Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Jamaican sprinter Nesta Carter walked inside the Atakoy Arena in Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday knowing fully well that the bright yellow and green strip was not the only thing that he was wearing.
With national record holder Lerone Clarke not making it through, Carter, the only Jamaican in the 60m final at the IAAF World Indoor Championships, knew very well that he wore the heavy expectations of a sprint-mad nation.
In the end, the medal may not have been the colour he was hoping for, but in addition to securing his first individual medal at a senior international championships, Carter also gave Jamaica its first podium spot here, at a championships that has not always gone according to script for the Jamaicans.
"Yes, it (being the only Jamaican in the final) was in the back of my head," Carter told The Sunday Gleaner shortly after his race. "Lerone (Clarke) wasn't here so all the pressure was on me to deliver for Jamaica, but I knew that I had to remain focused on what I had to do to make everyone proud."
Carter, whose reaction time out of the starting blocks was 0.143, was one of the first to get into stride, but he could do little to hold off the fast-finishing American Justin Gatlin, who took gold in 6.46, while Dwain Chambers (GBR), 6.60, finished third.
"I have to give God thanks for now having an individual medal. I wanted the gold, but I'll settle for the silver for now. Hopefully, I'll move on to the Olympics after this and win a gold medal," said Carter, who is expecting to jump right back into training on Tuesday, as he continues his build-up to what is going to be a cracking Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures Limited National Senior Championships in June, which will serve as the Olympic qualifier.
"I have been working on a few stuff so I am really looking forward to the outdoor season, I am really confident," Carter continued.
Expecting more medals
On being the first Jamaican medallist here, Carter is also filled with pride, but is banking on a few more Jamaican medals on today's final day of competition.
"Not a lot of Jamaicans here, but being the first to get a medal, I am happy about that," said Carter. "I think Veronica (Campbell-Brown) and Richard Phillips will do well and add to the medal collection, but yes, I am happy that I was able to contribute."
First-time senior championships finalist Kimberly Williams, who was in third spot for a brief period, ended fifth in the women's triple jump, with a leap of 14.27m, which she achieved on her very last attempt.
"I'm pleased with myself. I went and did my best," said Williams. "The outdoor season is what I am used to, but I am satisfied with my efforts today."
Campbell-Brown, who won her heat in 7.29, will look to successfully defend her 60m title but will have to first successfully navigate the semi-finals, scheduled for 7:15 a.m today. Aleen Bailey is also through to the semis, after finishing second in her heat in 7.34.
Also on assignment today will be 60m hurdler Richard Phillips, who was second in his heat in 7.71. The men's 60m hurdles semi-final is set for 7:45 a.m. with the final running off at 10:20 a.m.