Jamaal Wilson watches from the sidelines. Photo: Kermit Taylor/Bahamas Athletics
By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
LONDON, England: After winning the Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations' National Championship men's high jump with a qualifying mark in a jump off, Jamaal Wilson was certain he was on his way to the 16th IAAF World Championships as a member of Team Bahamas.
Instead, a dejected Wilson said he decided to pay his way to come to the championships just so that he could watch Thomas as the only Bahamian in the qualifying round on Friday and the rest of the team as they perform this weekend.
"I'm disappointed that it's not my time," he said at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium after watching the qualifying round with his coach Ronald Cartwright (an assistant on Team Bahamas).
"Things didn't work out the way I wanted it to work out, but it's all in God's plans. I don't want to go into the details, but I'm leaving it all in God's plans."
During the nationals in Grand Bahama in June, Wilson and Thomas finished in a two-way tie for first place in the men's high jump final at 2.25 metres or 7-feet, 4 1/2-inches. They went to jump off and Wilson got the better end of the deal as he soared 2.30m (7-6 1/2).
That equalled the qualifying standard for entry into the championships, but it wasn't until the team was named by the BAAA that he realised that the Bahamas Association of Certified Officials (BACO) had not recorded his feat.
"The powers above in our organisation could have gotten it done so that I could qualify to come here, but it wasn't done," Wilson stated. "Unfortunately, that's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes and I have to live with it."
It would be an understatement to say that Wilson is disappointed in the outcome.
"I'm a high jumper, I'm a competitor and my only dream is to compete at the highest level. That is what we work for every year and to not get that opportunity, I'm extremely disappointed."
Even while he's here watching, Wilson said it took mental toll on him, but he will use it as an inspiration to get back on the global scene next year.
"It's fun, but it's awful being here on the sidelines," he said. "I'm here because I have so many friends and team-mates who support each other. I would like to support them in return.
"I would never want to be the guy sitting on the side at home. I would rather be in Nassau sitting on the beach and sipping on a pina colada or a Kalik right now. I also need me a scorch conch right now. At the end of the day, I'm here. God is good."
Wilson got a chance to watch as Qatar's Mutaz Essa Barshim led the list of qualifiers that left Thomas out of a spot in Sunday's final after he was tied with two others for 22nd overall.
"The weather was good on this day and so I'm happy for all of the guys who qualified for the final," he said. "Unfortunately, Donald Thomas didn't make it.
"But that doesn't say he shouldn't be here. I'm sure he will brush it off and he will be back next stronger next time."
As a result of the stress and frustration that he endured to get to London as a member of Team Bahamas, Wilson said he had to shut down his season and now he's here on vacation.
"Instead of making bad decisions going forth and suffering any injuries because I wasn't mentally prepared, I just decided to shut the season down and enjoy Europe on a vacation," he pointed out.
"When I get back home until August 18, we, will get back down to business in October to start preparing for next season."