On an evening when lightning bolts filled the sky, when the crackle of thunder was echoing around Cali, a horde of young Jamaican women brought their own electrical storm to the Pascual Guerrero Stadium in Colombia, shattering the world U20 4x100m record in 42.59 scintillating seconds, reports World Athletics.
Along with their compatriot Brianna Lyston powering to 200m gold in 22.65 (0.0m/s), and teammate Alana Reid taking bronze, “it was proof — as if needed — that the future of women’s sprinting could reside in Kingston,” World Athletics said.
“It’s now 20 years since Usain Bolt announced his talent to the world at these championships when it was staged in the Jamaican capital, and it’s 14 years since Bolt first broke the men’s 100m world record in the wake of a lightning storm in New York,” it said.
“But here at the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22 on Friday, following an hour-long delay to the program due to a torrential downpour, four young women from the same nation followed in his giant footsteps,” it added.
Serena Cole, Tina Clayton, Kerrica Hill and Tia Clayton didn’t get the baton around with perfect execution — with Clayton almost running into the back of Hill at the second exchange — but when you sprint like they can, such things matter very little,” World Athletics continued.
It said the Jamaicans “obliterated their opposition,” coming home several metres clear of USA, who set a national U20 record of 43.28 in second, while Colombia delighted the home crowd by taking bronze in 43.28.
World Athletics said the previous record was the 42.94 Jamaica ran to win the world U20 title in Nairobi last year, while they also clocked 42.58 to win the CARIFTA Games title in April, which was not ratified as a world record due to all four team members not being drug tested the day of the race.
Earlier in the night, World Athletics said Lyston had shown her potential to be a senior star of Jamaican sprinting when flying to victory over 200m in 22.65 (0.0m/s), with USA’s Jayla Jamison taking silver in a PB of 22.77 and Jamaica’s Alana Reid taking bronze in a PB of 22.95.
Lyston, 18, had endured heartbreak at the last edition of these championships in Nairobi, where she was disqualified in the 200m final for a lane infringement, World Athletics said.
“It was really hard, I broke down after the race when I heard the news,” she said. “Since I stepped on the line, I tried my best in training not to do it again. I told myself I would come back, train hard, and accomplish this.”
She was the clear favourite for the 200m final, coming significantly ahead of the field on season’s bests, though her nerves weren’t helped by the delay in the program due to the thunderstorm, World Athletics said.
“When we were in the call room we were pretty nervous, we never had a delay this long, but we did our best to stay warm and keep our mental health intact,” said Lyston, who is coached by Corey Bennett at Hydel High School and whose role model in the sport is Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Lyston dedicated the victory to her mother.