While Jamaicans at home have something to smile about as the country is sitting pretty at second in the medal table thanks to the efforts of our athletes in Qatar, the situation at the IAAF World Championships is quite different.
Qatar’s attempt to host a major event has been beset by setbacks that continue to overshadow the heroics of the men and women from around the world who have come to seek glory in track and field.
The latest is that the cameras that have been installed at the starting blocks have been criticised by athletes as being invasive, showing private areas to the millions of people watching around the world.
Two German female sprinters, who recently competed in the women’s 100m event, have complained about the cameras, prompting the authorities to restrict the images from the cameras for the rest of the championship.
This only adds to the fact that the Khalifa International Stadium continues to attract far fewer fans than initially projected. Surprisingly, the stadium was near empty during the women’s 100m final as Jamaican athlete Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce sprinted to claim her fourth gold in the event.
The heat has also been catastrophic, as a number of athletes have been facing the challenges associated with the scorching temperatures of the desert nation. The organisers have had to schedule outside events such as run walks in the night to try and beat the heat.
On the opening day of the women’s marathon, about 28 women dropped out of the race due to the overwhelming heat, and some had to be given medical attention.
It now puts into sharp focus the FIFA World Cup that is planned for 2022. It is expected that officials from FIFA will be watching the World Championships with increased scrutiny to ensure that the challenges that are evident now won’t recur at the World Cup.