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We did our best - Kerr says athletes excelled under trying circumstances at World Champs

Published:Wednesday | July 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Athletes and officials of Jamaica's team to the World Junior Championships in Athletics, including head coach Michael Kerr (front, third right) and 400 metre hurdles gold medallist Jaheel Hyde (right), upon their return to the country at the Norman Manley International Airport on Monday night. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer

 

"We did our best," summed up Michael Kerr, the head coach of Jamaica's team to this year's World Junior Championships, which ended on Sunday in Eugene, Oregon.

The Jamaicans, who entered the Championships with high expectations, finished 11th overall with six medals - one gold, two silver and three bronze.

Their position is four spots lower than the seventh they finished two years ago in Barcelona, Spain.

Kerr said a lot of the athletes attained personal bests in the heats of their events, but it was not good enough to take them through to the next round of the competition. Despite this, he was pleased with their efforts.

"As the coach, I didn't have any great expectations because, as I said before we left, conditions and circumstances would determine the results, and so it did, especially on the second day for the sprints," said Kerr in an interview with The Gleaner following their arrival at the Norman Manley International Airport on Monday night.

On that second day, the athletes had to battle cold and rainy conditions.

Did there best

He continued: "But when you look at what happened and the performances of some of the kids, a lot of them did their PR's, yet they were not good enough to get into the final and the relay teams did their season best, and so you can't ask for more than that.

"We have to also understand that it is the back end of our season, while for the US team, they are actually peaking at this time and so that was a difference. It's high school kids up against college kids, and so I was not surprised by our performance," Kerr pointed out.

He added: "I can also show you that in the field events, the qualification to get into the final is much better than the athletes' PR, so I think they did their best and I can't ask for more than what our athletes gave."

Kerr stated that the Jamaicans took a while to adjust to the weather conditions in Eugene and most of the athletes were also race-rusty heading into the championships.

"It took us a little while to get going because one must remember that our trials was six weeks before the championships and they were I think race-rusty," Kerr reasoned. "They reached on Monday to compete on Tuesday, and so little things like that you have to take into consideration."

Jaheel Hyde, who won the country's lone gold medal - in the men's 400m hurdles - was Jamaica's most outstanding performer at the championships. Tyler Mason, who won a silver in men's 110m hurdles and Michael O' Hara, with bronze in the men's 200m, were the country's other individual medallists.

- Robert Bailey