Beyond success in sport, music, culture...

Jamaica's 16 medals, including six gold, at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships which ended on the weekend in Cali, Colombia, are being hailed as the country's best-ever performance at a World Championships at any level.

Then there is the performance at Commonwealth Games with the strong-minded Mrs Elaine Thompson-Herah asserting herself in grand style following disappointment by her high standards at the recent World Championships in Oregon.

And, of course, there are the Sunshine Girls who reached the Commonwealth Games netball final and came within five goals of conquering the mighty Australians.

On their way to the gold medal game the Sunshine Girls had edged the Australians by just two goals at the group stage. That was their first-ever victory over the Aussies. They also conquered traditional powerhouse New Zealand in the knock-out stage.

Crucially, the Sunshine Girls fulfilled the lofty ambition of top shooter Ms Jhaniele Fowler at the start of the tournament that, "The last Commonwealth Games we got the bronze medal so... we're looking forward to making it to the final for this one."

We are left with the strong feeling that, for Ms Fowler and her teammates, there is much more on the road ahead.

It wasn't just the glory from medals and winning that lifted the spirits over this past 'Emancipendence' Week bringing as it did so much reaffirmation of Jamaica's place as a world power in sport.

It was the manifestation over and over again of that willingness to fight, no matter what, regardless of the odds, as exemplified by our netballers.

And what of young Mr Delano Kennedy in the final of the 4x400 metres relay in Cali?

Mr Kennedy had disappointed himself and his backers by false-starting in the individual 400m final. When he collected the baton in fifth position on the anchor leg of the relay he could easily have given up hope. But Mr Kennedy is made of sterner stuff. With the baton representing all of Jamaica in hand Mr Kennedy seemed to put on wings and 'flew' into the silver medal position long before the finish line. Indeed, he seemed to be gaining ground on the runaway American gold medal, anchor-leg runner, at the finish line.

Yet, even as we applaud, our sports administrators must not relax. There is much more to be done, not just in track and field, netball, et al.

Those with the ability to make a difference must also look to those sporting disciplines showing signs of falling away. Rehab is urgently needed for disciplines such as cricket, which anecdotal evidence suggests is among the highest money earners because of the power of television in the huge, growing Asian market.

Very importantly, at a higher level, Jamaicans at 60 are asking why the country has failed to replicate success in sport, music and culture in other walks of life. Yesterday's publication of a RJR/Gleaner poll quizzing Jamaicans' perception of the country's greatest achievements since Independence simply underlines the question.

Beyond that question, solutions are urgently needed. Jamaicans and their leaders need to find answers to runaway crime, extreme socio-economic inequalities, corrupt practices by those in high office, chronic public sector inefficiency, and the myriad related problems which appear to be getting worse.

Time is running out.

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