The Wright View | Magnificence in a time of misery
The mauling received by the Brown/Cameron amalgamation of West Indian cricketers by the Indians in the second one-day international and the Reggae Boyz' loss to minnows Curcao in the Scotiabank CFU Caribbean Cup on Sunday pales in significance to the excellent performance of our Senior and Junior athletes at the recently concluded JAAA National Senior and Junior Athletics Championships.
The loss to India was expected. With the best West Indian cricketers available, but denied selection through 'pique', our best hope was for a few sparkling individual performances. Shay Hope did just that. His performance with the bat left us thinking, what if? What if he had experienced and capable teammates to help and guide him while at the crease? Unfortunately, we will never have that answer as long as the present hierarchy of Cricket West Indies continues to administer a game that once made the peoples of these islands anxious to watch or hear commentary whenever the team plays. Nowadays we cannot even get scores or audio commentary unless we have cable connection to an 'exclusive' broadcaster. Sigh. The loss at the final of the Caribbean Cup to minnows Curcao also stings, especially when one local newspaper described the contest as "David versus Goliath." Remembering the outcome of that biblical tale, I wondered, aloud 'Why?' Why that description of the final? But as it was in the biblical tale, so it was last Sunday. At the end of the contest, 'Goliath' was down and out.
LET IT ALL HANG OUT
The sparsely attended National Senior and Junior Championships showcased the best that our Track and Field athletes had to offer. It was particularly pleasing to hear Olympic Champion and world-leading (by time) hurdler Omar McLeod state that although winning was important for selection, he came with a plan to break the National record, and so he did. Our hurdling champion and the well-rested 100 metre female Olympic Champion, Elaine Thompson, came to these championships and let it all hang out. Midway through their races, it was obvious that losing was nigh impossible, but unlike past greats, this time, there was no shutting down, and coasting to the finish line. The few of us who came to the National Stadium roared their appreciation. Well done, sir and madam.
In the Junior Championships, child prodigy, Kevona Davis continues to scorch the track, in a manner similar to when Usain Bolt dominated his counterparts at the youth level. This young lady continues to prove that we, the natives of this wonderful island, are truly blessed. What other nation can show that year after year, event after event, when it comes to sprinting, there is just no other nation with the talent available here? A time of 11.24 in the 100m, a world leading youth time was soon followed by a blistering 22.97 in the 200m, another world leading Youth time. Kevona Davis IS the real thing. She is now a national treasure! Let us all ensure that she is not raced to exhaustion and burnout. The throw by national Champion Kevin Nedrick of 20.94m in the shot put event was also a National Junior record, cementing the thoughts of all Jamaican track and field fans that we now have world-class throwers! International medals galore, here we come!
There were many outstanding performances by our seniors. Elaine and Omar thrilled us, as was expected, and so did Fredrick Dacres, Yohan Blake, Shericka Jackson, Nathon Allen, and Kimberly Williams, who were all expected to win their events. But who could have predicted the leap of 8.16m in the long jump by Wolmer's old boy Ramone Bailey? He not only defeated many-time National Champion Demar Forbes (8.03m), but to my way of thinking, ensured that his name will appear on the team sheet when the team to the World Championships is named. Another surprise was the victory of Rhonda Whyte in the women's 400m hurdles. These two victories epitomised the oft-understated motto that true champions never give up. That attitude coupled with REST is the way to world-class performances. Well done my fellow Jamaicans, you have given us joy at a time when there is really very little to be happy about.