, another name was thrust into the limelight.
No one knew much about Jeremy Bascom before an intense lobbying campaign started for recognition of a supposedly national record he broke in a race in the United States.
Out of nowhere Bascom became another Guyana medal prospect after it was touted that he clocked 10.00 seconds to erase the 100 metres record of 10.19s set 32 years ago by Guyana’s most celebrated athlete James Wren Gilkes.
Bascom was instantly selected for the Commonwealth Games and left his New York base bound for India, on a wave of high expectation.
But unless a miracle unfolds at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, those hopes will vanish like those invested in that inexperienced Guyana cricket team.
Whether intentional or not, Bascom is being made out to be much better than he actually is and when the dust has settled more likely after the Games, questions are sure to be raised.
The reality is that Bascom is nowhere near capable of matching Gilkes’ feat, much less surpassing it.
If the factors surrounding his 100m run at the United States Track and Field (USATF) New Jersey Masters meet on June 19, are examined, it would be easy to conclude he is not the new national 100m record holder.
Apart from the fact that the world ruling body for athletics —- the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) has not recognized Bascom’s time, any seasoned follower of the sport viewing the video of the race would instantly conclude it was much slower than 10.00s.
The event was a qualifier, known as a Heat in athletics jargon, and according to Lee Powell, another Guyanese sprinter who competed, there is no way it could’ve finished in 10.00s.
Powell explained that the judges initially made a mistake by determining him as the winner, after Bascom finished in first place.
“They gave me a time of 10.76 and him (Bascom) 11.00 and after he protested they rightly switched the positions around”, Powell stated.
“I drove away from that meet with the results (hard copy) having him at 10.76 and me 11.00 and I was surprised afterwards to see him listed at 10.00s on the website, when I checked after all this talk started”.
Powell who competed at the CAC Games feels another error was made in the compilation of that specific race time on the website. Curiously, the time for the meet’s 100m final is listed at 10.44s and in the video Bascom, dropped out midway, jogging to the finish line after a poor start. These factors would explain why the IAAF has ignored Bascom’s purported record feat.
For this year, all of the 100m men’s times done in 10.31s or faster are listed in the top lists section of the IAAF’s website and none of six 10.00s recorded are credited to Bascom.
And there is no chance the world body could’ve overlooked the Guyanese’s performance because it has meet managers throughout the United States, and the USATF NJ Open Masters is recognized by the country’s federation, as the name suggests.
The only Guyanese listed in the IAAF’s men’s 100m compilation this year are wind assisted performances by Adams Harris at 10.23s in Florida and Dax Danns at 10.30 in Texas.
In Bascom’s case it is not the responsibility of the Guyana Amateur Athletics Association (AAA) to inform the IAAF about a performance that it has no jurisdiction over, as is the impression being peddled around.
It was an event conducted in a different country where the world body has its resources to liaise for matters relative to performances.
Also, when it is taken into account Bascom has never done any time close to 10.00s in his career, and is listed as clocking 10.76s in a 100m at the New Jersey Invitational Track and Field meet, 12 days prior to his alleged record breaking run, it is understandable why the claim is dubious.
Yet if the Guyana ruling body was a better run organization, the false hopes being raised about a new national record holder would’ve never gotten further than the lips of the lobbyists.
One wonders how the AAG expects to be taken seriously by remaining silent and not taking the time investigate the issue and clear the air via a media conference.
In the fiercely competitive world of modern-day sport, sportspeople, more so, ones from poor countries like Guyana, need massive support to succeed, but not through misinformation as is the case here.
Bascom did himself no favours by embellishing the charade in his Stabroek News interview.
He has placed a serious burden on his young shoulders as a result.