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Great performances in Doha; now on to Tokyo

Monday, October 07, 2019

Low spectator support and discomforting heat in Doha, Qatar mean organisers are under intense pressure in the aftermath of the IAAF World Athletics Championships.

There are even serious concerns about the FIFA football World Cup there in three years' time.

However, performances on the track and in the field in Doha thrilled the soul.

For Jamaica, there is not just joy but great relief after wonderful results, particularly for our women, across diverse disciplines.

Relief because just two years ago at the World Championships in London, the last competition for the great Mr Usain Bolt, Jamaica took home just four medals, including one gold.

At the end of competition yesterday Jamaica had secured 12 medals, including three gold, to be third on the table behind the United States and Kenya.

Such super rich and populous nations as China, Great Britain, Germany and Japan trailed Jamaica.

There are great memories from the last few days. Perhaps the one that will stick longest for Jamaicans is of Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, joyously parading with her young son, after blitzing the field in the women's 100 metres.

Her second-leg run in the 4x100m proved to be pivotal as Jamaica rocked by the withdrawal of Miss Elaine Thompson from competition grabbed the gold.

After missing the 2017 World Championships to have her first child, Mrs Fraser-Pryce, at 32 years old, has come back as good as ever a strong message and example for all who may be tempted to give up.

We won't forget Ms Shericka Jackson. After her bronze medal in the women's 400m, Ms Jackson was asked to run the anchor leg in that triumphant 4x100m race. She executed to perfection and returned a day later to anchor Jamaica's 4x400m team to the bronze medal a lion-hearted effort.

Perhaps more than ever before, this World Championships underlined Jamaica's progress in non-track events.

Special applause goes to the 23-year-old Mr Tajay Gayle for his gold medal in the men's long jump. But then we saw Ms Danniel Thomas-Dodd take silver in the women's shot put. Miss Shanieka Ricketts followed with silver in the triple jump, while Mr Fedrick Dacres took silver in the men's discus.

This is easily the best ever performance by Jamaican field event athletes at a major games.

Of course, there can be no denying concerns about male sprinting. Observers, including Mr Bolt himself, have spoken out on the issue. Why are so many junior male stars failing to make the transition? Here is something for wise track heads to contemplate.

At the regional level this newspaper applauds our Caribbean sister nations The Bahamas and Grenada for medalling in Doha.

Hit hard by Hurricane Dorian, Bahamians will take heart from their athletes who are bringing home gold and silver medals from the men's and women's 400 metres.

And Grenadians are celebrating their gold won by Mr Anderson Peters in the javelin throw. Mr Peters is now right up there with Grenada's previous gold medal winner, the outstanding Mr Kirani James. The latter provided a great story in Doha, reaching the 400m final after recovering from the autoimmune Graves disease.

Now, to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. What glory awaits!