Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Paul Wright | Now, let us support our own!

Published:Tuesday | July 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Ashley Henderson (center) of the USA winning in the Women's 100m, ahead of Jamaica's Elaine Thompson (right), second, and Great Britain's Bianca Williams during day one of the Athletics World Cup at The Queen Elizabeth Stadium, London, England last Saturday.

The FIFA World Cup is now over. France are the champions of world football, for at least the next four years.

I have seen where there are some fans who look at the appearance of the majority of the victorious French team and have declared that 'Africa' has won the cup. Wrong.

According to the rules regarding representation of a country entering the preliminaries of the World Cup, all the members of the French team qualify as representatives of France. Congratulations to the team - Coach Didier Deschamps, support staff, and the French nationals (and local wagonists) - who are still celebrating.

The 2018 World Cup, hosted by Russia, was truly the best World Cup ever, not only because of the quality of the matches, but also for the successful attempts at getting some important on-field decisions right, as per the introduction of the video assistant referee (VAR).

As the flags of competing nations are taken down by adoring Jamaican fans, I hope that those fellow citizens who bought and displayed these flags will seriously consider buying and displaying Jamaican flags, in support of not only a (any) national team, but to show support for our island nation that consistently punches above its weight in world sport, music, and culture.

The proposed increase in the number of teams that can qualify for the World Cup, now makes it mandatory, that our local federation gets everything in place to assist our footballers in their quest to play once again in this glorious world spectacle. Our only appearance at the World Cup must not be back in 1998.

 

NOT ALL FOOTBALL

 

The World Cup in Russia was not the only sporting activity that took place last week. Cricket, athletics, female rugby, squash, golf and local football also took place during the week.

The finals of the Rugby America's North Women's Tens had Jamaica beating hosts Mexico, 17-14, Bahamas 29-15, before losing in the grand final to the mighty USA after leading right up to the last five minutes of the game. It was a truly remarkable achievement for a group of ladies that are really learning the nuances of international rugby, while creating waves among knowledgeable observers who believe that with time and support, the Lady Crocs can be a force to be reckoned with in international competition.

In cricket, the continued resurgence of our West Indian representatives is indeed pleasing. While one is reluctant to believe that the West Indies Cricket team has turned the corner, the defeat of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh - teams ranked above us in the ICC rankings - is indeed pleasing. Unfortunately, our new habit of consistent victories have not yet resulted in the return of the fans in their hundreds to the games, but with time and consistent good results that include fighting qualities, the crowds will grow.

 

WHERE CHAMPIONS RESIDE

 

In track and field, our national treasures continue to assert our position as the nation where champions reside. Our Under-20 representatives have just completed a very successful IAAF World Championships garnering four gold, five silver and three bronze medals to finish second in the medal table - only being topped by Kenya!

Our adults finished in fourth place at the World Cup of Athletics in London, which is a bit unusual, as we are indeed a world power in athletics. Our Olympic and World 100m champion, Elaine Thompson, was upstaged in the finals of her pet event by previously unknown (in world rankings) Ashley Henderson, who beat our queen by 200th of a second in the 100m. But in what is accepted as an off year in athletics, our national treasures did well. However, as is now customary, there will be questions to answer by our leaders of track and field, regarding the obvious disappointment of Christopher Taylor, who learnt (late) that he was entered in the 400m, and not the 200m as he seemed to have geared his mind to making a record statement!

Also, what could have caused the lane violations that caused the disqualifications of two of our relay teams, considering the fact that these youngsters are seasoned relay competitors here at home? So, let us welcome home our national treasures in whatever sport they competed in overseas, and let us pledge to support our own to the level at which some of us supported other national teams in the World Cup. Our fellow Jamaicans deserve our material and emotional support.