Now our support is needed

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

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Things are definitely not going to plan in London, England, where the 16th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships is unfolding in rather spectacular fashion.

As we witness the beauty of the world's greatest athletes perform amazing feats in the various disciplines, we are acutely reminded of some of the foibles that have been haunting track and field over many years.

We could not help but notice that Russia, a superpower in track and field, is not competing in London. Even more noticeable is the number of athletes, including our own Miss Stephenie McPherson, who have had upgrades in their medals and positions after drug cheats were discovered, tried, and disposed from competing. Still much more needs to be done by the IAAF in cleansing track and field.

While we have to grapple with these unsavoury characters, of more pressing concern right now to us as a nation is the performance of our athletes in London.

The unthinkable happened on Saturday when the legend, Mr Usain Bolt, lost his 100-m title and final individual race, finishing third, thereby earning the bronze medal. Then came Sunday and the failure of double Olympic champion Miss Elaine Thompson also in the 100m.

We have become so accustomed to mining at least two gold medals plus other medals at this stage of the championships that many Jamaicans are disappointed and struggling to believe that at the end of Day Three we had only a bronze medal in our treasure chest. Hope was restored yesterday when hurdler Mr Omar McLeod bagged gold number one.

There is no need to despair as such is the nature of the life we live. To use a popular phase, “Today for me, tomorrow for you,” that is the cyclic nature of sports and, indeed, life.

We, however, take a lot of heart from reports emanating from London that Mr Bolt has been speaking to and encouraging his teammates to go out and perform at their best. This only goes to enhance his stature as a legend, as even in the face of his own defeat he is still able to see the larger picture, which is country Jamaica.

The words of Miss Thompson immediately after her defeat must not be lost on us. In her post-race interview, instead of immediately speaking to what went wrong in her performance, Miss Thompson chose to wish all Jamaicans a happy Independence Day, a true reflection of and a poignant reminder of exactly where the mind of this young lady from Banana Ground in Manchester is firmly rooted — country Jamaica.

Then, in a heartfelt Instagram post Miss Thompson wrote: “A race is sometimes like life, life is sometimes like a race, it doesn't go as you plan it, but there is always a tomorrow. I didn't come across the line in front today, but I give thanks to the Lord that I came across the line. I thank all my supporters across the world for always supporting me and believing in me.”

We are heartened by Miss Thompson's words of considerable wisdom and now ask all Jamaicans to understand that now is the time when our athletes, our global ambassadors, require our wholehearted and unyielding support. Nothing less will do at this time.

Yes, hardships there are, but Mr Bolt and Miss Thompson know that we have the strength to overcome. We should too.




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