Gold Coast - As
sprint legend Usain Bolt partied into the early hours and hung out with
movie stars at the Commonwealth Games, it wasn't so much fun for the
Jamaica track team he left behind.
At their first major competition since Bolt retired after a decade of
dominance, the Jamaican juggernaut caught a flat on the Gold Coast,
failing to win a single sprinting gold medal.
Yohan Blake's flop in the men's 100 metres set the tone as Jamaica's
confidence was immediately dented by South African Akani Simbine.
Blake, who picked up a world title in 2011 after Bolt false-started,
could only finish third behind Simbine's countryman Henricho Bruintjies
after a calamitous start.
To add insult to injury, double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson
failed to win a medal in the women's 200m as Shaunae Miller-Uibo romped
to victory for the Bahamas.
And with Trinidad and Tobago's Jereem Richards capturing gold in the
men's 200m and countrywoman Michelle-Lee Ahye an upset winner of the
women's 100m, Jamaica's Caribbean rivals enjoyed their days in the sun.
Jamaica's Olympic chief insisted that there was no crisis, pointing to a new generation of sprinters coming through.
"It was a perfectly creditable performance," Christopher Samuda told AFP.
"Jamaican athletes usually peak in June or July.
"Usain Bolt had a very big influence but we have a wealth of talent
and the future for Jamaican sprinting is in very good hands."
But after the Jamaican men's 4x100m relay team were crushed by
England to take third behind South Africa in a sorry title defence, Bolt
took to social media to question whether he had retired too soon.
"Watching the relay just now made me ask myself a few questions,"
tweeted the eight-time Olympic champion, who watched part of the
athletics with Hollywood heart-throb Chris Hemsworth.
Blake insisted he would bounce back this season.
"I was in record-breaking shape, and I'm still in that," he said.
were dominating worldwide, and my coach is working to get me back to
that level so I can dominate again."
While Jamaica appeared to have lost the fear factor, Blake dismissed the threat to their recent sprinting dominance.
"It's not that they're getting better," he said.
"It's that we're not performing."
England's sprinters stormed to a golden double in the 4x100 metres
relays, boding well for the British at the European championships in
Zharnel Hughes, stripped of gold in the 200m for impeding Richards,
could be one to watch in Berlin after showing impressive speed in
South Africa's Caster Semenya completed a middle-distance double as
rival athletes continued to grumble about whether or not she should be
allowed to compete.
But with her future still clouded by controversy, Semenya - who
identifies as a woman but has unusually elevated testosterone levels -
revealed she could be tempted to step up from the 800 and 1 500 metres
and tackle longer distances.
The track and field threw up its fair share of feel-good stories -
from Neeraj Chopra, the farmer's son who won a historic javelin gold for
India, to Levern Spencer, who captured the women's high jump title to
give Saint Lucia their first Commonwealth title in any sport.
But for Jamaica, life after Bolt began with a jolt - one that could ultimately change the landscape of world sprinting.