Fri | Apr 19, 2024

High drama but no more medals

Jamaica’s women drop baton in 4x400m final at World Indoor Championships

Published:Monday | March 4, 2024 | 12:10 AM
Devynne Charlton (right)  of The Bahamas crosses the finish line to win the gold medal in the 60-metre hurdles ahead of second-place Cyrena Samba-Mayela, of France at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday. Charlton won th
Devynne Charlton (right) of The Bahamas crosses the finish line to win the gold medal in the 60-metre hurdles ahead of second-place Cyrena Samba-Mayela, of France at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday. Charlton won the event in a world record 7.65 seconds. Samba-Mayela was second in 7.74.
Stacy-Ann Williams: It’s a relay and these things happen.
Stacy-Ann Williams: It’s a relay and these things happen.
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GLASGOW, Scotland:

The final night of the World Athletics Championship was one of high drama and huge disappointment for the Jamaican team as they were unable to increase their medal total in Glasgow.

Most upsetting was the non-finish of the nation’s 4x400-metre women’s quartet, who, in trying to repeat the country’s gold-medal performance in Belgrade two years ago, lost the baton when well placed for another podium placing.

A changed team to the four runners - Junelle Bromfield, Andrenette Knight, Charokee Young, and Leah Anderson - who had eased Jamaica through their heat and into the medal decider earlier in the day, ran in the final. Anderson, who had her own personal drama of collapsing in the wake of qualification, and Bromfield - the only survivor from the Serbian capital success in 2022 - dropped out as Lanae-Tava Thomas and Stacey Ann Williams came in.

Thomas started quickly and managed to slip into second place behind flying Dutchwoman Lieke Klaver, with Great Britain and the USA just behind.

The Jamaican passed the baton to Knight, who maintained the team’s position, handing over to Young for the fateful third leg.

The American runner squeezed through an unexpected gap left by Young on the inside - a major error on on the tight indoor bends - but then, halfway down the back straight, disaster struck as the baton flew agonisingly out of Young’s right hand after a clash with the left arm of Great Britain’s Ama Pipi, and the dream of defending the title was instantly over.

Stacey Ann Williams, who was down to run the anchor leg, never got to perform, but as her teammates trudged off visibly disappointed, she remained philosophical and commented:

“It’s a relay, and these things happen!

“It’s disappointing, but it’s something that happens - you have to be looking out for anything that might occur.

“You just have to shake it off and come again”

Anderson had experienced her own personal dramas after collapsing in the media mixed zone just moments after the morning’s qualification.

She remained prostrate on the ground for ten minutes while having her feet raised vertically by fellow athletes as medical help was summoned.

IRREGULAR BREATHING

The 24-year old runner was then tended by medics after being reported as having irregular breathing and heart rate and eventually got to her feet, still shaky, before being helped away for further checks.

The finalists reported Anderson as being back to warm up with them in the evening, apparently carrying no lasting legacy of the incident.

Megan Tapper will also probably want to forget the day after her medal hopes came to nothing in the women’s 60-metre hurdles semi-finals.

Olympic bronze medallist from Tokyo 2020 Tapper’s morning qualification from the heats was ragged - scraping third place in her heat in a modest 8.05 seconds, with several hurdles left lying on the track.

Her evening’s semi-final was no more tidy and, despite a fast start, she clattered the first two hurdles and could only manage another third. With only two to qualify automatically her 8.00 seconds proved insufficient to claim a ‘fastest losers’ spot.

The women’s long jump proved no more profitable for Jamaica, with Tissanna Hickling giving her best but not making the top eight, of 15 competitors, who progressed to the final three rounds.

Hickling, 26, the three times national champion, opened with 6.43 metres, but having fouled second time out, was unable to improve on that distance and bowed out at the cut-off point.

Jamaica finished the 19th edition of the indoor championships with three medals - the same as two years ago but all bronze this time after claiming a gold and two bronze in Belgrade.

The powerful USA team predictably headed the way with 20 medals, six of them gold, ahead of surprise packets Belgium on four (three gold) and New Zealand with two gold and two silver.

Bahamas’ Devynne Charlton provided the highlight of the night, smashing her own world record in winning the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.65.