Jamaica’s sprinter Shericka Jackson who claimed Bronze in the all Jamaican 100m medal harvest few days back, shocked many as she practically gave away an opportunity to feature in the semifials of the 200m event and by implication in the finals after jogging to finish line.
Jackson was cruising into the semi-final in second place, but ended up finishing fourth as she was pipped at the line by two of her rivals after easing up for the final few metres.
Had she finished strongly, Jackson would have undoubtedly advanced. She had been hotly tipped to challenge for a medal in the 200m, but has fallen at the first hurdle after a costly error in judgement.
Her strange decision to let up at the line was met with fierce criticism as fans strongly criticised her action.Even contenders who overtook her in the finishing seconds must have wondered what informed her decision to slow down at such a critical moment.
Former runner Steve Cram said on the BBC: ‘Shericka Jackson was almost just jogging round – what on earth? Why take such risks? I’m sorry to sound exasperated but I am, on her behalf, on her coach’s behalf and her team-mates. It’s just not necessary.’
Two-time former world champion hurdler Colin Jackson added: ‘She looked at the starting list and thought “oh, I’ll get through this quite comfortably”. But one of the things you don’t do is slow up – you run from the gun to the tape.
‘She made a mistake, it’s a costly one. The fans are going to miss an incredible race with her not being in it – she’s one of the fastest 200m runners in the world.
‘Craziness, just crazy. It’s really lazy performance. As a coach, I don’t think I could talk to my athlete for weeks if they did that.’
Jackson, running in lane two, looked to be comfortably in the top three automatic qualifying slots in the fifth heat after coming into the straight.
However, potentially to try to conserve energy, the sprinter started jogging with plenty of track still yet to cover.
Rather than look to her right to check on the positions of her competitors, Jackson carelessly seemed to be unaware of their presence and even seemed to lean back as she approached the line.
She was then pipped to the line by Italy’s Dalia Kaddari and did not make it through as a fastest loser.
Jamaican sprint coach Stephen Francis reflected that Jackson ‘misread’ the situation and that her inexperience at 200m level proved costly. perhaps the lesson to learn and the rule of engagement is and should be “Never Never jog to the finish line”
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