Jamaica withdraws from World Athletics Relays - JAAA points to travel difficulties, COVID-19 protocols as biggest setbacks

By Sports Desk April 20, 2021

 The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) has announced the withdrawal of a team to the World Athletics Relays set for May 1-2 in Chorzow, Poland.

In a release issued on Tuesday evening, the JAAA cited the difficulty of travelling during the pandemic and existing COVID-19 protocols as the reason for its decision.

“Based on existing travel restrictions, routing and possibilities since then, caused by the SARS Covid 19 Pandemic, it has become extremely challenging for the Jamaican team and officials to participate,” the release read.

Last week, the JAAA announced that an experienced team had been selected to take part in the event.  Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, Olympic and World Championships 400m bronze medalist, and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell were among the headliners selected for the Jamaica squad.

Thompson was expected to be part of a 4x100m relay squad that included Natasha Morrison, Natalliah Whyte, Remona Burchell, Kasheika Cameron, and Shashalee Forbes.

She was also down to compete in the less often contested 4x200m, with Whyte, Forbes, Candice McLeod, Tiffany James, and Anastasia LeRoy.

Powell would have led a 4x100m team that included Oshane Bailey, Nesta Carter, Julian Forte, Nigel Ellis, Romario Willams, and Kadrain Goldson.

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    The much-anticipated season openers for St Lucia’s Julien Alfred and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, turned in contrasting results as both were left in the wake of American Sha’Carri Richardson at the end of the women’s 100m at the Diamond League Prefontaine Classics in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

    Given the quality nature of the field, the event was expected to prove a close affair, but no real clash materialized as Richardson, the reigning World champion, opened her 100m account in impressive fashion with a brisk 10.83 seconds.

    Alfred, the World Indoor 60m champion, placed second in 10.93s as she utilised her quick start to good effect and led for most of the way, before being caught by Richardson, while Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (10.98s), who was also opening her account in the event, placed third.

    Meanwhile, Thompson-Herah, the double Olympic champion, is still yet to rekindle her outstanding form of old, as she got up well from lane four, but quickly faded to the back of the field in 11.30s.

    American Christian Coleman also won the men’s 100m in a season’s best 9.95s, with runner-up Ferdinand Omanyala (9.98s), also clocking a season’s best. Another American Brandon Hicklin (10.08s) was third. Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake (10.12s) and Sandrey Davison with a personal best 10.13s, were fourth and fifth, while British Virgin Islands’ Rikkoi Brathwaite (10.19s) was sixth.

    In the field, Cuba’s World Indoor silver medallist Leyanis Perez Hernandez, topped the women’s triple jump event, as her 14.73m first effort was not to be denied. Try as they did, Dominica’s World Indoor champion and current world number one Thea Lafond (14.62m), and Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts, with a season’s best 14.55m, had to settle for the runners-up positions.

    Another Jamaica Kimberly Williams (13.74m) was seventh.

    Elsewhere on the track, the men’s 200m was won by current world leader Kenny Bednarek, who continued his rich early season form to again lead an American sweep. Bednarek won in 19.89s, ahead of Courtney Lindsey (20.09s) and Kyree King (20.15s).

    Caribbean athletes Alexander Ogando (20.27s) of Dominican Republic and Ian Kerr (20.87s) of Bahamas, finished fifth and ninth respectively.

    Grant Holloway also continued his good knick with another world lead performance of 13.03s to win the men’s 110m hurdles, which was also swept by the Americans. Daniel Roberts (13.13s) and Freddie Crittenden (13.16s) were second and third, while Jamaica’s Olympic champion Hansle Parchment (13.28s) recovered from a horrible start to finish fourth.

    The women’s event was won by Frenchwoman Cyrena Samba-Mayela, who equalled her National Record of 12.52s. Her training partner Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (12.54s) of Puerto Rico and American Tonea Marshall (12.55s). Bahamian World Indoor champion Devynne Charlton (12.63s) and Jamaica’s World champion Danielle Williams (12.65s), were fourth and sixth respectively.