Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Kelly's World | Where's the love for the Commonwealth Games?

Published:Monday | April 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Commonwealth Games 200m silver medallist Shericka Jackson is all smiles as she poses with the Jamaican flag after winning silver in the 200m final at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.

The Commonwealth Games came to an end in Gold Coast, Australia, on the weekend.

Due to my deadlines, I wouldn't have had the final count of Jamaica's medal tally, but I know that in terms of quality, we didn't do too badly.

In fact, we got first and second in the 110-metre hurdles and the women's triple jump all in the same night.

Aisha Praught won the women's steeplechase; no Jamaican had ever done that, and everybody's favourite 400-metre runner, Javon 'Donkey Man' Francis, made it to the podium.

We did quite well, certainly compared to the debacle (yea, I'm being a bit harsh, but that's how some people saw it) of the London World Championships last year.

The results from practically every one of the events we entered did nothing to raise the national morale in 2017.

Bolt lost to Drugstin Gatlin, then pulled up in the 4x100. Our new sprint darling Elaine Thompson didn't win gold, we didn't win any relays, and I could go on.

The point is, having a good showing at the Commonwealth Games down in beautiful Australia would be the perfect elixir for that bad stomach we felt last summer.

I think the athletes really delivered. But is it just me, or did it feel like nobody was even watching? I know we had coverage, but the 'hype' didn't seem to be there.

 

TIMEZONE

 

I suspect the time zone had much to do with it. Let's face it, Australia deh pan di odda side of the world, literally.

Being a mere 15 hours give or take ahead of Jamaica, it means that depending on the time of the event, we here in Jamrock might be catching some serious sleep while things are going on.

So that was one factor. But I honestly think the biggest reason is that it's the Commonwealth Games.

It simply does not get the same level of support as the Olympics, World Championships and the World Cup.

A good friend and colleague told me that sponsors didn't really take to the games, and thus journalists, at least from our end of the world, couldn't make the trip.

And like I said, it's Australia, so walking, taking the bus, or paddling in a little canoe to Gold Coast was out of the question.

Even our own star athletes haven't always competed at the Commonwealth Games.

But there's something else that Jamaicans might not want to admit. Our biggest competitors in the sprints, the US, don't participate in the Commonwealth Games.

So if they're not around, honestly, I think our big guns can't be bothered. The average Jamaican fan doesn't bother either, because with no US, there's no one to curse and ketch bad mind over.

Whether we like it or not, we use the American team to help gauge where we are.

But the next Commonwealth Games will be in Birmingham, and you know how we love England. Plus, in four years' time, the exciting crop of teens we have now will be (we hope) in prime shape. So maybe we'll really watch then.

Furthermore, England is just five hours ahead so it nuh so far. Later.

- Link me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com