WALK WITH YOUR BROOMS
A historic women’s 100 metres medal sweep could well be the centrepiece of Jamaica’s campaign at the World Athletics Championships, which start on July 15 in the United States city of Eugene. Elaine Thompson Herah, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson will seek to repeat their 1-2-3 finish from last year’s Tokyo Olympics in the 100 metres final on Sunday. If they succeed, they could launch a satisfying visit by Jamaica to Oregon.
In all, Jamaica seems certain to bring home 11 medals.
The best bets for gold will come in the women’s 100m, with Fraser-Pryce leading the charge with times of 10.67 seconds twice and a 10.70, the 200m where Jackson is the world leader off her 21.55 seconds tour of the National Stadium last month ahead of Thompson Herah and Fraser-Pryce, and in the women’s 4x100m where Kemba Nelson, the National Championships runner-up behind Jackson, Thompson Herah, Fraser-Pryce and Jackson might even run at the 10-year-old world record of 40.82 seconds.
Olympic 110m hurdles champion Hansle Parchment, undefeated in five 2022 races, has a chance to win Jamaica’s second World gold in this challenging event, but with American Devon Allen clocking history’s third-fastest time – 12.84 seconds in New York, Parchment will have to approach his personal best of 12.94 to contend.
Conventional wisdom won’t give Jamaica a medal in the men’s 100m but history tells us that from 2016 onward, anyone who clocks under 9.9 gets a medal and two men in black-green-and-gold, Yohan Blake and Oblique Seville, have those credentials this year. Blake beat Seville, 9.85 to 9.88, at the Nationals. With his top-level experience, Blake might just have the edge.
With Italy’s Olympic and World Indoor winner Lamont Jacobs ill and injured during the outdoor season, American champion and Olympic runner-up Fred Kerley arrives as the favourite.
Add 9.93 youngster Ackeem Blake to the mix and Jamaica should collect a medal in the 4x100m relay.
The relays will be good to Jamaica. In addition to the run on the record in the women’s 4x100m, the deep group of 400m, 800m and 400m hurdles athletes give Jamaica a good chance in the mixed 4x400m and the women’s 4x400m.
The 100m hurdles might produce a Jamaican medal too. The 2015 World Champion Danielle Williams won the bronze at the last World Championships and Megan Tapper was third last year in Tokyo. Yet, 21 year-old Britany Anderson beat them both at the Nationals and has run neck and neck with Olympic champion Jasmin Camacho-Quinn and Commonwealth Games winner Tobi Amusan, racing to times of 12.45 and 12.50 along the way. An error-free race might break up an expected 1-2-3 of Camacho-Quinn, Amusan and world record holder Kendra Harrison.
Shanieka Ricketts, Danniel Thomas-Dodd and Fedrick Dacres took silver medals in the triple jump, shot put and discus, respectively, in 2019. Thomas-Dodd is near her lifetime best at 19.53m this season but is only seventh on the 2022 performance list and Dacres is racing against time to be sharp after a mid-season groin strain.
His training partner Traves Smikle is the Jamaican leader and world number 11 at 66.60 metres.
Fourth last year, Ricketts is sixth on the triple jump performance list at 14.52 metres. Peak performance by Ricketts, Thomas-Dodd, Dacres and Smikle isn’t inconceivable.
Reigning long jump champion Tajay Gayle has struggled for form and fitness. If he is 100 per cent, look out.