‘Track and field will never die in Jamaica’
Maurice Wilson, head coach of Jamaica's team to the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, says various organisations - the GC Foster College, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), the Jamaica Olympic Association are working to build the foundation of track and field locally and the sport will never die in this country.
Wilson was speaking shortly after contingent of athletes arrived home from the meet at the Norman Manley International Airport yesterday. The country rebounded from its poor showing in 2017 to have a 12-medal haul, one short of its record 13 medal performance in 2009 in Berlin. Among the arrivals was women's 400m hurdles bronze medallist Rushell Clayton and men's discus throw silver medallist Fedrick Dacres.
Wilson was pleased with the overall performance of the team. "Everybody is elated," he said. "It was a difficult task. The conditions were not conducive at first but the team performed well all round. We have now become a global power, not just in track, but in track and field and we are extremely happy for this. Track and field may go through a transitional phase, but it can never die," he said.
There were certainly fears post Usain Bolt's retirement that Jamaica's dominance in the sport would be subjected to a long period of hibernation following the 2017 campaign in which the country only managed to leave London with four medals, its lowest total since 1987. But those have been sedated with the impressive performances of Dacres, men's long jump world champion Tajay Gayle, women's shot put silver medallist Danniel Thomas-Dodd, and women's triple jump silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts. On the track the outstanding athletes were Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce who won gold medals in the 100 metres and 4x100m while Shericka Jackson pocketed three medals - bronze in the 400m, gold in the 4x100m and bronze in the 4x400m.