No need to fret - JAAA boss calm after World Indoors disappointment, blames flu virus
President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake attributed Jamaica’s poor performance at the World Indoor Championships to a flu bug, which he stated was rampant in the camp but remains convinced the country has no cause for concern after disappointing showings at back-to-back championships.
Before the indoor event, which was staged in Birmingham, England, Blake told The Gleaner that he expected the team to do better than the three medals (1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze) secured in the 2016 edition of the championships, but this year’s team was only able to garner two silver medals.
And although the medal count has always been low for the indoor championships, it is the first time since the 2008 instalment that a Jamaica senior team has not secured a gold medal at a global event.
Blake said that several of the athletes came down with the flu as a blizzard swept across the United Kingdom last week.
“It’s not only our athletes but members of the management team as well came down with the flu,” Blake noted.
“This is the reason why we never run the 4x400 metres [for men],” Blake said, making reference to Stephen Gayle, who was unable to perform in the relays because of the flu.
While not naming the other athletes who suffered from illness, he also said that the team’s performance would have been better if it wasn’t for ‘bad-luck’ with the three disqualifications.
“There were some disappointing disqualifications. We are talking about the 4x400m women and the 400m women with Stephenie Ann McPherson. If we weren’t disqualified we would have been among the medals in those two events. And with those medals it would have been more than the three we got at the last championships,” Blake explained.
Kemoy Campbell was also disqualified from the men’s 3000 metres.
But even though the performances at the last two global championships have been less than desirable, Blake said that there is no need for alarm as the country has laid the foundation to keep on producing world beaters.
“We have laid the foundation with our junior athletes and I think it is the best in the world, so I believe that we will continue to produce world beaters,” Blake said.
He added: “Jamaicans have been spoilt because to go to a championship and become a finalist is an achievement, but Jamaicans don’t recognise that. When an athlete gets a PB and make the final it is still a hell of a performance.
Danniel Thomas-Dodd secured Jamaica’s first ever medal in the women’s shot put at a senior global championship, finishing second with a national indoor record 19.22 metres.
Kimberly Williams won Jamaica’s other medal in the women’s triple jump. Williams registered a personal best of 14.48 metres to secure her spot on the podium.