Famed athletics coach dies in Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma claimed the life of Xavier "Dag" Samuels, coach of the fastest men's 400m hurdler in the world for 2017

Xavier Dag Samuels

Famed athletics coach Xavier “Dag” Samuels died as Hurricane Irma passed through the British Virgin Islands, a local news outlet reports.

“Several people in my community today were expressing condolences, so yes, I can confirm,” former president of the British Virgin Islands Athletics Association, Dean Greenaway, told SportsMax.tv. Samuels may have fell from a roof as Irma passed over the island of Tortola, the largest island in the British Virgin Islands, though reports are unconfirmed, according to SportsMax.tv.

BVI Platinum News reports that Samuels died on Sept. 6. Irma struck the BVI as a category 5 hurricane and is tracking northwest towards the southeastern United States as a category 4 as of Sept. 9.

“[Dag] was a sincere individual, tireless worker, exceptional organizer, great coach and friend,” North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) president Victor Lopez said. St. Kitts and Nevis Track and Field posted a statement on Facebook saying “his work is an inspiration and will continue through those he has touched.”

According to FloTrack, Samuels was the mentor for 400m hurdles specialist Kyron McMaster, who has the fastest time in the world this year in the event. He was disqualified at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in the opening round because of a lane infringement and later went on to win the IAAF Diamond League Final, defeating this year’s world champion Karsten Warholm.

McMaster, 20, ran 47.80 at the Jamaica Invitational in May.

The New York Times reports that Irma passed through Tortola on Wednesday, blowing off “most of the galvanized steel roofs on homes” in certain neighbourhoods of the territory’s most populous island.