Hard work pays big $$$$ - Jamaican stars earn big cash rewards at IAAF World Championship
For MANY of the athletes representing Jamaica at the IAAF World Athletics Championships, which wraps up in Beijing, China, today, it was hard work and the proverbial "blood, sweat, and tears" to achieve their goals.
Now it is paying off as glory, fame, and fortune. The World Championships offered millions of dollars in prizes, and Jamaica's top performers have been cashing in with almost US$500,000 (approximately J$58 million) already in the bag.
That figure is almost certain to increase before the curtain comes down on the nine-day championships with the men's and women's 4x400m relay finals to be contested this morning.
The IAAF awards prize money to each finalist in individual and relay events, with an additional bounty for athletes who set new world records.
Athletics poster boy Usain Bolt has led the Jamaican effort, pocketing US$120,000 (J$14 million) for his wins in the men's 100m and 200m and a share of the US$80,000 ($9.2 million), courtesy of the men's 4x100m relay team's gold-medal run.
Bolt retained his 100m title in a season-best (SB) time of 9.79 seconds and also held on to his 200m crown, following his victory in a world-leading 19.55 seconds.
Asafa Powell pocketed US$5,000 for his seventh-place finish in the men's 100m and topped up his earning with a share of the 4x100m relay team's prize money.
Nickel Ashmeade received US$4,000, after placing eighth in the men's 200m and also formed part of the men's 4x100m relay pool.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who successfully defended her 100m title, received US$60,000 for her troubles and a share of US$80,000 following the women's 4x100m relay team's triumph.
Veronica Campbell-Brown, who was fourth in the 100m in 10.91 seconds, and Natasha Morrison, seventh in 11.02 seconds, received US$15,000 and US$6,000, respectively, for their efforts.
Campbell-Brown moved her individual cash haul to US$35,000 (J$4 million) after placing third in the women's 200m, with a SB clocking of 21.97 seconds to earn a further US$20,000.
Elaine Thompson, competing at her first World Championships, was second in the women's 200m in a personal best (PB) of 21.66 seconds to pocket US$30,000. Sherone Simpson was eighth, in a SB of 22.50 seconds, to take home US$4,000.
Like Fraser-Pryce, Campbell-Brown, Simpson and Thompson increased their prize money as they formed part of the women's 4x100m relay pool, while Natasha Morrison and Kerron Stewart earned some take-home money for their role in the qualifying race.
Danielle Williams earned for herself a big payday of US$60,000 after winning the women's 100m hurdles in a new PB of 12.57 seconds. Her sister, Shermaine Williams (12.95), was seventh, to walk away with US$5,000.
The men's 110m hurdles saw Jamaica's pair of Hansle Parchment and Omar McLeod emerge with a combined sum of US$36,000. Parchment was rewarded with US$30,000 (J$3.5 million) after taking the silver medal in a SB of 13.03 seconds, and McLeod US$6,000 for his sixth-place finish in 13.18 seconds.
O'Dayne Richards walked away with US$20,000 for his historic bronze medal in the men's shot put, which he won with a national record-equalling throw of 21.69 metres, while young Fedrick Dacres pocketed US$5,000 for his seventh-place finish in the discus.
Jamaica became the first country to have four athletes qualify for the final of the women's 400m at a global championship, and the ladies pocketed a combined total of US$51,000 (J$6 million).
Sherieka Jackson was the best-placed Jamaican as she finished third in a new PB of 49.99 seconds to earn US$20,000. Christine Day was fourth in a new PB of 50.14, Stephenie-Ann McPherson fifth (50.42), and Novlene Williams-Mills sixth in a SB 50.47 to pocket US$15,000, US$10,000 and US$6,000, respectively. They are all part of the 4x400m relay pool seeking more glory today.
The women's 400m hurdles saw Janieve Russell finish fifth in a new PB of 54.64 seconds and Kaliese Spencer eighth in 55.47 seconds. Russell was awarded US$10,000 and Spencer US$4,000.
Kimberly Williams was also in the money after placing fifth in the women's triple jump with a SB effort of 14.45 metres. She, too, walked away with US$10,000.