NEWS

Relay gold!

HOWARD WALKER
AT THE 17TH IAAF WORLD
ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
In DOHA, QATAR

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Doha , Qatar — Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce secured her second gold medal as Jamaica won the women's 4x100m relay, while Shanieka Ricketts secured a silver in the triple jump on the penultimate day of the 17th edition of the IAAF World Athletics Championships yesterday.

Jamaica's medal tally now stands at nine, inclusive of three gold, four silver, and two bronze to be third in the table behind the United States of America with 11 gold and a total of 25 medals, and Kenya in second with four gold and a total ofeight medals. China are fourth with nine medals, including three gold.

It was a magnificent display from the quartet of Natalliah White, Fraser-Pryce, Jonielle Smith, and Shericka Jackson as they sped to a world-leading 41.44 seconds, which was just outside the national record of 41.07 seconds, which is also the championships record set in 2015.

To put that into perspective, Jamaica achieved that feat without the injured double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, and young upstart Briana Williams, who were first and third at the National Championships in July.

Great Britain were second in a season's best 41.85 seconds, with the USA third with 42.10 seconds, and Switzerland setting a new national record in fourth with 42.18 seconds.

Jamaica got a splendid start from White to Fraser-Pryce, who motored down the backstretch and gave Smith the lead which she held before releasing the 400m bronze medallist Jackson, who powered away to victory in impressive fashion.

Fraser-Pryce, who ran a splendid second leg, said the depth in Jamaica's team was remarkable.

“I am really excited for team Jamaica and our ladies and the depth that we have in our ladies and it speaks volume, especially going into 2020,” Fraser-Price said.

“There is so many things that can happen at a championships, so we wanted to make sure that all our ladies are ready no matter who you call on, whether it's a vet (veteran) or youngie (youngster) we will be ready,” she added.

“So for me, I am just excited that I was able to be a part of the team and the ladies stepped up and we finished healthy. We have a quarter-miler on the team, yea,” Fraser-Pryce said with that unbelievable expression on her face.

The quarter-miler Fraser-Pryce was referring to is Jackson, who won bronze in the 400m in 49.47 seconds, but has a personal best of 11.13 seconds over 100m and is no slouch. She relished the opportunity.

“When I heard I was going to run the 4x100 anchor leg I was pretty excited. I always wanted to run a 4x100. I was always thinking probably if I run a 200 at the championships I would get to run a 4x100 and I got the opportunity to run the 4x100 and it's a really good feeling,” said a smiling Jackson.

The talented athlete revealed she did not get much relay practice, but she had experience anchoring for Vere Technical in the past.

“With Jonielle, I just practised with her before we came out to run,” said Jackson, bursting out into laughter.

Jackson, who is looking forward to the 4x400 final and a possible third medal today, said she was certainly not nervous after being given the responsibility to take the team home.

“Definitely not. I don't think I could run any other leg. I believe I am just an anchor-leg runner, but probably in the near future they might try to run me on a different leg. But I don't think I am the best person to pass a baton, but I can collect and can move and I got the opportunity to bring them home and we are victorious,” said Jackson.

Bring them home Jackson did, but it was White who gave the team a brilliant start that set the team in motion for victory.

“I wasn't focused on anyone, the aim was to just get the baton around and I gave it my all because I was fit, I was ready, I was hungry, and I think all of us were hungry and we did pretty good,” said White.

“I haven't seen a replay of the race yet but I know I was very hungry and ready to go and I really just wanted to duplicate what I did yesterday and I think it was good enough.”

Smith, who ran a superb curve on the third leg and held onto Jackson's hand to guarantee a safe baton exchange, was ecstatic for her first gold at this level.

“I am extremely happy. You know making the final for the 100 was an achievement on its own, but now I can say, 'hey, I am a world champion'. It's amazing and I think we did a wonderful job as a team and as individuals on our own legs,” said Smith.

Earlier, both Jamaica's 4x400m relay teams won their heats and advanced to today's final.

First up were the ladies and without 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson, the quartet of Roniesha McGregor, Anastasia LeRoy, Tiffany James and Stephenie Ann McPherson, ran a then world-leading 3:23.64 minutes.

McGregor gave Jamaica a steady start and handed over a close second to LeRoy, who ran a splendid, yet difficult second leg to hand James a two-metre lead and she held that advantage and gave McPherson a marginal lead, but the 400m finalist showed why she is a top-eight runner in the world and sprinted away for a six-metre win.

Poland were second with 3:25.78 minutes, and Canada finished third with 3:25.86 minutes.

Jamaica's World-leading mark was quickly erased in the following heat as the Americans ran 3: 22.96 minutes and enter the final with the fastest time.

Great Britain were second some distance back in 3:24.99, with Ukraine third in 3:26.57. Belgium were fourth with 3:26.58 minutes.

Jamaica's men won in 3:00.76 minutes just ahead of Belgium in 3:00.87 minutes. Trinidad and Tobago were third in 3:01.35 minutes.

Akeem Bloomfield got Jamaica on the way and handed over the baton a close second, but Nathon Allen ran a wonderful second leg and gave Jamaica a three-metre lead in which Terry Thomas held that advantage and gave Javon Francis the lead which did well to repel the late surge of Kevin Borlee of Belgium, who looked to have something in store when he pulled up on Francis's shoulder.

Jamaica enter the final with the second fastest time behind the Americans, who won heat one in 2:59.89 minutes. Colombia, with the improving Anthony Zambrano on anchor, closed well for second in 3:01.06 minutes and will be the fourth fastest into the final.