The 2023 World Athletics Championships have come to an end after nine days of thrilling competition in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. More than 2,000 competitors from over 200 countries participated, with a good proportion coming from the Caribbean region.
These included athletes from: Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; British Virgin Islands; Cayman Islands; Cuba; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guyana; Haiti; Jamaica; Puerto Rico; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands and the US Virgin Islands.
Cubans first on the podium
The first medals for a Caribbean nation arrived on Day three of competition when the Cuban pair of Lázaro Martínez and Cristian Nápoles took silver and bronze in the Men’s Triple Jump, with just 1cm separating them. Hugues Fabrice Zango of Burkina Faso took gold giving the West African country its first global athletics title.
Jamaicans sprint for success
Soon after Hansle Parchment grabbed silver for Jamaica in the Men’s 110m Hurdles. This was his second silver at a World Championship after claiming the runners-up spot in Beijing, 2015.
That race was a prelude to a wonderful Women’s 100m final where the Jamaican pair of Shericka Jackson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce were edged out and into the minor medals, by a sensational run in the outside lane by Sha ‘Carrie Richardson of the US.
Quick fire firsts for Caribbean’s
The next medals for the region went to Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic who won gold in the Women’s 400m and in so doing became the first woman from the country to win an individual world title, with Sada Williams of Barbados clinching bronze.
The men’s 400m Hurdles followed and it brought a historic silver to Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands who became the first athlete from the overseas territory to secure a medal at an outdoor global athletics championship.
Agony and ecstasy
There was agony and ecstasy for Jamaican athletes on Day six. First in the Men’s Long Jump, Olympic Champion Miltiadis Tentoglou of Greece, overhauled Wayne Pinnock and Tajay Gayle who had to settle for silver and bronze medals, respectively. Their teammate Carey McLeod was agonisingly close to a medal finishing in fourth.
However, there was joy in the 100m Women’s Hurdles when Danielle Williams sprung something of a surprise when she narrowly pipped Puerto Rican Jasmine Camacho-Quinn to the gold medal. Her victory coming eight years after her 2015 success in Beijing.
There was more elation in the Men’s 400m when Antonio Watson timed his run to perfection to storm past Matthew Hudson-Smith of Great Britain and make it a Jamaican double gold evening.
Bronze medals keep the total ticking over
Another Jamaican Rushell Clayton landed the bronze in the Women’s 400m Hurdles, in a race dominated by brilliant Dutch runner Femke Bol.
There was another bronze for a Cuban athlete when Leyanis Pérez Hernandez finished ahead of Shanieka Ricketts whose seasons best leap was not quite enough to get her on to the Triple Jump podium.
Wonderful demonstration of sprinting
Possibly the most impressive win of the whole championships was delivered by Shericka Jackson in the Women’s 200m. She obliterated a star-studded field in a fabulous display of sprinting power, shattering her own championships record in the process.
Lindon Victor’s National Record of 8,756 points was enough to give him Decathlon bronze. The Grenadian had finished day one out of the medals but a strong second half powered him into third place.
Bravery grabs silver reward
Jamaica were back in the medals on the penultimate evening of the championships in the sprint relays. The men’s quartet of Ackeem Blake, Oblique Seville, Ryiem Forde and Rohan Watson came in third behind the US and Italy, when they beat Great Britain on the dip for the line.
The Women’s 4x100m team also just pipped the Great Britain team, but this time they both claimed medals, with Natasha Morrison, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shashalee Forbes and Shericka Jackson picking up a silver, behind the impressive US team.
This will have to claim the tag for gutsiest medal for the Caribbean region as Fraser-Pryce running the second leg she immediately suffered a hamstring strain but risking even greater injury, still managed to get the baton to Forbes which enabled the team to complete the relay in second spot.
It was reward for her courage and dedication to her sport which has seen her now claim 16 medals, making her Jamaica’s most decorated athlete in the forty years of the World Championships, male or female.
Mixed fortunes in relays
As the excellently run Budapest tournament came to a close the Jamaicans were strongly fancied to challenge in both the men’s and women’s 4x400m relays. Unfortunately despite having individual champion Antonio Watson on the final leg, he was unable to get past Great Britain’s Rio Mitcham who held on for the bronze. The US had powered to the gold, with the French claiming an unexpected silver.
The women’s race would however prove to be a fitting and thrilling finale to a terrific championships. Jamaica looked set to clinch the final track gold after Candice McLeod, Janieve Russell, and Nickisha Pryce had put the team into a clear lead and coming into the last 100m Stacey-Ann Williams was still well ahead, although Britain’s Nicole Yeargin was closing, but both athletes would be eclipsed by the fast finishing individual 400m Hurdles winner Femke Bol for the Netherlands, who snatched the gold right on the line. Nevertheless, Jamaica held on for the silver to conclude a very successful championships for the country.
Jamaicans lead the way for the Caribbean
That medal was Jamaica’s fifth silver and 12th medal in total, to go with their three golds and four bronzes, enabling them to finish a wonderful fourth in the final medals table.
All together there were 20 medals won by the Caribbean region, which represents a productive and encouraging championship.