World champions and world record-breakers Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone and Mondo Duplantis have been named the World Athletes of the Year.

They were the final winners to be revealed as part of the World Athletics Awards 2022, along with the winners of the Rising Stars awards: Serbian javelin thrower Adriana Vilagos and US sprinter Erriyon Knighton.

McLaughlin-Levrone and Duplantis – winners of the Rising Stars awards just four years ago – broke the world records in their respective disciplines on more than one occasion this year, with their final record-breaking performances coming at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22.

McLaughlin-Levrone improved her own world 400m hurdles record by 0.78, first to 51.41 at the US Championships and then to an awe-inspiring 50.68 at the World Championships. That secured her a first individual senior world title, and she followed it by anchoring the US team to another 4x400m victory.

The 23-year-old made a statement with her first 400m hurdles race of the year, clocking 51.61 in Nashville in early June. At that point it was the third-fastest time ever recorded, but the all-time list soon underwent further revisions.

Lining up at the US Championships at Hayward Field, McLaughlin-Levrone stormed to victory in the 400m hurdles in 51.41, taking 0.05 off the mark she set at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“I think there’s a little bit more in the tank there,” she said after her US Championships win. “Hopefully when it’s time we can just empty it completely.”

Back at Hayward Field a month later, McLaughlin-Levrone obliterated her previous best, running 50.68 as the home crowd and the rest of the world watched on in amazement.

"All of my goals were accomplished this year," said McLaughlin-Levrone. "We were able to accomplish everything we set out to do. It couldn’t have been any better, and I was so grateful that I was able to produce that performance in front of a home crowd."

Just when you think Duplantis could not be more dominant, the Swedish pole vaulter has a season like 2022, during which he set three world records, won two global titles, won 18 of his 19 competitions, and vaulted six metres or higher 23 times.

Duplantis, despite only just turning 23, now has more six-metre clearances than any other pole vaulter in history.

His record-breaking 2022 campaign began with an undefeated indoor season, during which he set a world record of 6.19m in Belgrade. He returned to the Serbian capital two weeks later for the World Athletics Indoor Championships, where he struck gold with 6.20m, another improvement on his own world record.

He was then victorious on the Wanda Diamond League circuit, including a 6.16m vault in Stockholm, the highest ever outdoor vault in history. It was the perfect warm-up for the World Championships three weeks later.

As the last athlete competing on the final day of competition at the World Championships in Oregon, Duplantis soared over a world record of 6.21m with room to spare.

Less than a month later, he retained his European title with a championship record of 6.06m in a competition where he registered no misses. He then wrapped up his season with a victory at the Wanda Diamond League Final in Zurich.

"Going into the year, I had really high expectations of myself and I had some really big goals," said Duplantis. "I wanted to win the world indoors, the world outdoors, the Europeans, the Diamond League final, and I wanted to break the world record a few times.

"I was able to do that and it was a bonus, the cherry on top, to do be able to do it (break the world record) at the right times, to do it at world indoors and do it at world outdoors. I can’t complain."

Vilagos and Knighton named Rising Stars of 2022

It was a season of back-to-back successes for this year’s Rising Stars.

Vilagos successfully defended her world U20 javelin title, doing so with a championship record of 63.52m and breaking the European U20 record in the process. Less than three months later, she claimed silver at the senior European Championships in Munich.

“Defending my world U20 title in Colombia was my main goal, but winning a medal at the European Championships was the biggest surprise,” said Vilagos. “It was a good year and this award crowns it.”

Knighton, meanwhile, has been named Rising Star for the second year in a row. He clocked a lifetime best of 19.49 in April which couldn’t be ratified as a world U20 record, but he went on to break the mark officially at the US Championships, where he ran 19.69. He followed that with a bronze medal at the World Championships in Oregon, then went on to achieve victories on the Continental Tour and Diamond League circuit.

Remarkably, both Rising Stars will still be U20 athletes for 2023.

“Winning this award back to back means my talent is getting recognized on a bigger stage,” said Knighton, the first athlete ever to win two Rising Star awards. “I’ve put in the work to achieve this and I’m very grateful.”

 

The World Athletics Championships will return to the Bahamas for the fourth time in six years after successfully winning the rights.

The next edition of the championships is due to be in 2024, and once again the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium has been earmarked as the venue for the team championship.

The Bahamas hosted the first three editions of the tournament, which took place between 2014-2017.  The event them moved to Yokohoma, Japan in 2019 and then Chorzow, Poland last year.

With the team’s track record of successfully hosting previous events, President of the International Association of Athletics Federations Sebastian Coe is confident the country will be able to deliver another exciting event.

“We have had three wonderful editions of the World Athletics Relays in Nassau, which established this event on the global calendar, so we know we are in safe hands for what will be an important Olympic qualifier for all our relay events,” Coe said.

“We are confident that The Bahamas will offer the best conditions for the athletes and a brilliant atmosphere for both athletes and fans as we mark a key milestone on the road to the Paris Olympic Games.”

The 2024 World Athletics Relays will serve as the main qualifier for teams participating in the men’s and women’s 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 and mixed 4 x 400m metre relays for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, France.

2022 World Championship 400m bronze medallist Sada Williams was controversially left out of Barbados’ Independence Awards as the country celebrated their 56th year of independence on Wednesday.

Barbadian journalist Mike King described the omission of Williams from the list of awardees as “shocking” and “inexcusable” in a Facebook post.

“To leave World Championship bronze medallist Sada Williams out of the Independence Awards is a national scandal. Members of Cabinet should hold their heads down in shame,” he added.

Williams enjoyed a career best 2022 season in the one lap event.

In July, she ran a personal best and national record 49.75 for bronze at the World Championships in Eugene. She followed that up in August by winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 49.90 and silver at the NACAC Championships in Freeport in 49.86.

In addition to those medals, Williams also enjoyed four top three finishes on the Diamond League circuit last season. She finished third in Monaco and second in Lausanne and Brussels before crossing the line third once again at the Diamond League final in Zurich.

After a career spanning two decades and characterized by fast times and world records but blighted by injury and unfulfilled potential, Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell has called time on his career.

One of the fastest men to have ever lived, Powell, who celebrated his 40th birthday on November 23, was a trailblazer in an era that produced some of the fastest men in the history of track and field namely Usain Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medallist, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake and Steve Mullings, among others.

Powell set 100m world records of 9.77 in Athens, Greece in 2005 and 9.74 in Rieti, Italy in 2007. His record was broken by Bolt in New York in 2008 when he ran 9.72 at the Adidas Grand Prix.  Powell lowered his personal best to 9.72 in September 2008, but by then Bolt had taken the record down to 9.69 at the Beijing Olympics.

After breaking 10 seconds for the first time in 2004, Powell went on to run under 10 seconds for the 100m, a record 97 times. It is an achievement that has earned him the moniker ‘Sub-10 King.”

However, despite his amazing talent, Powell never won individual global titles in the blue-riband event. Favoured to win the 100m at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Powell finished fifth. Four years later, he was fifth at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Powell won the Commonwealth Games 100m title in Australia in 2006 and was favoured to win the 100m at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka, Japan. However, the six-time Jamaican champion was third behind American Tyson Gay, the gold medallist and Bahamian Derrick Atkins, admitting afterwards that he ‘panicked’.

In 2009, Powell ran his best time in a global final – 9.84 at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin, Germany - good enough for bronze behind Usain Bolt, who lowered his own world record to 9.58 with Gay winning silver in a then American record of 9.71.

He was seventh in the 100m final at the London 2012 Games.

Powell won gold medals as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and at the World Championships in 2009 in Berlin and 2015 in Helsinki.

He last ran under 10 seconds in 2016 when he ran 9.92 in Hungary. Injury played a significant role in his inability to continue to break 10 seconds with his fastest time in the last six years being 10.02 in Leverkusen, Germany in 2019.

A favourite of female fans across the globe, Powell announced that his career had come to an end at a lavish birthday party late last week that was attended by several prominent figures from Corporate Jamaica, his shoe sponsor Puma as well as former teammates Bolt, Blake, Frater, Carter and Elaine Thompson-Herah.

His agent Paul Doyle, family, and his closest friends were also in attendance.

On Saturday, he shared the news on Instagram.

“18 years!!! Thanks to my sponsors and loyal fans who have supported me over the years. This sport has given me so many opportunities…but I started my track career in 2002 and have had many ups and downs but was never ungrateful for what I have accomplished,” he said.

“I am entering a new phase and a new chapter of my life and a lot more to come from me. I will continue to inspire the younger generation in every way possible.”

Powell married Canadian model Alyshia Miller in a lavish ceremony before family and friends in Montego Bay 2019 and together have two sons.

 

 

 

Olympian Grace Jackson, Marie Tavares and Edna Atkinson will be honoured at the 19th staging of the Wesley Powell Track and Field Meet set to be held on December 10 at Excelsior High School in Kingston.

At the launch of the meet on Wednesday, organisers said that in keeping with the special focus on Women in the sport by World Athletics, Jackson, the 200m silver medalist from the 1988 Games in Seoul and who, for many years, has served as the Wesley Powell meet director will be recognized along with Tavares, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Honorary Secretary, first woman to hold that post at the JAAA, and Atkinson, a retired teacher for her service to Excelsior High School.

The meet is scheduled to begin at 8:30am and will have 71 events for high school and collegiate athletes in the 150m, 300m, 600m, 1000m, 3000m and 5000m. There will also be 4x300m relay, long jump, high jump, shot put and javelin.

Excelsior has the only full-size 9-Lane 400m track in Jamaica which was laid before the track at the National Stadium in 1961.

The Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA) is among six federations nominated for World Athletics’ Member Federation Award.

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is among the five finalists for World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year Award.

The five-time world 100m champion made the cut after the three-way voting process determined the finalists.

The World Athletics Council and the World Athletics Family cast their votes by email, while fans logged their decisions online via the World Athletics social media platforms where a record 1.3 million votes were registered.

The World Athletics Council’s vote counted for 50 per cent of the result, while the World Athletics Family’s votes and the public votes each counted for 25 per cent of the final result.

Shericka Jackson, the 2022 World 200m champion, failed to make the cut.

Fraser-Pryce being among the finalists was not surprising given the outstanding year she had last season when she became the first running athlete to win five world titles in the same event and ran a record seven times under 10.7s including a world-leading 10.62s.

She was also the Diamond League champion for the fifth time in her illustrious career.

Also among the finalists is the newly minted 100m hurdles world-record holder Tobi Amusan of Nigeria, who added the Diamond League and Commonwealth Games title to her resume during the past season. She set a new world record of 12.12 during the semi-finals of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon in July before running a wind-aided 12.06 to win her first global title.

Another world-record holder, Sydney McLaughlin of the United States, is also among the finalists. The super-talented American broke the 400m hurdles world record twice during the season – 51.41 at the US Championships before lowering it to a jaw-dropping 50.68 in the final of the World Championships.

McLaughlin won a second gold medal in Oregon as a member of the USA’s 4x400m relay team.

Also among the finalists is Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, the 2022 World Indoor and Outdoor triple jump champion. The 2022 Diamond League champion also improved upon her own world record in the event with a 15.74m performance in Belgrade.

Peru’s Kimberly Garcia completes the five finalists. Garcia, the World 20km race walk champion is her country’s first ever World Athletics Championships medallist. Garcia is also the World 35km race walk champion in a South American record that saw her complete a race walk double.

She is also World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships 20km bronze medallist.

The winner of World Athletics Women Athlete of the Year will be announced in early December.

 

 

 

During a nostalgic evening charged with emotion last Thursday night, a portrait of a young GC Foster, reproduced from an old photograph was unveiled before an audience at the sports college named in his honour in Spanish St Catherine.

Keithi Cunningham considers himself a lucky man after he unexpectedly got to meet Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, arguably the greatest female sprinter in history.

Deon Hemmings-McCatty created history at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 when she won the 400m hurdles to become the first woman from the Caribbean to win an Olympic gold medal.

Hemmings ran an Olympic record 52.82 holding off the challenge of Americans Kim Batten and Tonja Buford and etch her name into the annals of Jamaica track and field history. She would win a silver medal in the event at the Sydney Games in 2000 when she also won another silver medal as a member of Jamaica’s 4x400m relay team and cement her legacy as one of Jamaica’s great athletes.

Those exploits were recalled and celebrated at GC Foster College on Thursday night during the launch of 50 Days Afire, a book written by Michael A. Grant and Hubert Lawrence. The book chronicles 50 track and field performances that have defined Jamaica’s legacy in the sport.

Hemmings-McCatty’s accomplishments appear in the 260-page book that was the third undertaking between Grant and Lawrence over the past decade.

During the ceremony, a video of the reserved athlete’s triumphant run in Atlanta was shown after which she was presented with a citation created by artist Patrick Kitson.

Needless to say, she was overwhelmed by fact that her exploits were being celebrated and that her place in Jamaica’s track and field history has not been forgotten.

“It is a special occasion to know that after retiring for so long people still see the work or still remember the work that I have done and I will cherish this very special moment and I am thankful,” said Hemmings-McCatty, who retired in 2003, almost 20 years ago.

The event was attended by Olympian Vilma Charlton, Vice-Principal of GC Foster College Gibbs Williams, MVP President Bruce James and the granddaughters of GC Foster Andrea Roberts, Debbie Jardine and Heather Chin.

G.C. Foster could take his rightful place as the father of Jamaica’s strong legacy in track and field following the launch of 50 Days Afire at the sports college named in his honour in St Catherine, Jamaica on Thursday night.

50 Days Afire chronicles 50 track and field performances that shaped Jamaica’s legacy in the sport as well as the lost story of Foster, who after being unable to compete at the Olympics in 1908, proceeded to defeat many of the finalists of the 100m in subsequent meets across Europe.

At the launch, a short documentary ‘Finding Foster’ that highlighted the long-buried legacy of GC Foster, was shown to a captive audience.

Following years of research and interviews by authors Michael A. Grant and Hubert Lawrence Foster to life and documented seminal moments in the country's long and storied history in track and field. Grant and Lawrence said the information contained in the book could or perhaps should change the narrative about who really set the pace for what Jamaica has been able to accomplish through the likes of Herb McKenley, Merlene Ottey, Marilyn Neufville, Usain Bolt, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah among many others.

“I hope so,” said Lawrence, the noted track writer and historian, “it’s an inspiring story. If you could take off with no Olympic Committee, thinking you could beat the best, is typical Jamaican. My parents did that. I am who I am because my parents made those choices and GC Foster exemplifies that spirit that can’t be broken.

“He came back, didn’t make it but put that into coaching and Jamaica is better for it. I hope so.”

Both men agree that producing the book helped them understand how the events they wrote about helped shape Jamaica’s track and field history but that realization did not come about until they were well into the process.

“Once I got about half-way it occurred to me that these 50 events actually changed Jamaica. If you remove them and they never happened it would be a very different country, not just in terms of sport but also in terms of the culture itself,” Grant opined.

Lawrence though had a different take. “If we can avoid the mistakes of the past by showing the victories of the past then it’s like a torch light showing people where to go,” he said.

“People now know that there was greatness all the way through the history back to 1908 and they trust it if they work hard and they work smart they can win.”

On the evening, a portrait of GC Foster was unveiled at the school's auditorium as his grand-daughters Andrea Roberts, Debbie Jardine and Heather Chin looked on.

 Deon Hemmings, the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic gold medal, when she ran a record 52.82 to defeat the more fancied Americans Kim Batten and Tonja Buford, at the Atlanta Games in 1996, was also honoured with artwork by Patrick Kitson over a citation recalling her history-making exploits.

 

 

 

 

 

, could change the narrative that Arthur Wint, Herb McKenley, George Rhoden and Les Laing, are the fathers of Jamaica’s strong track and field legacy.

 

that chronicles 50 track and field performances that shaped Jamaica’s legacy in the sport, believe that the unearthing of the accomplishments of

Deon Hemmings-McCatty,  the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic gold medal, is to be honoured for her impact on local athletics and inspiration to young athletes, at Thursday’s launch of  50 Days Afire, a book chronicling impactful events in Jamaica’s track and field at GC Foster College in St Catherine.

A documentary 'Finding Foster: The Search for Jamaica’s Lost Sprint Hero' will also be a feature at the launch of the seminal publication by publisher Michael A. Grant and track and field writer, commentator and historian Hubert Lawrence.

I can’t say no,” the history making Olympian said in accepting her invitation to the event, “I will be there.”

The special award was initiated by local gaming brand AnyBet, the title sponsor of the book, film and  event. Grants for research and production were also provided by NCB Capital Markets, Sherwin-Williams, Sports Development Foundation and Tastee Ltd., while other sponsorship was provided by GC Foster College, Supreme Outdoor Advertising, TrackAlerts.com and WISYNCO Ltd.

Fifty Days Afire, is the third collaboration between Grant and Lawrence. It chronicles the 50 most significant performances by Jamaican athletes over 115 years of competition, beginning with GC Foster’s exploits in the United Kingdom in 1908.

In addition to never-before-seen photographs of Foster as an athlete and pictures representing all the featured races, the book addresses issues of class, nationalism and Jamaica’s love of sprinting, while discussing reasons for the growing dominance of the island’s athletes on the world stage. Readers will learn how influential those 50 races have been to the overall development of the sport, even though they do not all feature victories or records.

'Finding Foster' is Grant’s  brainchild. He uncovered important information and photographs of Jamaican pioneering sprinter and coach Gerald Claude “GC” Foster while conducting research for the book.

With a run-time of 30 minutes, the production features analysis by Lawrence and sports broadcaster Kayon Raynor and follows Foster on his quest to compete at the 1908 London Olympics, travelling alone on his own funds.

With the help of British coach Harry Andrews, Foster was able to turn his failed bid at Olympic glory into a spectacular three-month tour of Great Britain in which he competed prodigiously, beating the British champion and other Olympians in several meets.

While there, Foster became a favourite of the British sporting press and often addressed adoring crowds following his races.

In addition to honouring Hemmings, there will also be the unveiling of a portrait of Foster as a young athlete. The authors will also read from as well as sign books on sale at the venue.

 

Jamaica’s Jaydon Hibbert is among the five nominees for World Athletics’ 2022 Men’s Rising Star Award.

17-year-old former Hydel High sprinter Kerrica Hill has been named among five nominees for the 2022 Women’s Rising Star Award, World Athletics announced in a press release on Tuesday.

The award will recognize this year's best U20 athlete at the World Athletics Awards 2022.

The nominations reflect the many standout performances that the sport has witnessed this year, at the World Athletics U20 Championships in Cali, the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 and other events around the world.

In addition to winning the Class Two Girls 100m in a record 11.16 at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships in April, Hill also produced a World U18 record 12.77 to win the 100m hurdles at the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia in August. She was also a member of Jamaica’s gold medal-winning and world U20 record setting 4x100m quartet at those championships alongside Serena Cole and the Clayton sisters.

Since then, Hill has gone pro and joined the Elite Performance Track Club, a training group that includes five-time World Championships gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Commonwealth Games 110m hurdles champion Rasheed Broadbell and Commonwealth Games finalist Rushel Clayton as well as World Championships relay medallists Kemba Nelson and Stacey-Ann Williams.

The other nominees are Kenyans Jackline Chepkoech and Faith Cherotich, South Africa’s Mine De Klerk and Serbia’s Adriana Vilagos. Chepkoech won 300m gold at the Commonwealth Games and won the event at the Brussels Diamond League. Cherotich won the 3000m steeplechase at the World U20 Championships and finished third at the Diamond League Final in Zurich. De Klerk won gold and bronze in the shot put and discus, respectively, at the World U20 Championships and had seven of the world’s top 10 U20 shot put performances while Vilagos won gold in the javelin at the World U20 Championships and silver at the European Championships. She also had the 11 best U20 performances of the year.

The winner of the 2022 Women’s Rising Star Award will be selected by an international panel of experts and be announced on World Athletics’ social media platforms in early December.

 

The World Athletics Council has decided to postpone the World Athletics Relays Guangzhou 23, scheduled for 13-14 May 2023, until April/May 2025 (exact dates to be confirmed).

Due to the ongoing pandemic conditions, this decision was taken with the agreement of the Guangzhou organising committee (LOC) and the Chinese Athletics Association (CAA).

The decision to delay the World Athletics Relays impacts the qualification system for the relay events at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23. Therefore, the World Athletics Competition Commission, upon approval of the Council, has revised the qualification system to include the top eight teams from the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 and the top eight teams from the performance lists.

The philosophy is to replicate a similar qualification system by still qualifying part of the field through direct competition and part through performance in the qualification period.

Details of the changes to the Budapest qualification system are outlined here.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said: “It is regrettable when we have to postpone an event. However, World Athletics and the local organising committee are committed to the responsible planning and delivery of the World Athletics Relays, which includes ensuring that athletes from all international federations can participate in and enjoy an experience in a safe and healthy environment.

“I want to thank our colleagues at the Chinese Athletics Association and the LOC for their efforts and cooperation in resolving this situation and look forward to 2025 when our hosts are able to stage a spectacular World Athletics Relays.”

The host of the 2024 World Athletics Relays is set to be awarded by the World Athletics Council at their meeting in Rome, Italy, on 30 November.

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