BUDAPEST, Hungary — A cloud of gloom covered the Jamaican team after an injury to five-time World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce during the final of the women’s 4x100m relays in which Jamaica got a silver medal in 41.21 seconds behind the Americans.
Fraser-Pryce, who had struggled with injuries all this season, which limited her to five 100m races, had won the bronze a week ago and was running the second leg of the relay.
The injury was not apparent to anyone in the stadium as she was taken off the track by medical personnel and it was later when she or the team did not show up in the mixed zone to speak to the media that members of the Jamaican media here learned of the mishap.
Jamaica added two more medals to their tally, a silver and a bronze, as the men’s 4x100m relay team placed third in their final in 37.76 seconds, the first time a Jamaican men’s relay team was won a global medal since 2016.
Jamaica, who are in fourth place in the medal charts with 11 overall — three gold, four silver, and four bronze — will seek to add more medals on Sunday’s final day of competition as they qualified in both 4x400m relays. Also, Lamara Distin will compete in the women’s high jump final and Adelle Tracey will run in the women’s 800m final.
The Jamaican relay coaches made two changes to the women’s team that ran the preliminaries the previous day, bringing in Natasha Morrison and 200m champion Shericka Jackson for Briana Williams and Elaine Thompson-Herah.
Despite her injury, Fraser-Pryce kept Jamaica in the contest, handing over to Shasalee Forbes who handed iover to Jackson just behind the USA team, but Jamaica failed to make any impact on the final leg.
Minutes earlier, the men’s team picked up a bronze medal after placing third behind the USA (37.38 seconds) as Noah Lyles won a third gold, while Italy was in 37.62 seconds.
It was the first global medal for all four men on the Jamaican team — Ackeem Blake, Oblique Seville, Ryiem Forde, and Rohan Watson.
Meanwhile, the mile-relay teams will be hoping to add to the medal tally on the last day after both won their semi-final heats with the women’s team running a world-leading 3:22.74 to be the top qualifier, while the men’s team that saw De’Andre Anderson coming in on the anchor leg at the last minute for Sean Bailey ran 2:59.82 seconds.
The team of Cherokee Young, Nickisha Pryce, Shiann Salmon, and Stacey-Ann Williams finished ahead of Canada (3:23.29), and the Netherlands (3:23.75), with the disqualification of the defending champions USA, could start as medal favourites.
Despite being forced into the late substitution of Bailey, who it was heard suffered a hamstring injury, the men’s team of Rusheen McDonald, Jevaughn Powell, Zandrion Barnes, and Anderson held on to win their race ahead of France (3:00.05) and Italy (3:0014).
With the expected addition of 400m champion Antonio Watson and possibly 400m hurdles finalist Roshawn Clarke, the Jamaican could challenge for a medal.
Paul A. Reid