Photo: Usain Bolt is comforted by his teammates Julian Forte (back to camera),Yohan Blake and Omar McLeod after suffering a cramp on the anchor leg of the 4x100m finals at the World Championships on Saturday.
Jamaica entered the tenth and final day of the IAAF World Championships in London hopeful of adding to the meager four medals gained over the previous nine days, and having had three finalists in the women’s 400m would have felt they had a chance of medaling in the 4x400m relay.
But the championships continued to follow the Jamaican script as Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby pulled up on the second leg of the mile relay to end any chances of the country adding to the medal collection. It was the second such injury to a Jamaican in a relay as Usain Bolt had suffered the same fate in the 4x100m final the night before.
In all, Jamaica competed in three relay finals and finished only one, when the women won bronze in the 4x100m final on Saturday as the team finished with one gold medal and three bronze medals, the lowest medal haul since the inaugural World Championships in 1983.
The fate of the women’s mile relay team could have been very different however, had the original four members of the team taken to the track. This did not happen because there was a bust up between MVP Club teammates Stephenie-Ann McPherson and Shericka Jackson at the hotel where Jamaica was staying, shortly before the race. Subsequent to the incident McPherson refused to run after citing that she had an injury.
McLaughlin-Whilby was brought in as replacement and ran less than 200m before grabbing her hamstring and collapsing to the ground. This also meant that team captain Novlene Williams-Mills lost out on her last chance to represent her country as she was set to anchor the team and attempt to defend the 4x400m title she had won two years ago in Beijing, China.
With Jamaica missing from the men’s mile relay final, it seemed that their great rivals the USA would storm to victory, but Trinidad and Tobago spoiled the party for the favourites, striking at the death to claim their first ever gold medal in the event at the World Championships and win the last gold of the championships.
Following the completion of the track and field events, the organizing committee honoured Jamaican legend Usain Bolt for his contribution to the sport which ended with the athlete walking a lap of honour to a standing ovation from the appreciative crowd.