Sun | Oct 22, 2017

London 2017 | Jamaica still has medal hopes - Quarrie

Published:Wednesday | August 9, 2017 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
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LONDON, England:

After recovering from an early stumble in her 200m heats to book her spot in the semi-final at the World Championships in London, young sprinter Sashalee Forbes was asked a question that has been making the rounds in the English capital.

Was she and the other youngsters really capable to help drive Jamaica's sprinting forward when the 'Sprint Capital' of the world was under threat to miss out on a 100m or 200m gold medal at a major international championships for the first time since the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki?

With the chief architects of the country's golden era all on their way out of the sport, is there enough in reserve to keep the island on top?

She has heard it before and is perhaps a bit annoyed as well. Still, with the championships at the halfway point, the next five days of competition will answer some of the questions the future of Jamaica's athletics.

"For me, that conversation is really doubting," Forbes rebutted. "We are young, and one day the older heads will retire and we are the ones who will have to lift Jamaica on the map, so instead of demotivating us, I think we should be pushed forward so we can do our best."

 

NONE FANCIED

 

Forbes, Simone Facey and Jodean Williams are all through to tomorrow's 200m semis. None is fancied to get on the podium; neither was Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics - a timely reminder.

One 110m hurdles gold medal and a men's 100m bronze fall short of even the most pessimistic of predictions for the Jamaicans up to the halfway point of the championship, but as technical leader Don Quarrie noted, the opportunity is still there for the country to have a positive return at the championship.

"Things are going well. We are fortunate that we have three young ladies in the final of the 400m, and we also have a finalist in the 400m hurdles for men, and that is a plus because Jamaica will be showcased in these finals," said Quarrie, the man who helped lay the first few blocks in the building of Jamaica's sprinting reputation.

Quarrie is particularly excited about the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, where he is expecting all four teams to medal, with a healthy return of gold in the mix.

That opportunity will come on the weekend.

 

IMMEDIATE MISSION

 

The immediate mission will fall at the feet of the women's 400m trio of Stephenie Ann McPherson, Novlene Williams-Mills and Olympic bronze medal winner Shericka Jackson, who will join a top field in tonight's curtain closer at the London Stadium.

In addition to the women's 200m, field event medals were expected in the men's discus and shot put - an example of the country's diversification of talent.

None was expected in the women's shot put, and though she will need to produce something surprising and special, Danniel Thomas-Dodd's qualification to tonight's final also provides the opportunity for history. Thomas-Dodd is the first Jamaican to qualify directly to the World Championships women's shot put final.

Kemar Mowatt, in the men's 400m hurdles, will have an opportunity to do something that only one other Jamaican has been able to achieve. Only Winthrop Graham (1991 and 1993) has won a medal in the one-lap obstacle event at the World Championships and only two others made the final, Dinsdale Morgan (1997 and 1999) and Danny McFarlane, his last coming in 2009.

Yohan Blake, in the 200m, defending 100m hurdles champion Danielle Williams and Ristananna Tracey, who has impressed here in the 400m hurdles, seem like the country's brightest individual medal hopes for the second half of the championships.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com

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