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  • Monday, August 30, 1999

    Surin relays terse message

    Bailey the target of sprinter's ire

    By STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun
      SEVILLE, Spain -- The Cinderella story that was the Canadian men's 4x100-metre team is now a bad joke.
     Bruny Surin, the designated goat after the team's miserable showing Saturday, lashed out yesterday, aiming most of his verbal arrows at training partner and longtime teammate Donovan Bailey.
     Surin was upset by comments Bailey made following the Canadian team's disqualification in the semi-finals at the world track and field championships.
     "I always respected Donovan, but I lost a lot of that respect Saturday," Surin said.
     
     TRADITIONAL ORDER
     Bailey suggested that placing the inexperienced Trevino Betty in the third leg of the team's lineup ultimately resulted in the disqualification. Bailey also made the point that changing the traditional order was ultimately Surin's decision.
     On numerous occasions during the week, Bailey said that he preferred the team's traditional order: A leadoff runner (Betty or another young sprinter) to Glenroy Gilbert to Surin to Bailey.
     But when Betty was put in the third leg and failed to accept the baton cleanly from Gilbert on Saturday, Bailey gave it the old "I told you so."
     That infuriated Surin.
     "I feel that's a betrayal," Surin told The Toronto Sun. "I wouldn't do that to a friend. I wouldn't even think of doing that.
     "When we have the good moments, we share them as a team. When there are bad moments, we should share them. I thought we were a team.
     There's a lot of hypocrisy going on. I had heard Donovan say that this was (my decision). What's that supposed to mean?
     "I'm very upset. I was having the best year in track and field in my life, my best season, everything was going great. But this week, I have to tell you, was the longest week of my life."
     Surin, who won the 100-metre silver medal last Sunday in a sizzling 9.84, said the mood with the guys on the relay team -- which had won the previous two worlds and the 1996 Olympics -- heading into the weekend was the worse he had ever seen.
     The problem was that Surin's preference to run the anchor was being second-guessed by the sprinters and coaches.
     "I didn't feel we were as a team," he said. "The whole week, I didn't like it at all.
     Surin, 32, denied he simply demanded the anchor spot after posting his 9.84.
     "I'm not the type of guy like that," the Montreal sprinter said. "I say my point of view and I listen. We had two meetings to discuss it.
     "Any other time, the fastest guy would say: 'Yes, I'm anchoring' and there wouldn't be a meeting."
     Asked to elaborate, Surin said: "If Donovan was running 9.8 right now, there wouldn't be a discussion. I'd be in third, and he would run the anchor.
     
     BACK FROM INJURY
     "Donovan is just coming back from an injury and is running 10.3. The way Donovan's running and the way I'm running, we thought it was the best solution (to change the order)."
     As for the betrayal, Surin pointed out that he saved Bailey's skin at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. In the relay heats, Bailey left the zone early and Surin had to do some fancy footwork to give Bailey the baton without crossing the line.
     "I didn't go to the media about that," he said.
     Surin wouldn't say if he would run the relay next season.
     "I don't know. I'm just very upset," he said. "Right now, the relay is out. I have three more races this season, where I'll try to run 9.9, and break the Canadian record in the 200 and that's it."
     The U.S. captured the gold medal in the 4x100 relay on the final day af competition yesterday, overtaking Britain on the final leg to win in 37.59, the fastest time in the world this year and the fifth-best ever.





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