MONTEGO BAY, St James — Maurice Wilson had not seen the women’s 100m hurdles final at the 8th IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine on Thursday as a power cut had knocked out electricity to his house. He missed his latest protégé’s biggest moment as Yanique Thompson became the first woman to go below 13.00 seconds on her way to a historic gold for Jamaica.
Thompson ran 12.94 seconds to win Jamaica’s first-ever gold medal in the event at this level to kick-start Jamaica’s medal quest at the biennial championships.
“This is the result of hard work.” Wilson told the Jamaica Observer, while describing the 16-year-old as “a big-time performer, who “rises to the occasion every time”.
Wilson, who stepped down from the head coaching job at Holmwood Technical earlier this year, said after watching Thompson clock 13.10 seconds in the semi-finals, he knew the 13:08 seconds set in 1999 by France’s Adrianna Lamalle was history.
The man, who has led the Jamaican coaching staff to the last two senior global championships, said his attention had been split between the World University Games in Kazan, Russia and the WYC as he has athletes in both championships. Thompson said he had “thought of the first sub-13.00 seconds run” being a possibility and described his feeling as “extremely happy”.
After Anneisha McLaughlin’s 200m gold medal at the 2003 WYC in Canada, Wilson described yesterday’s gold as “this is my elusive gold medal as it came outside the traditional sprint events that we dominate”.
He praised the help he gets from GC Foster Sports College and the assistance from the principal, Edward Shakes, who he said has played a big part in the success of Holmwood athletes over the past two years.
He said GC Foster had allowed him to continue preparing his athletes there and that has helped in a big way to get them ready for international competition.
“Lots of people don’t understand how much it costs to prepare these athletes for this level of competition and most of them can’t afford even the basic transport and food costs, they are not professionals,” he said.
GC Foster, he said, allowed him to hold mini camps at the Angels, St Catherine campus. “They are accommodated there and eat there and that helps them to concentrate on training and improving their techniques,” he said.
Without this help, he noted, most of the athletes would get frustrated.
Wilson said the help from GC Foster led directly to success by athletes such as Janieve Russell, who won the World Junior Championships 400m hurdles last year in Barcelona, Spain; and Chris-Ann Gordon, who won the Pan-American Junior Championships 400m in Miramar, Florida in 2011.