Hubert Lawrence | Hail the history-makers
Don't dwell too much on the medals lost by Jamaica at last week's World Indoor Championships. At the very same meet, history was made by Danielle Thomas-Dodd and Kimberly Williams. Both ladies flew the black-green-and-gold flag high and launched what could become a new era in Jamaican athletics.
In one sense, pride of place goes to Williams. Four years ago, she won Jamaica's first medal in a World Indoor jump event since 2004 when James Beckford and Germaine Mason took silver and bronze in the long jump and high jump, respectively. In Birmingham, she jumped crisply into the lead with personal best distances of 14.41 and 14.48 metres, before being divested of the gold medal by Yulimar Rojas, Venezuela's reigning indoor and outdoor World Champion.
In 2014, Williams became the first Jamaican woman to win a jumps medal at the World Indoors. Now she has two.
BEST EVER THROW
Thomas-Dodd took charge of the shot put contest early and put her hand on the gold medal with her best ever throw, indoors or outdoors, of 19.22 metres. Though she lost the gold to Hungary's Anita Marton, who bumped her out of a medal at last year's World Championships in London, 'DTD' was brilliant in Birmingham. Needless to say, she is the first Jamaican thrower to win a World Indoor medal.
The disappointment over the disqualification of the women's 4x400-metre relay team and the absence of reigning 60-metre hurdles champion Omar McLeod is understandable but, for me, the history-makers provide warm comfort. They bolster the rise of O'Dayne Richards, Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle and give credence to the hope that one day Jamaica could top the medal table in athletics at the Worlds and the Olympic Games.
Both ladies look set for big things in big meets to come.
Others like 60-metre finalist Remona Burchell, 400-metre finalist Toveo Jenkins, hurdler Ronald Levy, Intercollegiate 100 champion Everton Clarke and 2016 World Under-20 400 champion Tiffany James got their first taste of big-time championship athletics. The experience will not be lost on them.
In 1999, Jamaica came home from the World Indoor Championships in Maesbashi, Japan, without a medal. Yet, a decade of stunning progress begun at the outdoor World Championships later in the same year. Similarly, there could be a silver lining laid by Williams and Thomas-Dodd, who made history in Birmingham.
- Hubert Lawrence has made notes at track side since 1980.