Mon | Sep 20, 2021

Hyde could answer 4x4 call

Published:Wednesday | July 28, 2021 | 12:11 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
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With Jamaica’s top male quarter-milers suffering injuries this year, the nation’s 4x400m relay effort at the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, may need reinforcements. If the search for speed locates 400m hurdler Jaheel Hyde, he will answer the call.

Medals in the 4x400m relay came home from the 2016 Olympics, the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2019 World Championships, where Akeem Bloomfield, Nathon Allen, Terry Thomas, and Demish Gaye produced the second-fastest time ever by a Jamaican team — 2:57.90 minutes. Along the way, 2016 Olympic relay silver medallist Javon Francis won an individual bronze in the Commonwealth Games, with Allen and Gaye reaching the 2017 World final and Gaye and Bloomfield matching that in 2019.

Unfortunately, injury has struck Bloomfield, Francis, Allen and Gaye in 2021 and, while Gaye will run the flat 400m in Tokyo, the 4x400m squad is depleted. Queried on the matter, Swept Track Club head coach Okeile Stewart said Hyde, who produced a personal best of 48.18s at the National Senior Championships (Trials) last month, would answer the call if it comes.

“I think Jaheel is always ready to go to the call of the country,” Stewart said.

In 2014, Hyde helped Jamaica to a bronze medal at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships and more recently, he ran a 44.8s second leg at the 2019 Western Relays for the MVP Track Club.

“However, based on my knowledge, his ticket is booked to be back before the 4x400m runs,” Stewart said. “However, I think that if there is a reconsideration on the part of the administration, I think his management team would be willing to take up that call.”

UNDER QUARANTINE

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to athletes staying in Tokyo just long enough to facilitate quarantine and competition as part of an effort to eliminate overcrowding.

International track and field rules require that the top four from the National Championships – Sean Bailey, Christopher Taylor, Karayme Bartley, and Gaye – must be included in the 4x400m relay pool. When the Olympic track and field team was announced on July 1, it also included Jamaican record holder Rusheen McDonald, who was fifth at Trials, and Allen, who didn’t contest the final.

In the past, Jamaica has chosen 400m hurdlers Winthrop Graham, Deon Hemmings-McCatty, Danny McFarlane, and Debbie-Ann Parris to do 4x400m duty at the Olympics, and the World Athletics Championships. In fact, Parris was part of the 2001 quartet that won the gold medal at the Worlds.

More recently, Leford Green helped Jamaica to the bronze medal at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, and on the ladies’ side, Kaliese Spencer and Janieve Russell have been 4x400m stalwarts, with Russell speeding a 50.6s leg when Jamaica won the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The men’s 400m hurdles final is set for August 2 and the 4x400m heats scheduled for August 6.

sports@gleanerjm.com