Caribbean teams miss out on men's, women's 4x400m finals; get second shot at Olympic qualifcation on Sunday

By Sports Desk May 04, 2024
Roneisha McGregor (background) anchored Jamaica's team to third behind France and Poland (out of photo). Roneisha McGregor (background) anchored Jamaica's team to third behind France and Poland (out of photo). World Athletics

There was no fortune for Caribbean countries at the backend of Saturday’s first day of the World Athletics Relays, as the various teams failed to progress in the men’s and women’s 4x400m events at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas.

In the female qualifiers, Jamaica’s quartet of Charokee Young, Ashley Williams, Junelle Bromfield, and Roneisha McGregor placed third in heat three in 3:29.03, behind Poland and France, who clocked 3:27.11 and 3:28.06.

Earlier, Cuba (3:31.56) and Dominican Republic (3:40.93) placed third and seventh, respectively, in heat two.

Ireland headlined the team’s that progressed, as they clocked a National Record 3:24.38 in qualifying. United States (3:24.76), Great Britain (3:24.89), Italy (3:26.28), Norway (3:26.89), Poland (3:27.11), and Canada (3:27.17), also booked their spots in the final, as well as for this summer’s Paris Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, it was more of the same on the male side of action, as Trinidad and Tobago’s quartet of Asa Guevara, Timothy Frederick, Shakeem McKay, and Jereem Richards, clocking 3:04.15 for third in heat one, where Japan (3:00.98) and Germany (3:01.25) secured the coveted spots.

United States initially won the heat, but they were later disqualified for an infringement.

Jamaica’s Malik James-King, Zandrion Barnes, Assinie Wilson, and Demish Gaye, clocked 3:02.46 for third, behind Belgium (3:00.09) and Nigeria (3:01.70). Guyana (3:09.91) was eighth in that heat.

The Bahamas (3:07.45) placed sixth in heat three, which was won by Italy (3:01.68), ahead of the fast-finishing Great Britain (3:02.10).

In the last heat, Barbados (3:03.72) and Dominican Republic (3:08.15), placed third and sixth, respectively, as Botswana (2:59.73) and South Africa (2:59.76) took the top spots.

Despite missing out on this occasion, the teams will have another shot at Olympic qualification in Round 2 action on Sunday.

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  • Stephen Francis criticizes JAAA for men’s 4x400m relay qualification failure; offers suggestion to possibly beat June 30 deadline Stephen Francis criticizes JAAA for men’s 4x400m relay qualification failure; offers suggestion to possibly beat June 30 deadline

    Renowned athletics coach Stephen Francis has publicly criticized the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) for what he described as gross incompetence, which has placed the country on the cusp of failing to qualify for the men’s 4x400m relay at this summer’s Paris Olympic Games.

    Francis, known for his no-nonsense approach, did not mince words as he laid bare his frustrations with the governing body’s handling of the situation, as the country’s recent bid to make it into the top 16 in the world, again ended in disappointment.

    The team of Reheem Hayles, JeVaughn Powell, Kimar Farquharson and Tarees Rhoden, gallantly clocked 2:59.75 against a Barbados team, and an international quartet at the NACAC New Life Invitational in Bahamas on Sunday, but failed to run faster than the 2:59.12 seconds set by Zambia in March.

    That was Jamaica’s third attempt at qualification, following two failures at the World Athletics Relays, also held in the Bahamas, in May. Fourteen teams qualified from the World Relays with the next best two teams, based on times run during the qualifying window, being added.

    France (2:58.46) and Zambia, currently occupy those slots, with Jamaica now in a race against time to surpass one of the two before the close of the qualification window on June 30.

    Should the Jamaicans fail to do so, it would be the first time in decades that the country would be absent from the men’s 4x400m at any major championship.

    Francis believes all this could have been avoided had JAAA’s president Garth Gayle appointed competent individuals with immense knowledge of how to manage the situation accordingly.

    “Garth Gayle is a trying man, but he consistently gets letdown by the appointments he makes. Jamaica historically has treated senior athletics as an adjunct to junior athletics, so the same people are there, school principals and their technical committees, making these decisions on issues they know absolutely nothing about,” Francis told SportsMax.TV in an exclusive interview.

    “They know nothing about senior athletics. They might have some kind of resume in (managing) juniors, being a high school principal or a coach at a high school, so (the country suffers) as a result of these personnel, because they keep making stupid decisions when it comes to seniors,” he added.

    To drive home his point, Francis, a highly decorated coach, explained that the country’s teams to the World Athletics Relays were chosen based on early season times.

    “That is rubbish…unheard of, and only people who know nothing about senior athletics would ever even suggest that. (Those with proper knowledge) know that in April, nobody starts to run because people are more peaking for the summer, so what they should have done for the World relays is to run the teams you expect to run down in June. You make them aware early enough that, ‘we're going to select so try and get in shape because we need to qualify, we need to get to the final,” Francis reasoned.