The post-Bolt era is looking goodTuesday, October 08, 2019
This year has been one with major sports tournaments, however it has been filled with one disappointment after another. It began in June at the Cricket World Cup in England where the West Indies exited at the group stage. The Reggae Girlz playing in the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time lost all their matches in the group stage; the Reggae Boyz, after making it to the finals of the last two editions of the Concacaf Gold Cup, faltered at the semi-final stage; and at the Netball World Cup the Sunshine Girls' performance was abysmal.
The 2019 Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, provided another opportunity for the nation's athletes to showcase their talents. Would our track and field stars disappoint like their sporting compatriots? Had the team recovered from the London débâcle in 2017? Would the absence of Usain Bolt damper their spirits?
Jamaica garnered a measly four medals in London. That, combined with the retirement of Bolt, dampened the expectation of many. However, the experts among us had a more positive disposition, expecting a double-digit medal haul. Our athletes didn't disappoint, and despite everything not going as planned, the team still managed to win 12 medals, placing third on the medal table behind the USA and Kenya.
Incidentally, the team was second in terms of the amount of medals won. Only the USA, with 29 medals ,won more than Jamaica's 12. The next best was Kenya with 11. However, Kenya won five gold medals to Jamaica's three.
It was evident the team was prepared for the post-Bolt era. Tajay Gayle, a relatively unknown, soared to new heights in the long jump, winning gold and in the process establishing a new national record. Shelly-Ann showed she is a true champion, demolishing a strong field and confirming her status as the greatest female sprinter of all time.
Our ladies showed that whilst not at full strength we can still dominate the world in the sprint relays, sprinting to the gold medal with baton safely in grasp. Fedrick Dacres sailed the discus into orbit and Danniel Thomas-Dodd hurled the shot put as they both earned silver medals, becoming the first medallists for Jamaica in their respective events.
Shanieka Rickets was not to be outdone, she hopped, skipped, and jumped to a silver medal. The men's 4x400m relay team got themselves back on the podium with a silver medal after missing out at the last few major championships, and in the 4x400m mixed relays, a new event at the championships, the Jamaicans captured silver, proving their preparedness.
Four bronze medals were captured as well — the women's mile relay, Danielle Williams, and lifetime best performances from Shericka Jackson in the 400m and Rushell Clayton in the 400m hurdles also earned them spots on the podium. There were other noteworthy performances. Demish Gaye, Kimberly Williams and Shiann Salmon whilst not medalling, all achieved personal bests in their respective events, which is credible.
It was a successful championships for Jamaica. We may not have dominated the sprints, but surely rose to prominence in the field events, proving that we are indeed a rounded nation. For those who felt the sport was heading in the wrong direction, that Bolt's retirement meant the death of the sport, they were proved wrong. No Bolt, no problem. The post-Bolt era has begun and it's looking good.
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