Photo: Shericka Jackson (left) wins the Women's 400m finals at the Jamaica Senior Athletics Championships in June. Also in photo: Chrisann Gordon and Novlene Williams-Mills.
It was another day without medals for Jamaica at the IAAF World Championships on a wet and frigid day in London, England, but despite the lack of podium finishes for the country there were some outstanding performances from which the country will draw many positives.
The day started brightly when Aisha Praught finished fourth in the second heat of the women’s 3000m steeplechase in 9:26.37 to qualify for the finals. Building on the momentum of his countrywoman, Kemoy Campbell finished 9th in heat two of the men’s 5000m to also qualify for the final.
The next performer of the day was Danniel Thomas-Dodd in the finals of the women’s shot put and she was on the brink of creating history for Jamaica when her penultimate throw of 18.91m put her in third place. Unfortunately for Jamaica’s first ever female World Championship shot putt finalist, Anita Marton of Hungary produced a throw of 19.49m to move into the silver medal position with her last throw, knocking down American Michelle Carter to the bronze position and Thomas-Dodd down to 4th.
Thomas-Dodd was happy with her overall performance despite missing out on a medal. “I was just going out there to have fun and I did. I was more relaxed and ready to compete than I was in the past, so honestly I am happy with the overall performance. I was honestly hoping for the third place but I knew these ladies are more experienced than I am and I knew eventually one of them was going to put one together. It was a tough field and for me to come out where I finished I am really happy,”
The final three track events of the day would produce very little joy for Jamaica. Both Rasheed Dwyer and Yohan Blake failed to move beyond the semi-final round of the men’s 200m. Dwyer was 8th in semifinal one in a time of 20.69 while Blake who complained of a sore hamstring post race, was third in semifinal two in a time of 20.52. He was edged out of the final by the 400m champion Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa who had the 8th fastest time of 20.28s.
Young Kemar Mowatt, performing at his first World Championships finished in a respectable 4th position in the finals of the men’s 400m hurdles in a time of 48.99s. Running in out of lane three, the 22 year old ran his own race, finishing strongly, moving from the back of the pack to one spot outside a podium finish.
For Mowatt it was a great learning experience despite the very cold conditions.
“It’s a great experience for me, the crowd, the bigger guys, I am just happy to get a feel of what the bigger guys do in my break out year. It was pretty cold, my hamstrings were pretty tight, I tried my best not to think about it,” he said.
Jamaica had three athletes in the final event of the evening, the final of the Women’s 400m but none of the ladies were able to achieve a podium finish. Running in a heavy downpour, Shericka Jackson, who won bronze at the Olympic Games last year and is also the national champion produced a late burst from lane two to be the best Jamaican finisher in fifth place in 50.76. 2016 Diamond League winner Stephenie-Ann McPherson was 6th in 50.86 and team captain Novlene Williams-Mills was 8th in 51.48.
Jackson who was first across the line for Jamaica was pleased with her performance despite failing to win a medal for the first time while running in an individual championship final.
“No medal is guaranteed so you have to work for it. Tonight I didn’t get a medal but I am happy I finished injury free so there is nothing more I could ask for. I think it was a pretty good run this evening, I think it was good tonight for me,” she explained.
All of Jamaica’s hopes of a medal on day seven will rest squarely on the shoulders of Ristananna Tracey in the finals of the Women’s 400m hurdles final, which goes off at 3:35pm.