‘Emancipendence’ joy across disciplines for Jamaican sport
WHAT a summer of success it has been so far for Jamaican women in sport!
And it’s not half done yet, with the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, later this month fast approaching.
Much has been said about the Reggae Girlz, now eagerly awaiting their date with Colombia in the round of 16 of the Fifa Women’s Football World Cup in Australia on Tuesday.
Also, our Sunshine Girls, bidding to leave their own indelible mark on our ‘Emancipendence’ celebrations, are cutting a huge swathe at the Netball World Cup in Cape Town, South Africa.
When the Jamaicans beat defending champions New Zealand on Thursday they were doing so for the very first time at the Netball World Cup, we are told.
They must now carry the form from their 59-48 triumph into this morning’s semi-final clash with traditional powerhouse Australia — a meeting some are saying would’ve been more appropriate as the gold medal game.
The victory over New Zealand was Jamaica’s fifth of the championship, allowing the team to complete the group stages with maximum 10 points.
The form and confidence shown by the Sunshine Girls so far follows their historic showing at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, last year. Back then they took silver, narrowly missing the gold in a close contest with the Australians. That was after beating the same opponents earlier in the tournament.
We like the confidence of Jamaica’s assistant coach, Mr Shawn Murdock, ahead of this morning’s battle.
“We are looking forward to the Australia game and we are expecting more of a challenge because this is now do or die for both teams for that gold medal — and we are hungry for it, and I know that the girls will be ready to produce another great performance…” he said.
Gold medal or not, this has been a glorious campaign for our national netballers.
A far less prominent sport in Jamaica is volleyball. However, our senior women’s team made history over recent days by beating seven-time champions Trinidad and Tobago in a thrilling five-setter at the Caribbean Zonal Volleyball Association (CAZOVA) championship in Paramaribo, Suriname.
We are told it represented vengeance for a loss to Trinidad and Tobago in 2017 — the last time the Jamaicans competed at this level.
It hasn’t been only about our women. On Wednesday, at the World University Games in Chengdu, China, sprinter Mr Kadrian Goldson won gold in the 100 metres while in the men’s discus Mr Kai Chang took the silver medal.
And in cricket — a sport beleaguered in our part of the world because of the painful decline of the West Indies team — Jamaicans found reason to cheer after the national Under-19 team won the 50-overs competition as well as the more traditional three-day tournament, played through July and very early August in St Vincent. It was the first time a Jamaica Under-19 cricket team had secured the double since 2010 and the first three-day title for Jamaica in 10 years.
We share the joy of Jamaica’s Head Coach Mr Terrence Corke.
“It’s a feeling I can’t describe; I’m totally elated,” he told a post-match interviewer.
Whatever happens from here, memories of this sweltering summer will long trigger a smile for Jamaican sport lovers.