Lining up for Olympic 100m was dream come true for Antigua's Lloyd

By Jherard Morris-Sealy August 04, 2021

Many athletes have expressed their joy after competing at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. They have done so through their social media pages and interviews.

 Antigua’s Joella Lloyd is one such athlete. She competed in the women’s 100 metres where she comfortably won heat 3 of the preliminary round in a time of 11.55 seconds. She then went on to finish 7th in heat1 with a slightly improved time of 11.54 seconds. That heat was won by the USA’s Teahna Daniels while Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith came second and Murielle Ahoure from the Ivory Coast finished third.

 Via her Instagram account, she posted a photo of herself waving at the start of her race with the caption, “Walking out and lining up for the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics was everything I dreamt it would be.”

 She then expressed gratitude to all those who supported her throughout the season.

 The caption ended, “All the love and encouragement has not gone unnoticed and I’m extremely grateful for it. It was a pleasure representing Antigua and the Vols on the big stage. Antigua, I love y’all plenty plenty and we’ll be back at it next year!”    

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    Jamaican Olympian Ian Weakly will be among fellow Olympians Brigitte Foster Hylton, Winthrop Graham, and Debbie Byfield-Russell, to be honoured at a prestigious ceremony hosted by the Olympians Association of Jamaica and Friends of Jamaica Track & Field in association with the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) at the Alhambra Inn in Kingston on Tuesday night. The event also recognizes the contributions of esteemed administrators Irwin Clare, Garth Gayle, Winston Harvey, Dennis May, and Ewan Scott.

    Speaking with Sportsmax.TV, an emotional Weakly expressed his gratitude for the recognition, reflecting on his journey from a small community in Montego Bay to the global stage. “I feel very honored to be recognized among my fellow Olympians and friends for accomplishments on and off the track. As you might know, my career started in a small community in Montego Bay, St. James, at Barnett Oval. I took part in cricket and football but found success in track and field at St. Elizabeth Technical High School," said Weakly.

    Weakly's illustrious 15-year career saw him compete in two Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games, and two World Championships. His notable achievements include winning the 400m hurdles at the Jamaican Athletics Championships in 2001 and achieving his personal best time of 48.55 seconds at the 2003 Trikala Super Grand Prix in Athens, Greece.

    Reflecting on his early years, Weakly shared how his passion for track and field began. "I discovered my love for track and field in high school, where I also played football and soccer as a captain and goalkeeper, respectively. My career truly took off in 1992 when I switched to the 400m hurdles, leading to victories at the Carifta Games, a silver medal at the World Junior Championship in Korea, and a bronze at the Pan American Games in Canada," he reminisced.

    After graduating from George Mason University in 1996, where he secured the NCAA Indoor Team title, Weakly joined Jamaica’s national team. He went on to secure numerous accolades, including second place in the 4x400m relay at the 2001 Goodwill Games in Brisbane, third place in the 2002 Commonwealth Games, and second place at the Monaco World Athletics finals.

    Since retiring in 2008, Weakly has pursued a successful career in real estate and remains active in his community. He is an avid gardener and finds solace in his connection with nature. He also enjoys running, hiking, and biking. A dedicated community volunteer, Weakly gives back through his membership with the Rotary Club and has spearheaded humanitarian projects in Jamaica, such as providing potable water to a primary school in Dumfries.

    Currently, Weakly serves as a World Athletics Athlete representative and manages Jamaican athletes Danniel Thomas-Dodd and Rajindra Campbell. He emphasized his commitment to continuing his service to the community and promoting the Olympic spirit. "I will continue to serve my community and local schools in Jamaica, and trust that Heavenly Father will be proud of my work on earth. It brings great joy again to be recognized by my fellow Olympians. I continue to share the Olympic spirit to build a peaceful and better world in the Olympic spirit which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity, and fair play," he said.

    Clare, who is unable to attend Tuesday night’s event due to prior commitments, also expressed his gratitude at being recognized for the work he has done with Team Jamaica Bickle, a non-profit that provides support to Caribbean athletes who are participating at the annual Penn Relays at Franklin Field in Philadelphia in the United States.

    “Recognition from organizations like this fills my day. I was truly moved by that recognition. It is an awesome group, kudos to them because they are truly trailblazers, continued ambassadors, reminding people of the type of hard work and discipline you have to put into the craft and that there is life also after track.”

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Organizing Committee Chairman expects this year’s National Championships to be “best ever” Organizing Committee Chairman expects this year’s National Championships to be “best ever”

    Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the JAAA National Senior and Junior Championships, Ludlow Watts, expects this year’s edition of the championships to be the “best ever” in terms of competitiveness.

    This year’s championships are set to get underway on Thursday, June 27 at the National Stadium in Kingston and run until Sunday, June 30.

    According to Watts, over 680 athletes in both the junior and senior categories have entered ahead of Thursday’s start.

    The days, start times and end times (Jamaica time) are as follows:

    Thursday, June 27 9:00am-8:45pm, Friday, June 28 9:30am-9:58pm, Saturday, June 29 9:48am-7:45pm, Sunday, June 30 10:01am-8:05pm.

    The opening ceremony will be held at 6:00pm on Friday.

    “We expect to have tremendous support,” Watts said at a press conference on Monday hosted by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).

    He also acknowledged concerns fans may have about a number of Jamaica’s top athletes ahead of the meet but noted that, as of now, nobody of note has pulled out.

    “A number of people have been having concerns about some of our star athletes. We are not aware of any withdrawals as yet,” he said.

    “People must try not to miss these championships because they will probably be the best ever in terms of competitiveness. A number of young stars are emerging and I think it makes it interesting,” Watts added.

     Among the events expected to be the most competitive are the men's and women's 100m finals. On the men's side, while Oblique Seville is the only Jamaican to run below 10 seconds this year with his 9.82 at the Racers Grand Prix, 18 Jamaican men have already run faster than 10.20 this season heading into the championships.

    The women's side is also expected to be more competitive than it's been in a long time due to some questions about the readiness of Jamaica's big three- Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah- coming into the championships.

    Fraser-Pryce is coming off a knee procedure and made her season debut just nine days ago at the JAAA Olympic French Foray with 11.15. Jackson has looked far from her best so far this season. She has had a pair of wins on the Diamond league circuit in the 200m with times of 22.82 in Marrakech and 22.69 in Stockholm as well as a fifth place finish in 22.97 in Oslo. In her only 100m of the season, Jackson ran 11.03 at the JAAA All Comers meet on May 4.

    Thompson-Herah, the reigning double Olympic champion, is the biggest question mark coming into the championships. In her two races this season, she has finished last both times with 11.30 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene and 11.48 at the USATF New York Grand Prix. After the race in New York, sha had to be carried off the track with an Achilles injury, the same injury that hampered her 2023 season as well.

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    JAAA Vice President Ian Forbes cited a lack of competition as a key factor in the previous failure but expressed optimism about the upcoming attempt. "We have been looking at the possibility of staging a race at our championships and I am happy to report that there will be a 4x400m race at the national championships to facilitate qualification," Forbes announced at a press conference on Monday.

    JAAA Vice President Ian Forbes

    Forbes elaborated on the necessary conditions for the race to be considered a legitimate qualifier. "For the record, at least two countries must be present in the race for it to be ratified as a bona fide race and will count towards qualification," he explained. “I am happy to report that Jamaica will be represented and we have a team from St Vincent and the Grenadines. Jamaica’s representation will not be only one team, we’ll have a number of teams and we are also working on another country and an international team as well.”

    In anticipation of the relay, the championship schedule has been adjusted to give the 400m runners the best chance to achieve the qualifying time while ensuring their safety. "We have consulted with stakeholders, athletes, coaches, agents; and we would have had at least two meetings, heard recommendations and we can now confirm that race will be run the final day of the championships, the 30th of June at 8:05 pm at the national stadium," Forbes stated.

    To prevent overburdening the athletes, the schedule has been crafted meticulously. "On Thursday, the 27th at 10 am, there will be a preliminary round for some of the athletes in the 400m. So the top-ranked 16 athletes will be advanced to the semi-finals," said Forbes. “The remaining athletes will compete in the preliminary round at 10 am on Thursday morning. From those preliminaries, the top eight will join the 16 and be placed in one of three semi-finals which will be run at 6:50 pm on Thursday.

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    Forbes continued: “Initially, the final was set for Saturday. Their (athletes) health, safety and well-being must be at the forefront of everything so they will be resting on Saturday and I am happy to announce that the JAAA will be assisting in their recovery in respect to equipment, technology to help them recover and be fresh for the race on Sunday.”

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    As the final day of the championships approaches, the Jamaican team and its supporters remain hopeful that this last attempt will secure their place in the 4x400m relay at the Paris Olympics, continuing the nation's rich tradition in the event.

     

     

     

     

     

     

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