Don Quarrie says Jamaica's men will get it right in Tokyo

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 17, 2019

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Following the poor display from Jamaica's men in the sprints at the just concluded IAAF World Athletics Championships, Jamaica's technical leader and sprint icon Donald Quarrie, believes they will bounce back at next year's Olympic Games in Japan.

Jamaica garnered 12 medals, inclusive of three gold, five silver and four bronze, to finish third in both the medals and points tables behind the United States of America and Kenya, respectively.

Only two males won individual medals as Tajay Gayle struck gold in the long jump and Fedrick Dacres got silver in the discus. The men's 4x400m relay squad of Akeem Bloomfield, Nathon Allen, Terry Thomas, Javon Francis, and Demish Gaye mined silver.

“We were third in the overall standing of the championships but our performances in the men's sprint events were below expectations,” Quarrie pointed out.

Quarrie, who won gold in the 200m and silver in the 100m at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, told the Jamaica Observer that he was not bitterly disappointed after speaking with the guys and knowing of their desire to do well.

“I was not disappointed but hoping that a few of the sprinters would have made it to the finals of the 100m and the 200m and that our 4x100 relay would have made the final,” said Quarrie.

“But after speaking with some of them, I could sense that desire in them to really excel next year and I am confident that we are going to see a lot more from them and others and our sprinting will be at the top in the Olympics,” he added.

The 68-year-old Quarrie, who was the household name in Jamaica men's sprinting before the emergence of Asafa Powell and Usain Bolt, once equalled the 200m world record in 1971 of 19.86 seconds and the 100m world record in 1976 of 10.07 seconds.

The former Camperdown High school star, who competed in five Olympic Games, now heads Jamaica's technical committee to the major athletics meets.

“We must do everything possible to maintain our high standard in the sprint events and one way of doing that is to select a group in charge of looking at means and ways of guiding the young talent that we have,” he pointed out.

“The management team and the coaching staff worked very well together in the interest of the athletes and Jamaica. Thank you to the medical team for their dedicated work with the team,” said Quarrie.

He continued: “The overall performances of the team were very good with four medals from the field events, four medals from the hurdles and field events, and four medals from the relays and of course we had six individual medals from the women and two individual medals from the men.”

“Behind the scenes there were meetings and discussions that enabled us in making decisions in the interests of the athletes and the country. The training camps before the championships allowed our athletes to adjust to the weather conditions and it did not seemed to interfere with their performances,” he noted.

“The training and warming up facilities were very good. The temperature in the stadium was quite good and favourable for all athletes. We have a few protests and disqualification which mostly worked in our favour,” said Quarrie.

For the first time at the World Championships, Jamaica got four field events medals in long jump, discus, shot put and triple jump which contributed to the country's second best medal haul.

“Our field events performances are on the rise and we should seek greater financial support for the local coaches of these technical events,” pleaded Quarrie.

“I must say congratulation to all the athletes that participated in the 2019 Championships in Doha. Some were more successful than others. But I hope that all of them will focus on having a successful season next year and that our Olympic trials will be one of the most competitive with outstanding performances,” said Quarrie.


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