Akeem Bloomfield and Nathon Allen running sub 44 legs (43.4 and 43.77 respectively) at 2018 Penn Relays say a lot about Jamaica quarter mile crop and 2019 world championship prospects.
For years we have been seeing high 44’s and low 45’s as the standard to make the Jamaica 4x400m national squad. Now with Bloomfield and Allen on the cusp of sub-44, Javon Francis, 44.5 and Demish Gaye 44.55, the making of a champion 4x400m team is in place.
The trifecta of Bloomfield, Allen, and Francis has run in 43 seconds range relay leg. At least two if not three Jamaicans might end up in the 400m individual final. The problem will be to find replacements to rest two so that they will have enough energy to run at their optimum in the 4x400m final. In 2016 when Allen and Gaye were rested Jamaica did not reach the 4x400m final. Unfortunately, their replacement (s) was not adequate enough.
This time around things looks completely different. For the first time, Jamaica has three legitimate 45 runners in their high school program. Once World Youth champion Christopher Taylor ran in that range many times and twice this season. He even gave his school (Calabar) a 44.84 leg on their way to a high school record mark of 3:03:67.
Also on that record 4x400m high school team is Anthony Carpenter, a 45.47 at the Jamaica High School Championship. Dashawn Morris of Kingston College (KC) 45.09 win over Carpenter has been vastly improving year by year. So, there are more in the senior rank who should be able to run in the 44 seconds race.
The future seems bright with all the low 46 seconds high school quarter-milers to go with the three 45 seconds kids.
Jamaica has what it takes to be 2019 mile relay World champion
Anyway, next year we will be saying the future is now. The main competitors for that 4x400m gold will be the USA, Botswana, Trinidad & Tobago and the Bahamas.
In all honesty, I strongly believe the US will give the most challenge so I will place more focus on them than the rest. They have a long and glorious history of 4x400m dominance and always the team to beat.
Currently, they have a great batch of young quarter-milers. Michael Norman, Fred Kerley, and the two Lyles brothers come to mind. What shape will Merritt be in next year to make their team more formidable is anyone’s guess? One thing they consistently have is depth.
Having depth is important because this allows a team to rest their two best runners or runners suffering from fatigue during the semi-final and have them fresh for the final. Jamaica and Bahamas experienced the cost of lacking in adequate replacement in the 2017 world championship. Both missed out of the final because their bests were suffering from fatigue and needed rest before the final.
Trinidad core of quarter-milers with Machel Cedeno getting over his injury and Deon Lendore finding his college form will be as formidable as they were. Botswana with Isaac Makwala and their young group of Baboloki Thebe and Karabo Sibanda should be a team to contend. Also, the Bahamas with its young core led by Steven Gardiner should mature by 2019.
However, barring injuries, Jamaica might for the first time since the 1952 Helsinki summer Olympics produce a 4x400m champion on the senior world stage.
This won’t be an easy feat by any stretch of the imagination but the foundation and building blocks are there to make it highly probable.
**The views expressed in this article are those of the author (Robert Taylor) and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, TrackAlerts.Com