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Medal of Honour long overdue for Rose

Published:Tuesday | January 6, 2015 | 12:00 AMLaurie Foster

There are those who have earned tributes, but denied for some inexplicable reason. Attention is recalled to an incident at the 2001 IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Edmonton, Canada.

Foster's Fairplay has written volumes on this. It deserves even more.

It is the tale about one of Jamaica's most committed sports persons, representing her country at a time in her career when she was being directed to the exit door.

Dionne Marie Rose was a sprint hurdler of world class. At present, a US Collegiate coach, she made elite competition finals with amazing regularity, while competing against athletes whose family names ended, ...igina, ...ikova, ...ovec, ...enko and ...itova and all that that suggests. To get a medal in that August (perennially the calendar month of elite competitions) company would have been more than just a challenge.

Rose clean

In extension of that thought, never once was Jamaica's Rose named alongside any impropriety that would threaten the authenticity of her outstanding performances in that context.

Approaching her twilight, the Vere Technical High product did not go past the semi-finals at the 2001 Edmonton World Championship Trials. She came in through the back door after injury had ousted the Delloreen Ennis-Londons and the Michelle Freemans (fourth place), as other contenders Astia Walker and Gillian Russell opted out for different reasons.

Persistence proved successful and Rose made the trip and was into the semi-finals of the 100 metres hurdler at the premier event.

The story of resilience further to be decorated with sheer gallantry continues.

It was the second of two semi-finals and it featured both Rose and Brigitte Foster-Hylton. They battled each other for the fourth spot to ensure the final eight, all the way to the wire. Foster did not make it.

Tighten your seat belts, the turbulence unfolds. There was a steep incline to be traversed by athletes, post race, to get to the media hub. For exhausted competitors, they were facing the challenge that Hillary and Tensing (the first conquerors of Mount Everest) did almost 50 years prior.

It had been threatening to take the last gasp out of a few of them. Ask 400-metre girl Allison Beckford, who had the frightening experience on Day III. At the end of it, Foster-Hylton, manifestly disappointed after her non-qualifying run, collapsed.

In ducked Rose, the lady of the moment, still breathing heavily after her advancing effort. It had to be mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for her prostrate teammate and the valiant young lady from East Kingston flinched not.

All this against the background of a frantic, gesticulating team doctor, Glenton Smith, unable to enter the area, struggling against the lack of relevant accreditation to make a meaningful input. He begged for leniency, but the resolute security guard would have none of it. The good doctor could not make it, but Rose did and might have saved a lot more than just the day.

That is why Foster's Fairplay says come October, 2015, let there be a Medal of Honour for Dionne Marie Rose, albeit 14 years after her Edmonton World Championship heroics.

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