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

By June 24, 2024

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.

With the big three seeming as vulnerable as ever, a number of contenders will fancy themselves to knock them off the podium at these championships and secure their spot on the team to the Paris Olympics.

Bradley Jacks

Bradley Jacks is a budding journalist and an avid sports fan. His love of research and sports has led him to SportsMax.tv, a place where those passions work hand in hand to allow him to produce content.

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