Jelani Walker expects men's sprint revival
Olique Seville (left) and Jelani Walker of Jamaica's 4x100m relay final quartet react after finishing fourth in a season's best 38.06 seconds during the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on Saturday, July 23, 2022.Photo: Collin Reid courtesy of Courts Ready Cash, Sports Development Foundation and Jamaica Tourist Board

EUGENE, Oregon — Jelani Walker, who anchored the Jamaican men's 4x100m relay team to fourth place on Saturday's penultimate day of the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, is excited about the possibilities for the Jamaican men's team in the near future.

The 24-year-old former St George's College athlete, who ran a personal best 10.00 seconds for fourth place in the men's 100m at the Jamaican Championships in June, said time was on their side and that putting pressure on themselves would achieve nothing.

The Jamaican team of Ackeem Blake, Yohan Blake, Oblique Seville and Walker ran 38.06 seconds for fourth behind gold medal winners Canada, the United States and a Great Britain team that included Jamaican-based Zharnel Hughes.

"It was more about getting into medal contention, above everything else," Walker told the Jamaica Observer after the race.

"I was not worried about time, but just execution and getting a medal, catching the team ahead of us and getting on the podium," he noted.

He said given time the Jamaican men will get back near to the top.

"We are a younger team, we didn't get on the podium, but we all executed to the best of our abilities. I can say that; I can't say we did anything bad. Oblique Seville is 21, Ackeem Blake and Conroy Jones are both 20, I myself am 24 and in the next couple of years we will step up to the plate," he said.

Walker said after losing a year due to COVID-19, their transitioning was slowed.

He added: "Some of our more experienced counterparts, some of whom are moving towards retirement, we are just starting and I don't think we should put too much pressures on ourselves because that will not help. And I also believe that if we stick together and gel more and practise, definitely, we will be in gold medal contention," Walker said.

— Paul A Reid

Jelani Walker (right) anchors the Jamaica men's 4x100m relay final team to fourth behind winner Andre De Grasse (left) of Canada and second-place Marvin Bracy of United States during the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, on July 23, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

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