Jamaica blazes new trail in field events in Doha
With sprint legend Usain Bolt now retired and many of his contemporaries at the back end of their careers, there have been concerns that Jamaica’s track and field could be sinking into a dark phase again.
Fears were heightened in 2017 after the country registered its lowest medal tally at the World Championships since 1987 when it won only four medals at the London World Championships – one gold and three bronze.
But the 2019 championships have proven otherwise, as not only has the black, green and gold maintained a presence on the track, but the island’s athletes have also ventured into uncharted waters in the field events, securing 12 medals – 3 gold, 5 silver and 4 bronze.
For the first time in Jamaica’s rich athletics history, the island won the men’s long jump at a World Championships or Olympic Games as Tajay Gayle leaped to 8.69 metres – the longest jump since 2009 – to claim gold on the second day of the Doha championships.
The former Papine High student athlete also broke his idol James Beckford’s 22-year-old national record of 8.62m.
Fedrick Dacres achieved another first for Jamaica when he hurled the disc 66.94m to win silver in the men’s discus throw final.
Dacres came into the meet with the second farthest throw (70.78m) this season. He was beaten by Sweden’s Daniel Stahl (67.69m), who also has the world-leading throw in the event at 71.86m.
“I think this medal shows that anything is possible when you don’t limit your mind to what you see around you,” Dacres said after the event last Monday. “When I was growing up, there was no one doing this (winning a medal in discus throw), but it can be done if you have the right guidance.”
Danniel Thomas-Dodd also shared similar sentiments after winning Jamaica’s first medal in the women’s shot put at an outdoor global athletics championships.
“I remember I was at a track meet and this girl said to me that no one from Jamaica ever did well in the shot put, so it’s best if I just stop, and I kept that with me,” Thomas-Dodd recalled after throwing 19.47m to finish second behind China’s Lijiao Gong (19.55m).
Shanieka Ricketts claimed Jamaica’s fourth medal in the field last night, when she leaped to 14.92m to win silver in the women’s triple jump. Her performance is only bettered by one other Jamaican in history – Trecia Kaye Smith, who won the event in 2005 in Helsinki, Finland.
This is the first time Jamaica has won more than one medal in the field at the World Championships as the athletes secured four in Doha.
Tajay GAYLE – M – Long Jump
Shelly-Ann FRASER-PRYCE – W – 100 Metres
JAMAICA – W – 4x100 Metres Relay
Fedrick DACRES – M – Discus Throw
JAMAICA – M – 4x400 Metres Relay
Shanieka RICKETTS – W – Triple Jump
Danniel THOMAS-DODD – W – Shot Put
JAMAICA – X – 4x400 Metres Relay
Shericka JACKSON – W – 400 Metres
Danielle WILLIAMS – W – 100 Metres Hurdles
Rushell CLAYTON – W – 400 Metres Hurdles
JAMAICA – W – 4x400 Metres Relay
Final medal standings
RANK COUNTRY Gold Silver Bronze TOTAL
1 UNITED STATES 14 11 4 29
2 KENYA 5 2 4 11
3 JAMAICA 3 5 4 12
4 PR OF CHINA 3 3 3 9
5 ETHIOPIA 2 5 1 8