Editorial

Stuff of champions

Monday, September 30, 2019

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Sport has a titillating habit of making fools of expert analysts and know-it-alls.

When Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, then 29 years old, took a break from athletics in 2016 to have her first child, there were those who wondered — quite reasonably — whether the world would ever again see her at her very best as a sprinter.

Apart from having to achieve peak fitness, analysts wondered would she be able to find the hunger, motivation, to again beat the world?

Asked in September 2017, with her son just a few weeks old, whether she was giving thought to following Mr Usain Bolt into retirement, Mrs Fraser-Pryce said: “For me, everything is a season, everything in life is a season. When that season comes and it is time to move on, you will know. For right now I just believe there is a burning sensation that there is more to Shelly-Ann and more for me to offer, and I am just looking forward to that.”

Yesterday, her sensational 10.71 seconds run, which gave her the gold medal in Doha, spoke to that enduring 'burning' desire and the immense strength of personality shown since she first took the world by storm at the 2008 Olympics.

As one television commentator said yesterday “Her legacy as one of the all-time greats is surely complete.”

Beyond that, Mrs Fraser-Pryce, by her comeback, gave the world — not least fellow athletes — an inspirational example of what can be achieved with hard work and desire.
Surely, only the brave will now bet against her at next year's Olympics when she will be 33 years old.

Even more stunning than Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce's performance was that of Mr Tajay Gayle who won the long jump gold medal on Saturday.

Such has been the 23-year-old's improvement over recent times that the wise men and women of track and field wouldn't have been surprised by a medal.

What left them lost for words was that Mr Gayle not only won gold, his jump of 8.69 metres was the best globally in 24 years.

In the process, Mr Gayle wiped out his own personal best of 8.46 metres — done earlier in the competition — and also erased the national record of 8.62 metres set by Jamaican long jump legend Mr James Beckford in 1997.

In fact, we are told that Mr Gayle is now 10th on the all-time list of long jumpers.
Intriguingly, we hear from him that he struggled with uncertainties regarding his technique on Friday's first day of competition.

It's clear that, like Mrs Fraser-Pryce, Mr Gayle is not only highly talented but has that enviable capacity to hit the mark, under pressure, and against the odds.

With the Olympics next year, and so much more ahead, even greater glory beckons for him.
And what of Mr Javon Francis, holding firm, refusing to give up — as he has done so many times — to ensure Jamaica took silver in the inaugural World Championships 400m mixed melays? Of such stuff is this nation made.


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