The undisputed king of the track Usain Bolt and his queen Kasi Bennett have welcomed two new additions to the family.

Texas A&M’s Charokee Young plans to arrive at Jamaica’s national championships next week refreshed and ready to secure a spot on Jamaica’s team to the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

After spending the last seven years at St John’s and last season as an associate head coach, four-time Guyanese Olympian Aliann Pompey has been appointed head coach of the school’s Track and Field and Cross Country programme.

A pre-Olympic camp in Japan for Jamaican athletes participating in the Tokyo Olympics this summer that was being planned by the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), has been cancelled because of the spread of the Covid-19 virus, the JOA said today in a statement.

According to the JOA, the Tottori Prefectural Government stated that due to the spread of Covid-19, the Japanese Government is imposing strict measures on all local governments hosting pre-Games camps, which are unprecedented and treated as "abnormal circumstances."

The communication from Japan also stated that although the current COVID-19 situation in Tottori Prefecture is not as serious as in other regions, the increasing cases of highly infectious mutant variants and the ongoing state of emergency in Tokyo and in eight other prefectures are raising public sentiments nationwide, which has also increased concerns locally among citizens, healthcare providers and health authorities with regards to hosting the pre-Games camp.

Under the circumstances, the Prefectural Government has been compelled to conclude that it would be extremely difficult to hold a safe and secure camp for Jamaica's athletes as initially planned.

In light of the new measures and policy approach of the Japanese Government, the Prefectural Government was constrained to make new proposals that would make it practically impossible for the camp to take place as the revised timetable would have the delegation arriving practically at the same time as the scheduled opening of the Athletes' Village, which effectively defeat the objectives of holding the camp.

Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin, fresh from her silver medal performance in the high jump at last weekend’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships, is targeting the Olympic standard of 1.96m when she competes at the Jamaica National Championships beginning June 26.

Kemba Nelson has characterized her first season competing on the American collegiate circuit as ‘incredible’ after her fourth-place finish in the 100m at the NCAA Division I Outdoor season that concluded in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

Jamaica’s collegiate athletes experienced mixed fortunes over the final two days of the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships that concluded at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

Texas A&M’s Lamara Distin and Clemson’s Roje Stona were among the most successful and Baylor freshman Ackera Nugent experienced how unforgiving the scheduling can be.

Distin, who turned 21 in March, cleared a personal best of 1.90m to win the silver medal in the high jump completion. It took a personal best of 1.93m from South Carolina freshman to deny her the victory in the contest that Distin’s Texas A&M teammate Tyra Gittens finish third having cleared 1.87m.

On Friday, Stona threw a personal best of 61.94m to claim the silver medal for Clemson University. Turner Washington won the event with a throw of 63.42m. University of Virginia freshman Claudio Romero threw 61.36m for the bronze medal.

Ackera Nugent had a rough time of it Saturday because after finishing third in the 100m hurdles in a relatively modest 12.84, immediately she had to line up for the final of the 100m. She was still breathing heavily from the exertions of the hurdles race when they were called to their blocks in the 100m.

Unsurprisingly, she finished ninth in 11.37.

USC’s Anna Cockrell ran 12.58s to win sprint hurdles over Rayniah Jones, who ran 12.82.

North Carolina A&T’s Cambrea Sturgis won the 100m in 10.74 with the aid of a trailing wind of 2.2m/s. USC’s Twanisha Terry (10.79), Alabama’s Tamara Clark (10.88), were second and third, respectively.

Kemba Nelson, meanwhile, was fourth in 10.90.

Cockrell later won the 400m hurdles in a new personal best and collegiate-leading time of 54.68. Arizona’s Shannon Meisberger stormed by Virginia’s Andrenette Knight late to take the silver medal in 55.70 forcing the Jamaican, who ran 55.81, to settle for the bronze medal.

 Texas A&M freshman Charokee Young and Texas sophomore Stacey-Ann Williams were the two Jamaicans in the final of the 400m and finished fifth and sixth in 51.13 and 51.34, respectively. They, like everyone else, were no match for Young’s teammate Athing Mu, who ran a personal best 49.57 for victory.

Mu’s winning time was also a collegiate-leading, meet record and facility record.

Florida freshman Talitha Diggs ran a personal best 50.74 for the runner-up position while USC’s Kyra Constantine clocked a personal best 50.87 for the final podium spot.

Young and Mu would run splits of 49.7 and 48.8, respectively to lead Texas A&M to a record-shattering time of 3:22.34 to win the 4x400m relay. A&M’s season-best time was also a collegiate leading time as well as a meet record, facility record and championship record.

USC was second in a season-best 3:24.54 and UCLA was third in their season-best time of 3:25.01. The first eight teams across the line all ran season-best times.

Other than Stona, former Jamaica College athlete Phillip Lemonious was perhaps the best male performer for Jamaica. The Arkansas freshman ran a personal best 13.39 to take the bronze medal in the 110m hurdles that was won by Alabama’s Robert Dunning in 13.25.

Iowa’s Jaylan McConico ran 12.38 to edge out the Jamaican for the silver medal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six days after her 23rd birthday, Tyra Gittens gifted herself the heptathlon title on what was for her a bittersweet final day of the 2021 NCAA Division I Outdoor Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

In what she described as the hardest meet of her life, the Texas A&M junior topped the heptathlon high jump (1.84m), long jump (6.64) and 200m (23.79) on the way to her second-best score of 6285 points that was more than enough for victory but 135 points off the Olympic qualifying standard of 6420.

It was, however, 218 more of the University of Miami’s Michelle Atherley. The Miami senior, who was the fastest in the 100m hurdles (13.15), scored 6067 points for the silver medal. University of Texas freshman Kristine Blazevica scored 5984 points for the bronze medal.

Putting it simply, after three days of gruelling competition, Gittens just ran out of gas. She literally fell across the finish line to complete the heptathlon 800m in which she was 19th overall, scoring 707 points for her time of 2:28.88.

Her legs were sapped because after the long jump on Thursday in which she won a silver medal, Gittens then had four events in the heptathlon on Friday before completing the other three on Saturday even while contending for individual honours in the high jump.

She just managed to complete the high jump 10 minutes before competing in the heptathlon 800m, her final event of the meet.

The athlete, who has a season-best of 1.95m was only able to clear 1.87m, good enough for third place behind A&M teammate, Jamaica’s Lamara Distin, who cleared a personal best 1.90m to win the silver medal. The gold medal went to South Carolina freshman, Rachel Glenn, who cleared a personal-best 1.93m.

Gittens just missed out on long-jump gold on Thursday when she soared out to 6.68m, two centimetres shy of the winning mark of 6.70m by Texas sophomore Tara Davis.

 Jasmine Moore of Georgia jumped 6.65m for the bronze medal.

 

 

The very successful staging of the inaugural Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA)/Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) ‘Olympic Destiny’ track and field series has arrested the attention of the global sporting fraternity in a manner that has left experts shouting "bravo".

In a publication, World Athletics stated that the series is "aptly named JOA/JAAA ‘Olympic Destiny’. The Washington Post newspaper in the United States also had the event on its radar with a report on the explosive world-leading 10.63 performance of sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the 100 metres.

Performances during the series were also captured in traditional and new media entities worldwide.

Although only in its first year, ‘Olympic Destiny’ has already earned a reputation locally and internationally as a standard-bearer in track and field, which the JOA and its member association, the JAAA, intend to guard jealously.

Contemplating current health challenges and risks and looking to the future, President of the JOA, Christopher Samuda, in a post-event interview, stated that, "Olympic Destiny gave athletes a new and inspired lease on life amidst the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national senior trials will be the 'Olympic Verdict' as athletes vie for coveted places at the pinnacle multi-sport the Olympic Games”.

The description, ‘Olympic Verdict’, of the national senior trials, is on point as several events, including the 100m, 200m, 110m hurdles and the triple jump for both men and women, as well as the discus for men, are expected to be competitive and showstoppers.

Secretary-General and CEO of the JOA, Ryan Foster, in anticipating keen contests, remarked that "on D-day at the national senior trials, diplomacy will somewhat give way to assertive rivalry for at the end of it all there will be one verdict, which performances will deliver.”

This year's national senior trials between June 24 and 27 at the National Stadium is indeed the ‘Olympic Verdict’ as "emerging generations will meet experienced campaigners in a decider that will be healthy for the sport, thrilling for the fans and ensure succession," Foster said.

The jury will certainly not be out where the staging of future Destiny series is concerned as the JOA intends to roll out ‘Olympic Destiny’ in 2022 and beyond in athletics and other sports.

"Olympic Destiny is now a staple on the calendar as we have earmarked the summer and winter Games as dramatic watershed events of exciting times ahead of us,'' Samuda declared.

If the significant turnout of athletes and the notable performances are anything to go by, the ‘Olympic Destiny’ Series will become not only a local product of Olympism but an international asset.

 

Omar McLeod said he is having fun again as he once more signalled his intent to successfully defend his Olympic title with a world-leading 13.01, to win the 110-metres hurdles at the Diamond League meeting in Florence, Italy.

After three consecutive second-place finishes, Danniel Thomas-Dodd got her second win of the season when she threw a season-best 19.26m at the American Track League meet in Tennessee on Sunday.

It was her first win and first mark over 19m since she threw 19.17m on April 10 in Miramar, Florida. In her three, previous outings she had marks of 18.46m, 18.91m and 18.46, respectively. In Tennessee, she got the better of a quality field of athletes like Jessica Ramsay of the USA, who threw 18.78m.

Raven Saunders put 18.50m for third.

Fourth-place was taken by young Jamaican thrower Lloydricia Cameron, who managed a best effort of 17.57m.

Meanwhile, Christopher Taylor, also produced a season-best in the 400m, clocking 45.67 to finish behind Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas who cruised to victory in 45.06.  Quintaveon Poole was third in 45.92.

Leah Nugent also produced a season-best 55.34 while chasing World Championship silver medalist Sydney McLaughlin. The second-fastest woman of all time over the distance clocked a world-leading 52.83 in her first race in the event this season.

Sage Watson of Canada was third in 56.04. Sparkle McKnight of Trinidad and Tobago also ran a season-best 56.06 for fourth.

The USA’s Andre Hudson ran 10.27 to win the 100m dash in which Jevaughn Minzie finished fourth in 10.41.

Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Mohammed (10.32) and Canada’s Bismark Boateng (10.35) took the other podium spots.

 

Jamaica’s Ryan Brown won the long jump competition with an 8.04m leap at the USATF Showcase in Prairie View, Texas on Sunday. He was among several Jamaicans who made it to the podium.

Omar McLeod ran the second-fastest time in the world this year to win the 110m hurdles at the FDK Games in the Netherlands where Sifan Hassan, running before her countrymen and women, broke the 10,000 world record.

Elaine Thompson-Herah won both the 100 and 200m at the inaugural NACAC New Life Invitational in Miramar, Florida, on Saturday.

Despite once again re-writing the record books, Jamaica sprint queen Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce admits she was not expecting to clock such a fast time.

On Saturday, at the JAAA Destiny Series, in Kingston, Fraser-Pryce ran the fastest women’s 100m time since Florence Griffith-Joyner set the world record 33 years ago. 

The multiple-times Olympic and world champion stopped the clock at 10.63, moving her second on the list of the fastest times in history.  The time, which obliterated her previous national record of 10.70, is only bettered by Griffith-Joyner’s 10.49.

“I was just making sure that I had a good run before the National Championships, because I don’t have any more races before that.  I was just looking forward to putting in a solid race,” Fraser-Pryce said following the event.

“I was focused on getting my technique and everything together ahead of the national championship.  So, in terms of the 10.6, I really wasn’t expecting it to be honest and maybe that was a good thing,” she added.

Heading into her final Olympics, Fraser-Pryce had insisted that she would prioritise running fast times, having already won several gold medals.  The race was the athlete’s fourth over the distance this season, having opened with a fourth-place finish at the Diamond League meet in Gateshead.  In Doha last week, she recorded the then 3rd fastest 100m time this season after crossing the line first in 10.83.

 

 

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