To say Jamaica is having an outstanding World Championships in Beijing, China, would be an understatement. Our established stars have given of their best, defending their titles and running personal bests. Our new stars have also announced their arrival with medals and PBs. We are currently third on the medal table, behind Kenya and the United States, with nine medals. This was our total haul at the last two meets in Moscow, Russia and Daegu, south Korea. With four relays and the men’s discus finals to come, we are on track to better our record 2009 haul of 13 in Berlin, Germany.
Here is a look at some of the special moments Team Jamaica has experienced so far:
- Shot put glory – O’Dayne Richards mighty effort of 21.69m not only equalled his national record mark, but won him a bronze medal – Jamaica’s first ever medal in the event at a senior championships. This distance would have earned him a silver medal behind Germany’s David Storl at the last two World Championships in Moscow, (21.73m) and Daegu, South Korea (21.78m). His throw would have made him the champion at the 2008 Olympics, ahead of Poland’s Tomasz Majewski (21.51). However, his bronze would stand had it been the 2012 games in London, behind Majewski (21.89m) and Storl (21.86m).
- Golden girl – Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce had a historic World Champs in 2013, and she was in the mood to create more history in Beijing, the site of her first ever global medal in the 2008 Olympics. In securing the 100m crown, she became the first woman to hold three such titles. But for a sluggish Daegu meet in 2011, which saw her placing fourth, she would have held four consecutive titles. Having earned her sixth World Championship gold medal, Fraser-Pryce now has the second highest total of gold medals in the 32-year history of the event, one clear of five-time winners Gail Devers, Sanya Richards-Ross and Tirunesh Dibaba. US star Allyson Felix has eight.
- The sprint king reigns – There are no superlatives great enough to describe the legend that is Usain St Leo Bolt. In the worst form of his career, he shushed doubters and critics by retaining his 100m title just ahead of his rival Justin Gatlin, who has been outstanding for the past two seasons. However, it was in the 200m, his favoured event, where he shone brightest. Gatlin had promised something special following his 100m loss, but still found himself observing the back of Bolt’s black, green and gold gear as the Jamaican flew to the line in 19.55 seconds. In the end, Bolt secured an unprecedented fourth consecutive men’s 200m world title in the 10th fastest time ever. It was also his best time since clocking 19.40 seconds to win in Daegu. Additionally, Bolt now has 12 World Champs medals in total (10 golds and two silvers), which puts him atop the table and clear of one of his harshest critics, America’s Carl Lewis.
- A star is born – Elaine Thompson came into these World Champs as a favourite to win the women’s 200m title. She has been having an outstanding season, winning the National Championships and then smashing the great Merlene Ottey’s Sainsbury Anniversary Games record of 22.24 seconds a month ago in London. How great was this run? The record stood for 24 years – 11 months older than Thompson herself. She looked set to win the gold coming off the curve, but the fast-finishing Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers would not be denied. In the end, Schippers set a new champs record of 21.63 seconds and Thompson took silver in a personal best 21.66 seconds, the fastest Jamaican woman since Ottey. She ran the second fastest time in the world for the past 17 years and became the fifth fastest woman over the distance, and was just two-hundredths of a second outside of Ottey’s national record of 21.64 seconds. This time also makes her faster than multiple 200m gold medallist Felix (21.69 seconds PB).
- Lion heart – Whenever Veronica Campbell-Brown lines up in the finals of an event, it is always a possibility – no matter the shape she’s in – that she will be standing on the podium come medal presentation time. She again proved her mettle in the 200m by digging deep from lane two to clinch a bronze medal behind Schippers and Thompson in 21.97 seconds. The blistering pace of the race saw the top three women dipping below 22 seconds for only the second time in history, following the 1988 Olympic final. This means that in the context of the most recent global championship finals, Campbell-Brown’s time would have convincingly won the 2013 title, ahead of Fraser-Pryce (22.17 seconds) and she would have bettered her own winning time (22.22 seconds) at the Daegu Champs. This medal puts her at 10 World Champs medals, only four less than her idol Ottey and one less than her 200m archrival Felix.
- Our very own Williams sisters – Brigitte Foster-Hylton hung up her spikes after a disastrous 2012 Olympic outing, and since then, we have wondered if we would have another global medallist in the 100m hurdles event any time soon. Well, sisters Shermaine and Danielle heard the calls and answered in emphatic fashion. Younger sibling Danielle had the better of the qualifying rounds, but Shermaine also booked her spot in the finals. As they lined up, we all prayed they would both medal. Alas, it was not meant to be. However, a confident Danielle got off to flying start and stayed with the leading pack in the middle lanes, pushing her way to the front as she smoothly cleared each barrier. It was all over by the time they crossed the final hurdle as she dipped for the line, snatching the title in a personal best 12.57 seconds. In her wake was the defending champion Brianna Rollins (USA) and favourite Tiffany Porter (Great Britain). Shermaine finished seventh in 12.95 seconds. This is Danielle’s second global title, as she secured the World University Games crown in 12.78 seconds back in July.