The Jamaican athletes were marvels
Jamaican athletes led by that speed marvel Usain Bolt have burnt the
athletic track at the Bird's Nest at the Beijing Olympics 2008. Not only
have these wonderful athletes burnt the track, they have also re-written
the record books. For the Jamicans one of the several countries in the
Caribbean, these achievements are things that will be writ in letters of
gold and one's that they will remember for ever.
In the previous Olympics, track records were the exclusive preserve
of the Americans. But this time round the Americans have been made to
look ordinary with the Jamaican runners running away with most of the
track events and in the process setting up world records that will not
easily be broken. Like our man in the scene in Beijing Dinesh Weerawansa
very rightly described - the Jamaicans have bombed the American athletic
base. A better description would be hard to coin.
It is said that lightning does not strike twice in the same place.
But Usain Bolt who is tagged 'Lightnig Bolt', rubbished that belief by
striking twice in the same place - the track at the Bird's Nest in
First Bolt left the rest of the runners standing when he scorched to
victory in the 100 and 200 metres, then not satisfied with that he led
the Jamaican 4 x 100 relay team to victory and another world record.
The other members of relay team were Asafa Powell, Nick Carter and
Michael Frater. Like Bolt's 100 and 200 meters triumphs, this stunner by
the relay team was incredible and something to savour.
Bolt has been accused of being arrogant after his victories. But a
little bit of arrogance must be allowed him, because his arrogance did
not stem from pride, but it came by him not being able to control his
emotions. Then the girls who joined the Jamaican gold winning party were
Veronica Campbell Brown in the 4 x 100 relay, Melanie Walker 400 metre
hurdles and Shelly-Ann Fraser in the women's 100 metres.
The Caribbean, especially Jamaica would have gone wild and would have
celebrated for who knows how long. They deserve to celebrate because
what has happened in Beijing has never happened before in the history of
track and field in the Caribbean. The Jamaican athletes attribute their
success to the eating of lots of yams, greens, fresh air and chicken
nuggets. These foods have given them the strength, stamina and the
energy to explode into world record breaking athletes. Sprint running is
our heart and soul says Herb Elloit the Jamaican teams chief doctor.
Olivia Grange the Jamaican Minister has told Xinhua the Chinese news
agency that they eat healthy and good food, lots of yams, lots of
greens, lots of fishes, good Jamaican food and clean fresh air.
To know what led to the Jamaican success in Beijing I would recommend
my readers to read the article headlined - Lots of yams, greens, fresh
air and nuggets - appearing on page 25 in the Saturday 'Daily News',
from the Xinhua News Agency. During my two tours to the Caribbean with
the Sri Lankan cricketers I have experienced a little bit of their style
of celebration. My friends in the Caribbean Sarath de Silva, Janaka
Adhikari, Raja Pathirane, Suresh and Deepthi Abraham took me to these
celebrations which the Caribbean people call 'lime'. Their drinking
parties are called 'lime' and once they begin, it is one long session
right through the weekend.
The Caribbean people are very hospitable and fun loving and they will
go out of the way to make a visitor feel at home. Calypso is their main
item on their music menu with Bob Marley's reggae and Soco music not
being far behind. Our congratulations to the athletes who put the
Caribbean island into the record books and may they continue to dominate
future athletics so that they would be an example to the others to
follow and if possible equal and emulate.
China the hosts of the Olympic Games have also pushed aside the
Americans in the medal table and they richly deserve this. The Chinese
athletes too are very persevering and deserve their reward.
Even Great Britain have made their presence felt which is a good
thing for the sport.
Susanthika at track's end
For Sri Lanka's track queen Susanthika Jayasinghe the Beijing
Olympics signals the end of the athletic track for her.
It is said and accepted that all good things must come to an end. And
this saying rings true for Jayasinghe. While her track career lasted, it
was a wonderful run and she carried all before her and did herself and
the country proud, performing the impossible and the unbelievable.
At the age of 32 she did marvellous runs in the two heats of the
women's 200 metres to enter the semi-finals. To enter the first of the
semis was indeed creditable and that she could not last the pace, was
just one of those things and there was no way that she could have
After Duncan White who won a silver medal at the London Games in
1948, Jayasinghe did a miraculous run to win a bronze medal at the
Sydney Games. She also has a medal in the World Athletic Championships.
Facing the starter in the first semi-final of the women's 200 metres,
the village lass looked very confident, not showing any jitters. But
once the race got under way it was obvious that the sprint queen had
exhausted her best and that she was just making up the numbers. The mind
was willing but the body was refusing to respond. That's nature and
Jayasinghe can take heart from the fact that while it lasted, she made
every Sri Lankan where ever they may be proud to be Sri Lankans.
She has promised not to quit. But it is the end of her making her
presence felt in the big league. The authorities must not let her go
into the limbo of the forgotten. But do things for her so that she will
always be remembered. Her career was not a bed of roses. Events took
place that could have prematurely ended her career. But she rode all
that to be what she is. We say well done and thank you for the track
No team spirit
Like in life for any team to succeed there has to be team spirit and
team work. If they lack this, then it need not be predicted that doom
will be the end matter. The Interim Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket seems
to lacking in these vital ingredients. Sad when one thinks that they
have some of the best men appointed to run the game. Firstly it was the
unjust sacking of Samantha Algama, the media manager who upto that time
had done a job pleasing to all media people. Then the secretary K.
Mathivanan, who was the live wire and who was always available to answer
and clarify questions was asked to keep mum.
Then Sidath 'lord' Wettimuny was taken to task in a TV programme. A
cricket tour of England was confirmed without consulting the men who
matter - the cricketers. Now comes an insurance deal that has turned
sour with the Minister of Sport stepping in to nullify it.
Then the dancing Russian ladies who were eye catching in their acts,
were bowled out. Playing in two devout buddhist centres should have made
the Interim Committee understand that it had no place. The Rangiri
Dambulla Stadium and the former Khettarama Stadium, now the R. Premadasa
Stadium, are two temples areas sacred to all buddhists.
So it would do the authorities good if they launch a probe has to who
or how the Russian ladies were allowed to do their jig and bring
dishonour to the buddhists and their culture.
The sooner there is an elected body, the better it will be for the
administration, the game and the cricketers.