Jamaica end seven-year itch
Men’s 4x100 team back on the podium, women’s medal comes at a cost
AFTER SEVEN years, the Jamaican men’s 4x100 metres drought has ended, thanks to the emergence and evolution of their young sprinters. And while the women’s team secured yet another medal in the trophy case, it may have come at a cost.
The Jamaican men’s team closed the gap between themselves and the best in the world to capture bronze in the men’s 4x100m final on yesterday’s penultimate day of the World Athletic Championships in 37.76 seconds, the first time they have been on the podium of a major global championship of any kind since the 2016 Rio Olympics.
It has been a barren spell since the successful quartet of Asafa Powell, Yohan Blake, Nickel Ashmeade, and Usain Bolt.
But the new core of sprinting took a giant leap forward with Ackeem Blake, Oblique Seville, Ryeim Forde, and Rohan Watson. Despite uncomfortable baton changes, the team won bronze on the back of Watson’s heroic anchor leg.
For this group who won their first major global medal, it was a significant milestone which pleased Blake.
“I am proud of myself and everyone. We were the youngest in the field and this medal means a lot to everyone and to all the Jamaican fans as well,” Blake said.
Watson, who won the national championship, said that he had to do everything he could to bring the bronze home.
“Once I got the baton, I just accelerated. I tried not to panic, I tried to keep my form and execute,” said Watson.
Seville, who believed that something special could happen after their strong semi-final performance, recognised the importance of winning a medal, given the drought the country has suffered and that they are all under 25.
“I’m feeling great, 2016 is the last time we medalled and I want Jamaica to understand that this is a new era coming up. So it is great for us to know that this team is taking its time to understand each other,” Seville said
“To come out here and be one of the youngest in the field and be on the podium, knowing it is something special.”
The team of Natasha Morrison, five-time World 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shashalee Forbes and back-to-back World 200m sprint champion Shericka Jackson mined their second successive World Championships silver medals in a season’s best 41.21.
The Americans retained their title, thanks to the team of Tamari Davis, Twanisha Terry, Gabby Thomas and World 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson, in a championship record of 41.03.
But the Jamaicans’ medal performance took a back seat as Fraser-Pryce suffered an injury, which is reported to be a muscle strain, during the second leg, though she managed to hand over to Forbes.
Fraser-Pryce is expected to have an ultrasound done on her knee. It is the 16th medal of Fraser-Pryce’s career.
Earlier, both Jamaican men and women secured spots in the 4x400m relay finals after strong displays in their opening-round heats.
The quartet of Rusheen McDonald, Jevaughn Powell, Zandrion Barnes, and late addition D’Andre Anderson won their heat in a season’s best 2:59:82 minutes, finishing ahead of France, who also clocked a season’s best 3:00:05.
Minutes later, the team of Charokee Young, Nickiesha Pryce, Shiann Salmon and Stacey-Ann Williams produced a world-leading 3:22.74 to win their semi-final heat comfortably. They will be hoping to win their first World Champion gold medal since 2015. The United States won’t defend their title, as they were disqualified for handing the baton outside of the zone.
Entering into today’s final day, Jamaica have 11 medals, three gold, four silver and four bronze.