Simmonds, McCarthy grateful for WYC chance
Their objectives may have been places on the medal podium, but the prize of experience gained will have to suffice for sprint hurdlers Chrisdale McCarthy and Megan Simmonds.
The pair came into the IAAF World Youth Championships (WYC) in Lille, France, with high expectations. After not being named to the original list of 17 announced for the championships by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, Simmonds and McCarthy were eventually added after protests from local track and field fans and analysts.
Coming into the WYC, Simmonds, who finished fourth at last year's inaugural Youth Olympic Games, was ranked as the sixth-best in the event in the world after being listed at number three for over three months, prior to the last week or so before the start of the WYC.
McCarthy, a student at St Jago High, came into the meet as the seventh best, but held the number four spot for a lengthy period as well.
However, McCarthy and Simmonds had to settle for fifth and sixth place in the 100m hurdles finals here. But the two are convinced that they will emerge better athletes and were both thankful for the opportunity.
McCarthy, who actually recorded a personal record of 13.55 seconds in the final, was proud of her efforts.
"It was a great experience, although I wanted to get a medal I am happy that I did my best and got a personal best, so I am very proud and happy that I was able to achieve that against the best in the world," said McCarthy.
"I think I started well enough, I got up with the pack, I don't know what happened in the middle of the race, don't know what happened at the end either," she said of her performance in the final.
The race was won in a blistering world youth leading 13.11 seconds by American Trinity Wilson, with Switzerland's Noemi Zbaren, 13.17 seconds, and the second American Kendell Williams, 13.28 seconds, respectively, rounding off the medal positions.
"It's my very first time competing at this level and I am happy with my performance. It has been a great experience and I know I can only improve from here," McCarthy added. "This has certainly motivated me to go back and work even harder so that I will improve where I need to."
Simmonds, who ran 13.78 seconds in the final, was disappointed with the end result, but was nonetheless thankful for the experience gained and the chance given to represent her country.
"I think I need some time to assess what went wrong, but I can say that it has been a great experience and one that I will definitely learn from and become stronger," said the spritely St Andrew High youngster.
"I want to say a very big thank you for everyone who believed in us in the first place and those who encouraged us and helped to get us here on this team. It means a lot and has motivated us to keep giving our best for our country and to make you guys proud," said Simmonds.
- André Lowe