Antonio Watson apologises for 'gun' gesture at Champs 2021

Petersfield High’s Class 1 boys’ 200m gold medal winner Antonio Watson has apologised for his Saturday’s (15 May) actions.

Watson gestured in the shape of a gun and pretended to fire a shot at Edwin Allen High’s Bryan Levell as he crossed the line, which has come in for public criticism.

Director of Tourism, Donovan White, was among those who called on Petersfield to reprimand and insist Watson make a public apology.

“This student (Antonio Watson) need to be spoken to; our nation has tolerated too many questionable/offensive behaviour from our youths…no wonder such violence exist here,” White wrote on Twitter.

“I hope the Petersfield High Principal does reprimand him and insist that he apologises publicly to the other athlete from Edwin Allen, and the viewers of champs,” he said.

Watson issued a statement on Sunday, saying his gesture could jeopardise what he described as a successful Champs 2021.

“I, therefore, want to unreservedly apologise to all the stakeholders, my school, fans, and family for my actions,” he said.

He admitted the “gestures could have been misleading” but was quick to make it clear that he has “no desire to negatively influence others.”

Watson, who trailed Levell into the last 15 metres, got by to win the event in 20.74s. Levell finished second in 20.83.

Watson’s full statement below:

“Champs 2021 is over, and I must say it was a success, and I must thank ISSA, the sponsors, Ministry of Health and all other stakeholders that have worked together to make it possible.

“However, I am now aware that my actions and gesture at the end of the Class 1 boys’ 200m finals could jeopardise all that ….
“I, therefore, want to unreservedly apologise to all the stakeholders, my school, fans, and family for my actions,” he said.

“I have taken full responsibility for such actions as it is in no way a reflection of the ethos of my school, the principles of my coach or the position of ISSA or any of the sponsors.

“Upon reflection, I recognise that my gestures could have been misleading, and I have no desire to negatively influence others.

In fact, going forward, I aspire to demonstrate positive behaviours and attitudes that will inspire countless young Jamaicans to strive for excellence and make our country a true beacon of what is good in this world.”

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Anthony Foster is a renowned Jamaican sports journalist, honored twice as the Jamaica sports journalist of the year (in 2004 and 2005). His journalistic achievements are globally recognized. Notably, he authored an award-winning article on Usain Bolt, the iconic 6-time Olympic champion, 11-time World champion, and record holder for the sprint double. This significant piece was published in the Jamaica Gleaner in 2004. Anthony's extensive coverage includes prestigious events such as the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016. He has also provided coverage for seven (7) World Athletics Championships held between 2007 and 2022, alongside various other international sporting events. Noteworthy mentions comprise his coverage of the 2007 World Cup of cricket and his cherished experience reporting on the 2004 clash between his favorite football team, Argentina, and the USA.