From a Jamaican standpoint there were points of disappointment but overall the athletes performed stupendously, notwithstanding a few were beset by injuries.
The middle and long distance races brought the house down as usual. Part of the reason that these races capture the imagination, is that spectators develop some connection to the athletes over the many laps each race dictates. Added to that, fans appreciate a good tactical race and look forward to the inevitable ‘kick’ toward the finish. Good examples of these races were David Rudisha’s total domination of the men’s 800m, and Mo Farah’s closing flurry in the men’s 5000m.
The sprints should have enjoyed tremendously more publicity but for the shortsightedness of the track design. The absence of Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell and finally Usain Bolt did not help matters. Yohan Blake and Carmelita Jeter, winners of the men’s and women’s 100m, respectively, will be remembered for their stellar wins as for the relatively slow winning times. Their times are among the slowest winning in the history of Worlds, through no fault of their own. Thus organizers get a failing grade for track design and overall organization. The track was designed so that the wind blew against the runners in the straightaway. The track should have been designed so that the wind blew the athletes forward, thus determining more formidable times.
There is a school of thought that Jamaica did not live up to expectation and reputation when weighed against Berlin in 2009. In fairness to the Jamaican team, there were many injuries, so most of our athletes were not at full strength. Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Melaine Walker, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Kerron Stewart, Nesta Carter, Brigitte Foster-Hylton and Jermaine Gonzales were fighting injuries. Perhaps it is time Jamaica take a closer look at athlete preparation as this may explain the spate of injuries indicated. With more sustained body-management supervision, one can almost guarantee less risk of physical injury although injuries cannot be ruled out. It is a part of the game.
From a pure Jamaican standpoint, Bolt was excellent again but for the false start in the 100m. A superb 19.40secs in the 200m redeemed his larger-than-life status. Veronica Campbell-Brown solidified her status as one of sprints greats by finally thumping the 200m field, which included perennial nemesis Allyson Felix and superwoman Carmelita Jeter.
By far however, Melaine Walker’s 400m hurdles silver medal in a surprising 52.73secs was the gutsiest of the championships. Despite a nagging injury, she turned up for the Daegu final and was drawn in the unfavorable lane 8 against gold medal favorite Lashinda Demus. Nevertheless, she ran a gallant race throughout, leading the formidable field and stumbled meters from home when the gold looked possible. She finished a creditable second in one of the ten fastest times in history. The men’s mile relay should be commended also for a brilliant performance in winning bronze, as well as the women’s equivalent, for winning a silver medal and setting a national record.
All things considered however, Melaine Walker is my pick as the most inspiring performer from a local standpoint. She demonstrated what overcoming adversity means. Congratulations, Ms. Walker, on an excellent job extremely very well done, in your own inimitable way.