New-look Ja­maica fail Com­mon­wealth Games test

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

GOLD COAST: As sprint leg­end Usain Bolt par­tied into the early hours and hung out with movie stars at the Com­mon­wealth Games, it wasn’t so much fun for the Ja­maica track team he left be­hind.

At their first ma­jor com­pe­ti­tion since Bolt re­tired af­ter a decade of dom­i­nance, the Ja­maican jug­ger­naut caught a flat on the Gold Coast, fail­ing to win a sin­gle sprint­ing gold medal. Yo­han Blake’s flop in the men’s 100 me­tres set the tone as Ja­maica’s con­fi­dence was im­me­di­ately dented by South African Akani Sim­bine. Blake, who picked up a world ti­tle in 2011 af­ter Bolt false-started, could only fin­ish third be­hind Sim­bine’s coun­try­man Hen­ri­cho Bru­in­tjies af­ter a calami­tous start.

To add in­sult to in­jury, dou­ble Olympic cham­pion Elaine Thomp­son failed to win a medal in the women’s 200m as Shau­nae Miller-Uibo romped to vic­tory for the Ba­hamas. And with Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards cap­tur­ing gold in the men’s 200m and coun­try­woman Michelle-Lee Ahye an up­set win­ner of the women’s 100m, Ja­maica’s Caribbean ri­vals en­joyed their days in the sun. Ja­maica’s Olympic chief in­sisted that there was no cri­sis, point­ing to a new gen­er­a­tion of sprint­ers com­ing through.

“It was a per­fectly cred­itable per­for­mance,” Christo­pher Sa­muda told AFP. “Ja­maican ath­letes usu­ally peak in June or July. “Usain Bolt had a very big in­flu­ence but we have a wealth of tal­ent and the fu­ture for Ja­maican sprint­ing is in very good hands.” But af­ter the Ja­maican men’s 4x100m re­lay team were crushed by Eng­land to take third be­hind South Africa in a puny ti­tle de­fence, Bolt took to so­cial me­dia to ques­tion whether he had re­tired too soon. “Watch­ing the re­lay just now made me ask my­self a few ques­tions,” tweeted the eight-time Olympic cham­pion, who watched part of the ath­let­ics with Hol­ly­wood heart­throb Chris Hemsworth.

FEAR FAC­TOR

Blake in­sisted he would bounce back this sea­son. “I was in record-break­ing shape, and I’m still in that,” he said. “We were dom­i­nat­ing world­wide, and my coach is work­ing to get me back to that level so I can dom­i­nate again.”

While Ja­maica ap­peared to have lost the fear fac­tor, Blake dis­missed the threat to their re­cent sprint­ing dom­i­nance. “It’s not that they’re get­ting bet­ter,” he said. “It’s that we’re not per­form­ing.” — AFP

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