Sunshine Girls now to close deal
Long ago, I dreamt of a time when Jamaicans would win the women’s and men’s 100 metres at the Olympics. Thankfully, that dream came true in 2008 when the incomparable Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce sped to victory in Beijing’s magnificent Bird Nest.
Bolt sweetened the dream with a phenomenal world record to 9.69 seconds and Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson and Kerron Stewart produced a unique 1-2-2 finish.
It was no buck up. Bolt and Fraser-Pryce repeated this golden double at the 2009 World Championships, with Bolt lowering his world record to 9.58, and again, at the 2012 Olympics, and again and again at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships. Moreover, Bolt and Elaine Thompson Herah did it in 2016.
The dream had two parts but the other vision, Jamaica winning the Netball World Cup, hasn’t yet become a reality.
Just weeks ago, the Sunshine Girls came close in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, only to fall to an urgent second-half display by Australia in the final.
Nevertheless, the silver medal is Jamaica’s best result in Games netball history.
I reckon we should do everything possible to help the Girls to win the next Netball World Cup set for 2023, from facilitating their upcoming tour matches to helping Netball Jamaica (NJ) build the infrastructure to guarantee sustained success. All hands are needed on deck.
As this is written, NJ is J$3.5 million short of its target for its September away series in New Zealand. That series starts in less than two weeks.
A new dream is forming in my head. People think of Jamaican track and field as a success, and they’re right. But we have unfinished business there too.
We’ve never topped the medal table at the Olympics or the World Championships. Never.
Our team to the World Under-20 Championships came close in Cali, Colombia, this summer. Marshalled by technical leader David Riley, they ran, jumped and threw their way to the most medals, 16 to be specific. However, we lost to our American friends – six gold medals to seven.
The turning point came in the boys’ 4x100m relay. South Africa crossed the line first, but when the land of 400-metre world record holder, Wayde van Niekerk, was duly disqualified for a lane violation, the USA got the gold medal that made all the difference.
Jamaica had a near miss at the 2015 World Championships. Our team tied Kenya with seven gold medals each, with the United States of America on six, but the Kenyans outscored us with six silvers to two.
So the new dream has something old, Jamaica winning the Netball World Cup; and something new, Jamaica with the most gold and the most medals overall in athletics at the World Championships and/or the Olympics. Those matters of sporting business remain unfinished.
Commentator/author Hubert Lawrence has made notes at track since 1980.