Regional

Jamaican athletes to bring more glory to the island

The Sporting Edge with Paul Reid

Thursday, July 13, 2017

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The finest of Jamaica's track and field athletes will be on show between this week and August 13 in a month-long series of championships that is expected to test the very best that we have to offer to the world, while hopefully bringing even more glory to the island.

The 10th and final IAAF World Under-18 Championships started yesterday in Nairobi, Kenya, and will run through to Sunday, July 16. It will be followed by the Commonwealth Youth Games (Under-18) in Nassau, Bahamas, July 19-23, over lapping the Pan-American Under- 20 in Peru, July 21-23.

Come August 4-13, the IAAF World Championships will be held in London, where the world will get to see the incomparable Usain Bolt representing Jamaica on the track for the last time as he brings to a close a career which many say is the best ever by a sprinter.

Bolt, however, will not be the only outstanding Jamaican who will make his exit, as Novlene Williams-Mills has also decided to call it a day after 10 years.

And with injuries and wear-and-tear of years of consitently running mind-bending times, we also wonder if time has caught up with former world's fastest man Asafa Powell as well as Veronica Campbell Brown, both of whom were forced to withdraw from the recent Senior Championships due to injuries.

But the time for goodbyes are still to come, and for now it's up to us to enjoy what no doubt will be a month-long bacchanal of speed as while Williams-Mills and Bolt bid their adieus, a new generation of stars are lining up to take their places.

Some of our very brightest are in Kenya, where 15-year-old Kevona Davis leads the Under-18 section with times that are far more senior than her tender years, and history beckons as she could be the third Jamaican woman to win a sprint double at the World Under-18.

DeJour Russell looks set to continue the legacy of sprint hurdling now being set by Omar McLeod, Hansle Parchment and Ronald Levy, and later this week could break the world best time in the Youth 110 metre hurdles set by yet another Jamaican prodigy, Jaheel Hyde.

Next week another set of Under-18 athletes will fly the Jamaican flag in the Bahamas, while some of our very best Under-20 athletes will line up in the 'best test' in the region, the Pan American Juniors.

American and Canadian athletes refused to go to Kenya for fear of terrorism in the east African nation, and so they could be at their very best, hoping to sweep all before them in Peru.

There are some Jamaicans, however, ,who could stand in their way including shot putter Kevin Nedrick, arguably the very best the country has ever produced, as he has twice broken the national record and is aiming at becoming the first Jamaican over 21.00 metres.

It has become a cliché to say Jamaica's track and field future is in safe hands and feet, and while it might be impossible to produce another Bolt or VCB, the conveyer belt is still producing.

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