Ms Samantha Fletcher's inspirational achievementSaturday, October 02, 2021
JAMAICAN women had every reason to hold their heads high just over a week ago when news broke that Commodore Antonette Wemyss Gorman had become the first female to head the Jamaican army, replacing Lieutenant General Rocky Meade, who has retired.
Not just in the context of Jamaica, but on the global stage Commodore Wemyss Gorman's achievement is momentous given that the military is universally male-dominated.
For those with a sporting bent, the cause of women got even more of a lift this week following triple wins by female jockey Ms Samantha Fletcher on an 11-race programme on Monday at Caymanas Park, Jamaica's legendary home of horse racing.
Jamaican women have been riding at Caymanas Park for decades but until Monday none among their number had ever guided their horses to three wins on a single race day.
Some may think that the female's typically smaller size compared to males provides an advantage in horse racing. But actually, male jockeys, though small, are usually exceptionally strong physically in proportion to their weight. Physical strength is a huge advantage in competitive horse race riding, which makes Ms Fletcher's achievement especially impressive.
We are told that Ms Fletcher's day of dizzying heights began with the fifth race of the day aboard the eight-year-old bay gelding Cat's Rigger over four furlongs straight.
She followed up with Just Trick Me over five furlongs straight in the very next race. She then made history in the final event aboard Honeybunch.
Those, be they male or female, aiming for success in any undertaking should consider the reasons given by Ms Fletcher for her success.
“Nothing beats hard work. This milestone was the result of me putting in the hard work, day after day. I am dedicated to what I am doing and I am very determined as well. I have always tried to be focused…as success only comes with hard work and moreover, I have always believed in myself,” she was reported as saying.
Expressions of gratitude provide useful indication of a person's character and Ms Fletcher warmed our hearts with her tribute to those who have helped her along the way, not least her trainer Mr Tensang Chung. We note as well the strong sentiments of other female jockeys as they hailed Ms Fletcher's triple.
Top performer Ms Georgina Sergeon, who currently rides in New York, placed it in the context of male domination, noting that: “it is really tough for us ladies who choose to ride horses for a living”.
Consider Ms Tamicka Lawrence who graduated from the jockeys' training school alongside Ms Fletcher in 2018 and is now returning to racing after a long maternity break.
Said Ms Lawrence of Ms Fletcher's triple wins: “…As a female, I am so proud of her for achieving that milestone. Each time she wins a race, I put her photo on social media … So when she won the three races, it felt as if it was me who won those races ...”
Like Commodore Wemyss Gorman, Ms Fletcher represents a beacon of light and hope for all women.