Photo: Jamaica's leading male quarter-miler Javon Francis
The performances of Javon Francis, Rusheen McDonald, Christine Day, Shericka Jackson and Stephenie-Ann McPherson at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Senior Athletics Championships, proves that the 400m is sexy,once again, in Jamaica.
The trio of Day, Jackson and McPherson along with the likes of Kaliese Spencer, the Queen of the 400m hurdles, means that Jamaica once again has a powerful female mile relay team that can challenge perennial powerhouse, the USA. The big question however is, Can one of the 400m specialists bring home the elusive gold medal?
In addition ,It has been a long time since Jamaica has produced two male athletes that have gone below 45s at the same championships and these two men, Francis and McDonald , have brought back memories of greats such as Herb McKenley, Arthur Wint and George Rhoden.
The exploits of Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Warren Weir and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and the other sprinters that Jamaica has produced since the Beijing Olympic in 2008, meant that almost every track athlete coming through has wanted to run the 100m or 200m, which had a devastating effect on the ‘long sprint’. But there is a feeling that things are about to change and balance is about to be restored.
The young cadre of quarter-milers leaving or about to leave high school in Jamaica, are already knocking on the door. Akeem Bloomfield, Christopher Taylor, Twayne Crooks and Nathan Allen have put in eye catching performances this year and represent a new wave that could herald Jamaica back to greatness in the one lap event.
The world will not soon forget the performance of Javon Francis at the World Championships in Russia two years ago, when he took Jamaica from a near impossible position in the Men’s 4x400m to second place and an unlikely silver medal. Francis has since built on that performance and is now clearly the island’s best male quarter-miler but will be kept on his toes by McDonald who chased him to the line last Sunday.
While many fans were worried about the performances of Jamaica’s athletes ahead of the National Championships, the excitement has returned following the cross the board results which suggest another great performance is in store inside the Birds Nest in August.