The prevailing word on the street, on social media and from pundits was that Jamaica was expected to struggle at the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Doha. Afterall Jamaica was “in transition” and “lacked strength”. All of that turned out to be rubbish as the Jamaica team once shone brightly on the world stage.
Sadly, athletics is still a male-focused sport and it was good to once again see Jamaica’s women continue to carry the Jamaica flag high at the World Champs as they have had constantly done. Gone are the Bolts, the Powells and the Blakes but still the Jamaican women carry the torch lead by the indomitable Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce.
If we tally Jamaica’s medal haul at all the World Champs, the women, by far outshine the men in quantity and quality. If we go father and look at World Championship medalists with 6 or more medals the men only have Usain Bolt (14) and the (sadly) long-forgotten 400m specialist Greg Haughton (6). While for the women we have athletics royalty with the names Merlene Ottey (14), Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (11), Veronica Campbell-Brown (11), Beverly McDonald (7), Lorraine Graham (7) and Novlene Williams-Mills (6).
So before you say that Jamaican athletics is declining, ask yourself…. “Where would Jamaica’s athletics be without our women?”