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Jamaica’s WC Medal Haul Continues Caribbean Dominance

Jamaica ended the Budapest World Championships in Athletics with 12 medals to place fourth overall in the medal standings and first among Caribbean countries: 3 Gold 5 Silver 4 Bronze. The US topped the table with 12G 8S 9B. Next was Canada with 4G-2S, and Spain 4G 1S, all gold in walk races.  

After Shericka Jackson gave Jamaica its third gold medal following victories by Danielle Williams and Antonio Watson earlier in the meet, Jamaica came within feet of getting a fourth win in the women’s 4×4 relay, the final race, which would have moved them to second on the table; anchor Stacy-Ann William was caught two steps from the line by Dutch anchor and champion 400m hurdler Femke Bol. The Dutch woman caught Williams at the same spot where Bol fell in the 4×4 mixed relay on the first day when she came under pressure from the US anchor.

The Jamaican women entered the final with a world-leading time of 3:22.74. That time was lowered by the Dutch, thanks to Bol’s steady running to bring glory to the Netherlands on the final day in a world-leading and national record of 3:20.72. Jamaica took silver with 3:20.88, and Britain with 3:21.04. for bronze. 

McMasters

In the men’s edition, 400m 6th place finisher Sean Bailey was slated to anchor the men’s 4×4 but was pulled from the squad because of hamstring problems. Hurdles 4th place finisher 19-yr-old Roshawn Clarke was brought in on the second leg.

While Jamaica got caught in traffic at the second exchange, the US was well clear and ran away with gold 2:57.31 world lead and with France (2:58.45 national record) and Germany (2:58.71) kept Jamaica with 2:59.34 season best) off the podium. 

Clarke, who days before lowered his hurdles personal best to a World Under-20 record 47.34 as he kept close to World record holder Karsten Warholm in the 400m hurdles semifinal, saw the bronze medal slip away to the American Rai Benjamin in the final as he followed home Warholm (46.89), British Virgin Islands’ Kyron McMasters (47.34) and Benjamin (47.56) in 48.07.

While Clarke just missed the podium, the Championships pushed his teammate quarter-miler Antonio Watson onto the top of the podium and into the global spotlight. The second youngest in the line-up at 22 years old, Watson came from behind to snatch the flat 400m from pre-race favorite Mathew Hudson-Smith of Britain.

Earliest favorite and world leader Steven Garden of the Bahamas collapsed to the track in the semi-final and left the 400m wide open.

Prior to that mile relays, Jamaica, represented by Adel Tracy, finished 7th in the women’s 800m, 5th in the women’s high jump, and 4th in the men’s 4×4 relay. 

Bailey was not the only injury that hampered Jamaica. Earlier in the Championships, 18-yr-old triple jumper ace Jaydon Hibbert entered the final with the world-leading jump but picked up an injury on the runway during his first runup and had to withdraw.

And while running a storming backstretch in the women’s 4×1 relay, veteran and team co-captain Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce picked up a muscle strain and was forced to cut her speed to make it to the third-leg runner as the US runner capitalized. That scenario is reminiscent of when Juliet Cuthbert suffered a muscle injury at that spot while running that leg at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Fraser-Pryce’s misfortune took some out of Jamaica, anchored by Shericka Jackson, who finished second behind the US, anchored by Sha’Carri Richardson. -Desmond Palmer

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