Technical leader Wilson proud of World Champs medal haul
Jamaica's Shanieka Ricketts reacts after winning silver in the women's triple jump during the 2022 World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo: Collin Reid courtesy of Courts Ready Cash, Sports Development Foundation, Jamaica Tourist Board)

Maurice Wilson, the technical leader of the Jamaican team that won 10 medals at the 18th World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, said while he was proud with the performance of the team, the team could have won more if not for some "unfortunate situations".

Jamaican athletes won two gold medals, seven silver and a bronze at the 10-day championships at Hayward Field. Their accomplishment included a sweep of the three medals in the women's 100m and Wilson says the double-digit haul was a fair indicator of the team's performance.

"Based on the results that we would have seen, second in the points tables and third in the medals, there is no doubt that I am very proud of the performances for a number of reasons," Wilson told the Jamaica Observer after the championships.

"We were second to the United States in the points and behind the USA and Ethiopia in the medals. These are countries that have excelled, for example, the USA was represented in every single event and Ethiopia, they have a specific programme in the middle and long distances that are State-funded similarly to what Kenya would have been doing for a while now. And for a country of 2.5 to three million people to be doing so well at the international stage, of course, I am very, very, very proud of the team's performance," he said.

The USA topped the medal table with 33 total (13 gold, nine silver, 11 bronze). They were followed by Ethiopia who tied with Jamaica and Kenya with 10 medals, but had better quality with four golds and four silver and two bronze.

Jamaica amassed 110 points based on athletes' appearance in finals, while the USA topped that table with 328. Ethiopia (106), Kenya (104) and the combination of Great Britain and Ireland (68) rounded out the top five.

Wilson added: "Also taking into consideration some of the unfortunate situations that we would have seen, for example, the [leg cramp] situation with [Hansle] Parchment.

"I felt that was one of those situations that you have no control over and I have no doubt that would have been a gold medal if the race was run and there is not much more than we could have asked for."

Wilson advised that in the future Jamaicans fans might want to temper their expectations with reality.

"In relation to winning more medals, I think we have to be optimistic [rather] than emotional and we tend to get too emotional about the sport and this is one of the sports that involve a number of uncertainties."

The man, who won 10 high school girls' titles in 11 years with Holmwood Technical before leaving for GC Foster College, where he is now the principal, says he does not differentiate between medals won at championships.

"When I look at medals I don't discriminate whether male and female. We look at overall medals; when you think about championships it's the amount of medals that can be garnered by the team, so I am not going to individualise both in persons or groups," he said.

"On the men's side we would have got at least an additional medal with Parchment, if Yohan [Blake] had been able to replicate his [national] championships form of 9.85 seconds that could have also given us a medal, but separate and apart from that on the medal side, it would have been very difficult," Wilson explained.

In the men's 4x100m relay final, the Jamaican team placed fourth but he said things could have been better.

"It was touch and go, probably if we had got a better lane and we were able to do some practice that could have also been a possibility."

Jamaica placed fifth in the mixed 4x400m relay on the opening day and Wilson thinks there should be more effort made if the country is to be consistent in the new event.

"In the future we have to look at the mixed relays. We will have to have discussions with the handlers of the athletes to try to get them to buy into them possibly running the mixed relays before they run their [individual] events. But that is something that would be up for discussion, but on a whole I am not seeing any additional areas where we could be definitive about another medal," the technical leader told the Observer.

The silver medal won by the men's 4x400m relay team, he said, lifted the team towards the end of the championships. "I think over the last couple of days what really meant a lot to the team overall was the performance of the men's 4x400m relay team. When you look and you recognise that only one member of the team made it to the final of the individual event and the other performances were just about average and for the coaching staff to put together a team to win a silver medal I think it was great effort," he said.

Wilson pointed out a few of the other results that he was pleased with, including Ackelia Smith making it to the final of the women's triple jump in her first senior championships.

"This shows great, great potential," he said.

He also singled out the women's triple jump silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts and her husband and Coach Kerry Lee Ricketts.

"I think they would have prepared for this moment over a long time and that medal did a lot for the team."

Many were let down when the powerful women's 4x100m team placed second in the final.

Wilson suggested that Jamaica look into creating a relay pool that would prevent the situation that saw neither of the two 4x100m teams getting an opportunity to practise at the championships, given the work load of the athletes in individual events.

"For the future the country must look at creating a relay pool, it does not have to be the fastest persons," Wilson said.

"I have been writing reports and making suggestions and it must be funded. So the team itself does not have to be the fastest set...the ladies that ran for us in the 4x100m we must recognise that they would have run so many rounds, no other team had three women who made the finals in the 100m and 200m and did as well as they did.

They did their best, I am so proud of every single one, from the team that ran the heats all the way to the final. They are great but we must protect them... we must have a pool not just for the ladies but the 4x100m men. And be able to compete not just at championships where we are doing baton changes 40-50 minutes before their event," he said.

Hansle Parchment of Jamaica competes in the men's 110m hurdles heats during the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field on July 16, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
WILSON...there is no doubt that I am very proud of the performances for a number of reasons (Photos: Observer file)
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Paul Reid

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