Tue | Jun 2, 2020

Eagerly awaiting World Relays review

Published:Monday | May 11, 2015 | 12:00 AMLaurie Foster
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce during a training session at the IAAF World Relays in The Bahamas 2015.

The track-and-field family is awaiting with eager anticipation, a review on the Nassau World Relay Championships.

This was promised by the president of the local governing body, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), Dr Warren Blake.

The urgency to hear what went wrong with the selections for the women's sprint relays is paramount.

This is quite natural, given the glow of 'this is our sprint queen in whom we are well pleased', which hovers over Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

This role-model type hair, and more recently, food entrepreneur - captivating smile and compellingly attractive personality, in tow - is no ordinary athlete. She stunned the world in Beijing at the 2008 Olympics with a gold medal in the 100m.

It was an in-your-face reaction to those who cried, "too young, too inexperienced" and "she has time to go".

All this after the Trials unseated Veronica Campbell-Brown (VCB), riding high as a repeat competitor and who had taken bronze at the previous staging in Athens.

That the daughter of an itinerant vendor, born in the violence-torn community of Waterhouse and all that that entails for talent such as hers, could have survived all that negative comment, proved that she was indeed made of sterner stuff.

It also demonstrated the inestimable value of mentorship and 'Mommy Maxine's' sterling efforts to make a difference.

Gold in Berlin at the World Champs the following year, Olympic champion again in 2012 in London, bettering the United States of America (USA) juggernaut in Carmelita Jeter; and when the MVP Track Club ace was asked to do a double sprint at Moscow, 2013, she delivered both, again with a golden touch.

phenomenal record

This phenomenal record had her name called among the greats and with much justification.

Now, come 2015 and the second staging of the World Relays in the super friendly atmosphere of Nassau, and our girl is caught in the midst of a controversy.

Her federation is saying: "Hold strain, while we investigate and report."

Those are familiar words when faced with such adversity. I hope they come good in support of, or to take our queen aside and say, "Shelly, we will see to it that it does not happen again".

If that is expecting too much for a young lady who has done so much, with dignity, poise and disarming charm, then may the good Lord help us.

Moving along, the 12th edition of the Jamaica International Invitational meeting is now history. With the thoughts of a better feel for the track and field crazy, the local organising body, having received International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Challenge status, rung the changes left, right, and centre.

Foster's Fairplay, so sensitive to the 'Jamaican athletes are tops' tag, was expecting more.

Why, with the likes of greatness at what he does, Hubert Lawrence, strutting the stands, was it thought necessary to import an elocutionist to do competition commentary?

His diction was presentable, but knowledge of athletes, which should have been pre-scripted, failed his reputation.

How could he have recalled Mesha-Gaye DaCosta's silver at World Youth Championships 2007 in Ostrava (love that girl and happy to see her high jumping again), while forgetting Janieve Russell's and Delano Williams' 400m hurdles and 200m gold medals, respectively, at a higher age level in Barcelona, 2012.

Plus, he ignored the presence in lane eight of the women's 800m, where waited our most winning 800m/1500m/3000m high school multiple champion, Natoya Goule, unrecognised.

Asafa Powell and a commendably exuberant Ryan Bailey, coming under a cloud of World Relays 'cut-throat' gesture of little significance, saved some blushes in a most competitive 100m dash that produced a 9.84 season best and world lead from our former world record holder, happily back in spanking condition.

This Elaine Thompson is on the threshold of stardom - 10.97 ahead of the Nigerian Okagbare sweetened the pot for many, including this columnist. Trials a 'guh' nice!

Please UTech massive, get her ready for the cameras and the microphones of this world of elite track and field. From Christiana High, one is informed she went to Manchester High, making her, without having the time to confirm, a likely coach Jerry Holness protege. Whether so or not, she certainly possesses the goods to take on the world, when MVP/UTech athletics bosses deem it to be the right time.

May good fortune follow her as she seeks to make us all proud.

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