Aim for more


Tuesday, October 08, 2019

DOHA, Qatar — Jamaica's performance at the IAAF World Athletics Championships was a success, says Head Coach Maurice Wilson. But he also believes there are certain aspects to be tweaked which could bring further glory.

Jamaica won 12 medals in Doha — the joint second best behind the 13 won at the 2009 edition in Berlin on the back of the incomparable Usain Bolt's three gold.

This 12-medal achievement is deemed extra special because it has come from a balanced team effort across more disciplines.

“Overall, I think the team did extremely well. Initially, before the meet I thought that we could have got 13 medals, and a lot of persons believed that I was talking foolishness,” Wilson pointed out

“However, we have proven that the medals came from different areas and it speaks to the sort of impact the JAAA (Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association), G C Foster College and other organisations have had on our Jamaican track and field,” said Wilson.

Jamaica kicked off the championships with Tajay Gayle winning the country's first gold in the long jump. Thrower Fedrick Dacres secured the island's first discus silver; Danniel Thomas-Dodd, the first silver in shot put; and Shanieka Ricketts mined Jamaica's first silver in the triple jump.

Sprint great Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce took first place for Jamaica in the women's 100-metre event, while the country also won gold in the women's 4x100m relay; silver in the men's 4x400m relay; silver in the mixed 4x400m relay; and bronze in the women's 4x400m relay.

Shericka Jackson (women's 400m), Rushell Clayton (women's 400m hurdles) and Danielle Williams (100m hurdles) also won individual bronze medals.

“It is the first we have got medals in almost all the disciplines. This is our second-best medal haul and our best medal haul coming out of the field,” Wilson noted.

Wilson said Jamaica's growing depth in athletics is down to better trained local coaches who are able to get the best out of athletes. He explained that the improvement has also lifted the level of competiveness among field event athletes.

In reference to a common view that the performances from some of Jamaica's men were underwhelming, Wilson said: “As we continue to debate about the men, I am sure that in the next two or three years we will see new talent emerging, and so I don't particular think that there is a concern at this time.”

The championships has been described by IAAF President Sebastian Coe as the best in history in terms of the quality and depth of performances produced by the athletes from more than 200 nations.

Speaking after the final evening session on Sunday, Coe noted that six championship records had been set, 43 countries had won medals, and athletes from 68 different nations had achieved at least one top eight placing. There have been 21 area records —double the number from 2017 — – and 86 national records have been broken, underlining the global reach of the sport.

Jamaica, with a population of just under three million, played its part and finished third in the medal table behind the United States of America and Kenya. The Jamaican haul was ahead of China, Ethiopia, Great Britain, Germany and Japan, all with populations far greater.

Jamaica's medal count could have surpassed their previous best of 13 had it not been for Omar McLeod's mishap in the 110m hurdles and injury to Elaine Thompson, but Wilson noted that “there is no great disappointment”.

“We had expected some persons to perform a particular way but without giving them the necessary tools, we cannot come down too hard on them,” said Wilson.

“I firmly believe there is the need for a sports psychologist and I also believe that in the future when we have a championships of this nature, our [national] trials date cannot be so far away. If it is going to be so far away then we will actively pursue races for those persons who do not necessarily have the connections or the facility set up to get races so that they can be competitive,” he suggested.

“Every time an athlete steps to the track they want to do well and if they don't do well some introspection has to be done. But I think that we need to put certain things in place and then after that we can judge them if they don't perform the way they should,” he added.

Wilson made note of the volunteer work carried out by Jamaica's back room staff.

“I want to thank the management staff; I want to thank the coaching staff who I think did an excellent job. All we need to do now is to get to the table and not take these performances for granted, and prepare ourselves for 2020 [Olympic Games in Tokyo],” said Wilson.