SPORTS YEAR IN REVIEW 2019
This year has seen many great sporting moments for Jamaica. Without question, it has been one of the most memorable years in sports historically speaking. A year of immensely high positives saw our names being etched further in the hearts and minds of many individuals on the international stage. From Football to Track and Field to even Gymnastics, Jamaica experienced numerous highs in the sporting arena throughout 2019.
A top Jamaican sporting moment of 2019 happened recently, with Jamaican sprint legend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who, defying all odds, dominated the 100m event at the 2019 Doha World Championships. The 32-year-old ‘Pocket Rocket’ secured gold in the event, shocking everyone who thought she would not return to her best, after almost two years maternity leave. However, Shelly-Ann ran the 100m race in a fantastic time of 10.71s, sealing her legacy as an all-time great, while enlightening others about the possibility for women to have a child during their careers and return performing at an even better level.
Another major memorable moment of the year happened earlier in March, where the school from North Street finally got their hands on the Mortimer Geddes trophy after winning the Inter-Secondary Schools’ Association (ISSA) Boys Championships, ending a seven-year domination by Calabar High School. The victory was met with great euphoria from the entire Kingston College fraternity who had not seen their school win the competition in ten years. Throughout the championship, it was evident that KC was aiming for nothing less than victory. They dominated majority of the events, ending the final day with a total of 395.50 points, a cool 42 points ahead of Calabar.
The year 2019 will forever be synonymous with the remarkable accomplishment by the Reggae Girlz who historically qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that was held in France. The achievement came almost 21 years after the men qualified for their first world cup in 1998, which was held in the same country. Despite their many struggles en route to qualification, it was a testament to the Girlz and their coaching staff’s determination and professionalism in helping the island’s name to be forever engraved in international sports history. Women’s football has been notoriously underfunded in Jamaica, nevertheless the Girlz overcame these circumstances, making their qualification all the more remarkable. Despite not winning any of their group stage games, the Reggae Girlz were still able to record their first ever World Cup goal, scored by Havana Solaun.
Finally, the most heartwarming sporting moment of 2019 goes to Jamaican gymnast Danusia Francis who sprung into the hearts of many by qualifying for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The 25-year-old became the second Jamaican to qualify for gymnastics at the Olympics, with a breakthrough performance at the World Gymnastics Championships in Germany during October. She earned one of the top 20 automatic qualifying spots for the Tokyo Games. It was a fantastic accomplishment for the nation, as not much recognition is given to the sport of Gymnastics within our island. Having someone compete at the highest level on the international stage can only boast well for a country that continues to defy all odds
The year was filled with many ups and downs but in the world of sports, for Jamaica, it seemed like never ending blessings. One can only take pride in watching our nation excel well internationally and hope that measures can be put in place to ensure the continuation of such accomplishments continue. We can only wait to see what 2020 has in store.