Olympic bronze medalist Kirani James was an impressive winner in the 400m at the Memorial Borisa Hanzekovia 2021 Meeting in Zagreb on Tuesday when Shanieka Ricketts ended her season with a meet record effort in the triple jump.

James won in commanding fashion clocking a meet record 44.46. Looking fresh and fast even as his season winds down, James was more than a half-second faster than Botswana’s Isaac Makwala, who faded down the stretch to clock 45.15.

Italy’s Edoardo Scotti ran 45.30 for third.

Ricketts, meanwhile, closed her season with a meet record of 14.77m to win the triple jump ahead of Nesa Filipic, who jumped 14.31m for second place. Senni Salminen was third with 14.24m.

Once again, Shericka Jackson had to settle for the runner-up spot in a race with Christine Mboma of Namibia. The teenager ran a meet record of 22.04 pulling away from Jackson, who ran 22.30. Athonique Strachan of the Bahamas ran third in 23.05.

Similarly, Ronald Levy played second fiddle to the USA’s Devon Allen in the 110m hurdles. Allen ran a personal best of 12.99 in what was an unexpectedly comfortable win ahead of the Olympic bronze medalist who ran 13.10 for second place whole Hansle Parchment, the Olympic gold medalist was third in 13.12.

Janieve Russell ran 55.45 for third in the 400m hurdles race won by Panama’s Gianna Woodruff in 54.67. Anna Ryzhykova was second in 54.87.

Marvin Bracy had another impressive win in the 100m clocking 9.86 while pulling away from Ronnie Baker (9.97) and Trayvon Bromell (10.03). Julian Forte ran 10.20 for fifth.

Shadae Lawrence ended her season with a third-place finish in the discus with a throw of 60.80m. Olympic champion, the USA’s Valarie Allman throw 69.63m for the win over Sandra Perkovic (66.48m).

 

Jamaica’s Shadae Lawrence expressed satisfaction with her performance, despite not making it to the medal podium in the final of the Women’s Discus on Monday.

Lawrence made history by becoming the first-ever Jamaican woman to make an Olympic discus final.

She threw a distance of 62.27 metres in group A of the qualifying round to finish third and advance to the final. During the final, Lawrence fell just below her qualifying mark to throw 62.12 metres. That throw landed her a top-eight spot as she finished 7th.

The 25-year-old took to Instagram to share her gratitude and emotion. She posted a photo of her in the throwing circle along with a caption saying, “I want to thank God for bringing me this far. The journey was rough but he didn’t give me more than I could bear. The aim for this season was to make a top 8 finish at the Olympic Games. On the journey I found out I could do much more. A 7th place finish is what I’m blessed with and I am grateful”.

The second time Olympian went on to thank her coach, Julian Robison, whom she said believed in her from the start and never doubted her talent. She also thanked the University of South Florida where she attends school, for their support along her journey. Lawrence ended her caption by thanking her family for their support over the years and sent a special shout-out to her sister and mother.

The women’s discus was won by the USA’s Valarie Allman with a throw of 68.98. Silver went to Germany’s Kristen Pudenz and Cuba’s Yaime Perez gained bronze.

 

 

  

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.

Shadae Lawrence’s second-place finish in the discus at the USATF Throws Fest in Arizona on Saturday was the second time she had lost in competition this season but it was perhaps her most significant achievement.

It took a world-leading throw of 70.22m from Dutchwoman Jorinde van Klinken to defeat the 25-year-old Jamaican, who achieved an important milestone of her own. Her fourth throw of 65.47m and fifth of 67.05m meant that she broke her own national record of 65.05 twice, and even more important, it was an indication that she was getting closer to her ultimate goal for this season.

“I was very happy to see those numbers. I really wanted to perform well at that meet. I was happy I could put it together and get the job done. I want to make my personal dream of being an Olympic finalist come true,” she said, explaining that the records, at this point in time, mean little by comparison.

“My only goal for the season is to make top 8 at the Olympics. I know this a great achievement (the national record) and I’m thankful but this wasn’t a goal of mine.”

The simple fact is that for Lawrence and her coach Julian Robinson the new milestone was not surprising but the immediate future is more about achieving the aforementioned goal and that for that to be accomplished, there is much work still left to be done. Robinson is under no illusions. He knows what needs to get done.

 “No, it wasn’t a surprise. Physically, I think she has the ability to produce those distances. However, she lacks the consistency and this is so for several reasons; her technique is not yet stable and she needs more exposure competing at the elite level or close to that,” he said.

Lawrence started the season with a win at the USF Bulls Invitational in Florida on March 20, throwing 63.75m, which surpassed the Olympic qualifying standard of 63.50m. She followed up with another win at the Florida State Relays on March 26 when she threw 62.88m.

After that, her performances dipped even though she kept winning. Throws of 57.76m and 57.86m resulted in victories at the USATF Sprint Summit on April 3 and at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational, on April 16.

Two weeks later, she was second at the North Florida Invitational where she threw 58.66m before her big throws in Tucson last weekend.

The performances represented were the low-hanging fruit that she has been able to reach since she began working with Robinson in late 2019 with bigger goals in mind.

“I train really hard. My biggest aim for this season, physically, was to get stronger,” she said. “The past few years throwing, I wasn’t strong and I was throwing decent. I knew if I could get my strength to a certain level, I could be more consistent. So every time I get into the gym I’m pushing myself.”

She believes that she can get even stronger and be a lot more consistent with throws well above 60m in the weeks she has left before the Olympic Games this summer.

“If I consistently push myself I will get stronger. I already have that mentality so once I’m healthy I will be in the best shape physically for the Games,” she explained.

“I think to be able to throw consistently you must attack your training that way. For me, I just need to train consistently. Be consistent with my gym, plyometric work, working on technical aspects of the throw. That’s how consistency comes about.”

With that goal met, she fancies the possibility of springing a surprise in Tokyo; just like she did on Saturday, produce a throw that she never has managed to deliver before but one that could produce a record that will be more meaningful.

 “If I execute the way I’m preparing to physically and mentally then anything can happen,” she said.

“The Olympic Games isn’t a walkover, no major championship is. My aim is to fearlessly execute all my throws. Before the beginning of the season, my aim was the Olympics. I told myself it doesn’t matter how I compete throughout the season; I need to get it done starting July 31st.”

July 31 is the day of the qualifying round of the women’s discus.

 

Shadae Lawrence, Jamaica women’s national record holder in the discus, shattered the record twice on her way to a second-place finish at the USATF Throws Festival at the University of Arizona on Saturday evening.

Shadae Lawrence is unbeaten in the discus competition in 2021 and has already achieved the Olympic qualifying standard but according to her coach, Julian Robinson, there is still a lot to be accomplished if she is to be competitive at the Olympic Games this summer.

Jamaica discus thrower, Shadae Lawrence, registered a fourth consecutive win after taking first place at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational meet on Friday.

Lawrence recorded a distance of 57.86m, finishing well clear of the rest of the field.  Finishing in second was the University of Miami’s Kristina Rakočević who recorded 51.80m, with Jalani Davis (Ole Miss) third with a distance of 51.32.

The win for the Jamaican national record holder follows up on a victory last week at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Sprint Summit.  Elsewhere, former Jamaica College jumper Clayton Brown also claimed the top spot in the men’s high jump.  Brown took first place with a leap of 2.21m, ahead of Old Miss’ Allen Gordon who took second in 2.16m.  Third place went to Louisville’s Trey Allen who recorded 2.11m.

In the Men's 200 Dash Olympic Development Trinidad and Tobago’s Jereem Richards clocked 20.30 to secure second place, behind the United States’ Fred Kerley who took the top spot in 20.24.  Erriyon Knighton was third in 20.39.

Caribbean athletes Shadae Lawrence and Shane Brathwaite scored victories in the discus and sprint hurdles, respectively at Saturday’s USATF Sprint Summit in Prairie View, Texas, where several of their regional compatriots also had podium finishes.

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