IN life we all learn as a matter of course to take the rough with the smooth.
And there is no doubt that this nation, like many others, had its fair share of “rough” at the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships which ended yesterday in Moscow.
Lest we forget, disqualification for a technical infringement eliminated Miss Kaliese Spencer from the women’s 400m hurdles. The 4x400m women’s relay team was also disqualified. Then there was that bad fall for Olympic bronze medallist Mr Hansle Parchment as he challenged for a place in the sprint hurdles final.
Yet, despite those mishaps and the cloud cast by positive tests for banned substances in the build-up, our athletes rallied in style to make us proud yet again. Nine medals, including six gold, placed Jamaica third, ahead of such huge athletic powers as Kenya, Germany, Ethiopia and Britain. Incredibly, Jamaica’s gold medal tally matched that of the mighty United States who ended second behind hosts Russia.
The results meant Jamaica remained the undisputed king of sprint, sweeping the individual 100 and 200 metre events as well as the sprint relays.
The incomparable Mr Usain Bolt and the extraordinarily talented and courageous Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce accounted for four individual gold medals and anchored their respective relay teams to further enhance their place in history.
Mr Bolt is universally acclaimed as the premier sprinter of all time. And Mrs Fraser-Pryce is now arguably Jamaica’s best ever female sprinter.
Mr Warren Weir confirmed his status as a rising star with his silver medal in the 200m final and a bronze for the persevering Mr Nesta Carter in the 100m was fully deserved.
We hail all those who just missed out on a medal, did their personal best, or simply tried their best. They did their country proud.
The relay teams were superb. Prone to individualistic flair and creativity, Jamaicans don’t always work well as a group. However, consistently over the last decade, national relay teams have been admirable in their capacity to come together for the greater good and to perform beyond the sum of their parts.
So it was in Moscow. With the baton, symbol of the hopes and dreams of his teammates as well as 2.7 million Jamaicans, tightly clenched, 18-year-old schoolboy Mr Javon Francis refused to yield, even after his body screamed for him to stop, in the process handing his country the silver medal in the 4x400m relay.
And what of the women’s sprint relay team? Without Mrs Veronica Campbell-Brown and Miss Sherone Simpson, they rendered superlatives redundant by breaking the national and championship records.
Kudos too, to the men’s sprint team. For with the talent at their disposal, the temptation may have been to attempt to break their own World Record. Instead, no doubt fully cognisant of their limited preparation time together, they concentrated on getting the baton around.
We say congrats to the back room staff, team administrators, coaches, medical and fitness specialists for the support they gave to our athletes; for dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s.
On behalf of all Jamaicans, this newspaper wishes to thank our ambassadors in Moscow over these last two weeks for yet again setting an example to our troubled nation of what can be achieved through organisation, dedication, hard work and sacrifice.