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TrackLife International

Jamaicans Ferocious at 2015 World Championships

Nov

The Caribbean Island of Jamaica was once renowned as the Pirate Capitol of the world; these days, it is known simply as the land of reggae as well as the sprinting capital of the world.   Behaving like pirates of the Caribbean, to borrow the title of a popular movie, a contingent of 53 Jamaican athletes led by the indomitable sprinting king and queen of the world (Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, respectively) landed in Beijing, China to participate in the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Athletics and launch a treasure hunt for precious medals.

The Jamaicans were more than astounding, they were emblematic and ferocious as was evident in their last gold medal feat of the meet – the women’s 4x400m relay.  Of the seven gold medals, this must have been the sweetest. This I say without any intentional disregard for or disrespect of Usain Bolt’s 100m gold medal victory or that of the young Danielle Williams, who demolished a formidable field of world class athletes to take gold in the women’s 100m hurdles. Superficially, it is possible that the only persons on the face of this earth who believed that the Jamaican quartet of Christine Day, Shericka Jackson, Stephanie Ann McPherson and the sensational Novlene Williams-Mills would run away with the gold medal in the 4x400m relay were the squad members themselves, because they were up against the impressive American team of Sanya Richards-Ross, Natasha Hastings, Allyson Felix and Francena McCorory.

The spirit of the people of this Caribbean island were so high and strong for the Championships that even when rookie Elaine Thompson, in her quest for gold in the women’s 200m, seemed to forget one of the golden rules in track, which is to always lean forward at the finish line, she was warmly embraced and celebrated because, for barring unforeseen misfortune she is definitely the next phenomenon in female sprinting on the world stage.

Coaches always tell their athletes to leave nothing to chance and lean forward at the finish line because a lean could be the difference of 100th of a second in qualifying times or a medal, as was evident in Thompson’s run.  The photo finish tape showed Thompson’s foot and the head of Dafne Schippers, the gold medal winner of the Netherlands, crossing the finish line together.

Based on the track and field rule regarding what happens at the finish line, it is the torso or upper body of the athlete that counts. Therefore, it is safe to say that had Thompson lean, it could have been the difference between snatching gold and the silver which she got.

More Than Silver and Gold

And though Jevon “Donkey Man” Francis did not collect any medals, to many Jamaican track and field fans his value cannot be measured in gold, silver or bronze.  This young sensation is hardcore diamond all the way, a true gem.  To understand the magnitude of the foregoing statement,  one need only to watch the men’s 4x400m, the final event of the Championships in which Francis clocked a 43.52 split, the 2nd fastest ever recorded by a Jamaican. So dominant were the Jamaican athletes, that one TV commentator was prompted to dub the occasion “Reggae Time in Beijing” while another suggested that as of now the Stadium, which is called the Bird Nest, should be renamed Reggae City.

It is more than amazing for such a small contingent of athletes compared to the grand size of teams from big nations such as host China and the USA, for example, to leave with a total of 12 medals (7 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze). An apt superlative that summarizes their achievements is ‘stupendous’ — just plain and simple stupendous.

Here is a breakdown of the medalists.

Gold: 100m men – Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
200m men – Usain Bolt
100m women’s Hurdles – Danielle Williams
4x100m relay – men (Nester Carter, Asafa Powell, Nickel Ashmeade and Usain Bolt)
4x100m relays – women (Veronica Campbell-Brown, Natasha Morrison, Elaine Thompson and Shelly Ann Frazier-Price)
4x400m relays – women (Christine Day, Shericka Jackson, Stephanie Ann McPherson and Novlene Williams-Mills)

Silver: 200m – women (Elaine Thompson)
110m Hurdles – (Hansle Parchment)

Bronze: 200m – women (Veronica Campbell-Brown)
400m – women (Shericka Jackson)
Shot Put – men Odayne Richards

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