Fourth place for Thomas-Dodd a highlight - Vassell
One local coach has described the fourth-place IAAF World Championships finish by shot putter Danniel Thomas-Dodd as the highlight of an awesome year for Jamaican throwers.
Speaking in Kingston the day after the Championships ended in London, Michael Vassell had high commendations for Thomas-Dodd and discus finalists Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle. Vassell, the godfather of the local throws community, also said that the harsh weather had sent a message to competitors to be ready to perform in all conditions.
Even though Jamaican throwers have set national records in the men's and women's shotput and the men's hammer and discus throws, Vassell said, "Seeing Danniel Dodd finish fourth at World Championships, that was the highlight of my year to see sprint-crazy Jamaica following a shot put competition on the edge of their seats."
"That's what we've been hoping for all these years," he added. "I think we've learnt that by now, that a medal of any colour from any discipline, it counts the same," he continued. In the context of misfortunes suffered by the Jamaican team in London, the Excelsior High School throws expert said a medal for Dodd would have helped greatly.
Dodd was in third place until the final round.
In reference to Dacres and Smikle placing fourth and eighth in the discus, Vassell was joyful.
"It's something nobody dreamt of," he said. "We expected Dacres to do well, and we knew Traves was coming back. So Traves surpassed expectations in getting to that top eight, which was good."
He had kind words for Smikle.
"It speaks to his tenacity, it speaks to his drive to succeed, so we know he'll be back," he said of the 2012 Olympian.
Acknowledging the pre-meet medal hopes for Dacres, he noted, "The disappointment for me is that he never got to the distances he showed earlier in the year."
Dacres managed a heave of 65.83 metres in the London final, but has exceeded that distance in nine other meets this season.
Nevertheless, Dacres' fourth place is the best finish by a Jamaica in discus competition at the global level.
Asked if the Championships bore any lessons for young throwers, he proffered, "one of the telling things is be ready to compete in all conditions.
With London temperatures as low as 13 degrees celsius during the 10-day Championships, Vassell said: "We saw hammer happening in the rain, we saw the women's shot put in the rain, so do not let conditions deter you. You just bring your best self to whatever condition, whatever time."