When Shelly -Ann Fraser Pryce blitzed the 100m last Saturday at 9.15 a.m.ish to obliterate the national record in a pulsating 10.63 it shook the foundations of athletics. In becoming the 2nd fastest woman of 100m ever Fraser-Pryce did something on Jamaican soil that few expected but she had been hinting a possible sub 10.7 mark as one of her goals this year – and you know when Shelly-Ann sets her goals.
But in creating such a jaw dropping landmark Fraser-Pryce may have just have delivered the greatest sporting moment on Jamaican soil of which they have been many over the years.
My own top ten sporting moments that took place in Jamaica land-we-love in no particular order would be:
- (Cricket) February/March 1958 at Sabina Park – Gary Sobers scored 365 runs to break the world batting test record for an individual score. https://cricketcrowd.com/displayvideo.php?ccvideo=8307&ccdesc=1958+3rd+Test%3A+Sobers+smashes+365+against+Pakistan
- (Boxing) January 1973 at the National Stadium – George Foreman’s annihilating then undefeated and seemingly unstoppable world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier. Probably the biggest sporting event ever held in Jamaica.
- (Athletics) May 1975 at the National Stadium – Filbert Bayi (Tanzania) broke Jim Ryun’s 1967 mile world record at the National Stadium
- (Cricket) April 1976 at Sabina Park – India lost to a West Indies team that unleashed a 4-man fast bowling attack that caused havoc. The Indian team failed to bat out both innings due to injuries and fear of injury. It was the turning point for West Indies cricket and began an era of dominance across the globe. Just a shame the public TV broadcaster – JBC – never kept the tapes.
- (Cricket) February 1972 at Sabina Park – Lawrence “Yagga” Rowe (West Indies) scoring a double century (214) and a century (100 not out) on his test debut against New Zealand. Rowe had achieved legendary status at regional cricket and after what he did on his debut Yagga became a hero to those including Vivian Richards. The are some in Jamaica who would wish for Rowe’s existence to be erased for his sojourn to apartheid South Africa but no one can take away Yagga’s blazing start to his test career.
- (Athletics) 2002 at the National Stadium – Usain Bolt winning the World Juniors 200m. Bolt in his own words summed up that moment.
- (Cricket) April 1981 at Sabina Park – England’s opening batsman Graham Gooch slapped 153 runs against the fearsome bowling of Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshall at a strike rate of 72%. It was brutal batting by Gooch with that heavy bat of his.
- (Cricket) March 1935 at Sabina Park – George Headley’s 8 hour marathon score of 270 against England played a crucial part in part in the West Indies winning their first ever test series.
- (Netball) March 2002 at the National Stadium – Jamaica 46 – New Zealand 44 The Sunshine Girls first ever win over the perennial world champion – the Silver Ferns – was a major shock. For decades Jamaica has been ranked in the world’s top 4 on a consistent basis but had never beaten New Zealand.
- And Shelly-Ann last weekend. But no spectators were allowed for lockdown reasons.
My own personal favourite was Bayi’s performance as there is something captivating about any front running middle distance athlete who sets their own pace and breaks a world record in the process at the most unlikeliest of venues.
No surprise if the above top ten is revised before the end of June as Shelly-Ann, Elaine Thompson, Briana Williams, Kemba Nelson and other world class female sprinters will be lining up for the women’s 100m (and possibly 200m) at the Olympic trials. Because one thing we learnt for sure from last weekend’s buzz was that 10.5secs for 100m on local soil looks possible.
Plus, we could see at least 4 Jamaican female sprinters dip under 10.9 seconds in the same race should conditions allow.
But to the government, follow the example set by other nations and allow even some of the public medical staff to attend the Olympic trials. Those staff deserve a special day out and Shelly-Ann and co merit even a few fans in the stadium to watch more sparks fly.