Though accepting an apparent weakness of the men’s side, a few athletics experts have predicted a double-digit medal haul for Jamaica at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games now under way in Japan.
Veteran SportsMax broadcaster Lance Whittaker, who has covered a number of global athletics competitions, believes Jamaica could garner as many as 12 medals to equal the record tally attained in 2012 in London (four gold, five silver and three bronze); veteran journalist Earl Bailey, who has also covered numerous global athletics events, sees Jamaica bagging 11 medals, while senior sports journalist Paul Reid, who covered the London 2012 Olympics for this newspaper, is banking on between 12 to 14 medals.
Here’s Whittaker’s take: “The last three Olympics we had 11, 12 and 11 medals. I am suspecting that the numbers are going to be kind of similar. I’m looking at 12 medals for Jamaica at these Games. The least assured ones for me of the 12 that I have listed here Goule (Natoya) in the 800m women and Levy (Ronald) in the sprint hurdles (110m), but I think they have a shot at medals, so I have them included.
“The strength of the team is in the women’s sprinting, as you would expect. It’s really tremendous from 100, 200 and even the in the 400 with McPherson (Stephenie-Ann). The weakness is the men’s side relative to what we have had since Beijing. The men are really not up to par at the moment and I don’t see any medals for the men (on the track). Unfortunately for Fedrick Dacres, who would have been a medal contender for me, all things being equal, he’s had some injury issues so it’s kind of tight for him, so it makes our throwing strength that we had started to show a little bit hurt by that so I don’t have him medalling, but I actually have one, two, three for the women’s hundred. The problem with the 200 is that we are not sure what Miller-Uibo (Shaunae) is going to do because if she runs the 200, it will pretty certainly take something away from our possibilities there.
“I believe she is going to run the 200, so because Gabby Thomas, the American girl who ran 21.61, and I think Miller-Uibo is a sure medallist if she runs, that would leave us with just one medal in the women’s 200 and I’m not even sure who would get it — Thompson-Herah (Elaine), Fraser-Pryce (Shelly-Ann) or Jackson (Shericka). All of them could win a medal.
“I have McPherson medalling in the 400, Shanieka Ricketts medalling in the triple jump, medals too for the women’s sprint relay and 4×400. Tajay Gayle in the long jump and mixed relay should medal as well.