Our future is bright - Blake applauds performances of Pan Am juniors
Dr Warren Blake, president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), has commended the performance of the island’s junior athletes at the recently concluded Pan American Under-20 Athletics Championships, hosted in San José, Costa Rica.
The performances saw the team equalling the second-highest medal haul in the country’s history when they captured 17 medals overall – three gold, seven silver and seven bronze. This equalled the 17 medals won in 1991 in Kingston, Jamaica, and fell short only to the 21 medals won in 1999 in Tampa, Florida.
Blake believes that the results provided a good indicator of the future of Jamaican athletics.
“I think the athletes performed very well. You must remember that at the Pan Am Games, we’re also up against the United States, which is one of the most powerful track and field countries, and with what we have achieved, it is really quite good and outstanding,” Blake said.
“We’ve continued to outshine countries with better resources and greater population, which shows our strength in track and field.”
Jamaica finished fourth overall on the medal tally, with the United States finishing first with 50 medals – 21 gold, 19 silver and 10 bronze; Canada second with 17 medals – six gold, eight silver and three bronze; and Mexico third with four gold, one silver and two bronze.
Blake described the performance as an indicator of the country’s continued ability to punch above its weight class and commended the coaches, athletes and relevant staff for their hard work.
Jamaica produced many notable performances in San José, including from the likes of sprint sensation Briana Williams, who continued her impressive season when she added the Pan Ams 100m Under-20 title to her growing repertoire with a good showing of 11.38 seconds.
Oblique Seville and Michael Stephens finished second and third in the male equivalent with times of 10.21 seconds and 10.34 seconds, respectively, to finish behind American Matthew Boling, who clinched the gold medal in a time of 10.11 seconds.
Jamaica’s other gold medals came off the track when Lotavia Brown jumped to victory in the women’s triple jump with a 13.22m effort. Wayne Pinnock secured the country’s final gold medal in the men’s long jump when he registered a 7.82m effort.
Blake also sought to highlight the quartet of Jeremy Farr, Evaldo Whitehorne, Anthony Cox and Bovel McPherson, who shattered the 17-year-old record when they set a new national junior record of 3:00:99 seconds in the men’s 4x400m relays to finish second in the final.
This mark eclipsed the former record of 3:04:06 seconds set by Usain Bolt, Jermaine Gonalez, Sekou Clarke and Jermaine Myers in 2002 by over three seconds.
“The 400m and the 4x400m is where track and field really started for Jamaica. When we went to our first Olympics, that was where we shone. It is good to see us coming back to our 4x400m glory,” said Blake.