CaribWorldNews, April 28, 2008: It may have been the `bickle` or food provided by athletic support group, Team Jamaica Bickle, combined with of course the hundreds of flag waving Jamaican fans who packed the stadium at the University of Penn relays.
But whether it was a combination of both or just raw talent, Jamaican athletes managed to steal the thunder from America’s top stars at this past weekend`s athletic showdown in Philadelphia. Leading the pack were Jamaica’s Marvin Anderson, Michael Frater, Nesta Carter and Dwight Thomas, who took the win from the U.S.` 4×100-meter runners, including the X-man, Xavier Carter.
The Jamaicans grabbed the win in a time of 39.04 seconds, even though their team was without the help of the world`s fastest man, Asafa Powell, who pulled out following a muscle injury.
Cheers and screams greeted the runners, who bested the U.S. team to clinch the coveted win. The U.S. team of John Capel, Xavier Carter, Michael Rodgers, Shawn Crawford were second in a time of 39.14.
Trinidad & Tobago was third place in this race with Rondel Sorrillo, Keston Bledman, Jacey Harper and Darrell Brown running 39.33. Jamaica`s boys also took the win in the High School Boys 4×800-meter competition. Manchester`s Daren Lindsay, Jermaine Morris, Ajai Robinson and Alwayne Green grabbed the win in a time of 7:43.22 to edge out North Penn, who came in second at 7:44.39.
Calabar, Camperdown and St. George` all bagged the three top spots, respectively, in the 4×100-m High School Boys competition while Andre Peart was the 400-m hurdles champion
But it was not Jamaica`s boys only who shone. The team of Nadine Palmer, Aleen Bailey, Sonita Sutherland and Kenia Sinclair also left the U.S. women side in the dust by taking the win in the Sprint Medley USA vs. the World showdown.
The flag of T&T also shone with Queen’s Royal College of Port of Spain winning 4×100 Small Schools showdown. They bested Jamaica`s Holmwood Tech and the U.S.` Booker T High school of Virginia.
The wins were the icing on the cake for the thousands of Jamaicans in the Diaspora, who travelled to Philadelphia to cheer on their athletes. At one point, the U.S. crowd chanted, `U.S.A.,` while the Jamaican fan base retorted, `Jamaica,` in perfect unison.
But off the track and across the Blue Bridge, it was TJB that was scoring gold as sleep deprived volunteers helped cater meals and transportation to some 400 plus athletes and officials from Jamaica, who participated in the relays.
On Saturday, the tent was a hive of activity as dozens of officials joined TJB founder Irwine Clare and volunteers in paying tribute to the top runners. Among them were Jamaica`s new Ambassador to Washington, Anthony Johnson and former Consul General to NYC, Basil Bryan.
Four days of self-less service came to an end as sponsors, including Vinny Hosang of Caribbean Food Delight, packed up their trucks after serving Jamaican delicacies daily, and headed back to New York.
But etched in the memory of many remains the care, sacrifice and love that were donated by dozens to ensuring the athletes of Jamaica were given the care they needed to keep Jamaica`s flag flying higher still.