Our track and field is safe - Grange points to all-round CWG success
Sports Minister Olivia Grange has said that Jamaica's performance at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, demonstrates that the country is expanding its reach in athletics.
Grange, who was at the Norman Manley International Airport on Tuesday night to welcome home members of the team, was making reference to the impressive display in non-traditional events like the men's discus throw, women's shot put, and women's 3000m steeplechase.
Jamaica won three gold medals and a silver in these events through Fedrick Dacres, Daniel Thomas-Dodd, Aisha Praught-Leer, and Traves Smikle.
"It speaks volume for how we are developing, and we are not only doing well in the traditional sprint events, but also in the field, which is very impressive," Grange pointed out.
"Aisha Praught in the steeplechase. She went out there and brought glory to Jamaica. Fedrick Dacres and Traves Smikle, gold and silver in the discus. That has never been done, and the way they did it was just pretty amazing, and Daniel in the women's shot put," Grange said.
Grange said that the wide-ranging performance should also dispel the myth that Jamaica's track and field success was solely standing on the shoulders of sprinting legend Usain Bolt, who retired from the sport last year.
"There are those who may feel that because Bolt is no longer active and at the centre of things, it will take the shine off us, but I don't agree because what happened at [the] Carifta [Games] and the Commonwealth Games shows that we are moving into a new era of outstanding athletes," Grange reasoned.
Jamaica recorded its highest medal count at the Common-wealth Games with 27 medals, with 25 of those coming in athletics.
The previous record was 22 and was achieved in Melbourne in 2006 and Glasgow in 2014.