As the news of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce’s pending retirement continues to soak in, Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) president Christopher Samuda is among those already expressing gratitude to the decorated athlete, whose life and legacy on the track, has been an inspiration to many across the global sporting landscape.

In fact, Samuda hinted at his association's plans to celebrate the legacy of Jamaican sprint icon, who will hang up her spikes after the Olympic Games in Paris, later this year.

Since she won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, Fraser-Pryce has enjoyed one of the most dominating careers in track and field history, as she tallied eight Olympic medals, including three gold, 16 medals at the World Athletics Championships, which includes 10 world titles, and ranks as the third fastest woman in history with 10.60 seconds in the 100m.

But she is not quite done yet, as she will certainly be aiming to add to those accolades and, by extension, fittingly end her illustrious career on a high.

“Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will retire from the track, but it will always be her stomping ground, given the lessons she taught and her legacy will remain. What an athlete. She is a culture of absolute discipline, courage and resilience. An Olympian and World Champion whose enduring commitment to country is inspiring,” Samuda told SportsMax.TV.

“She is a global sporting ambassador whose credentials are well known and are accepted by many countries. The Jamaica Olympic Association will honour those attributes which resided in ‘Pocket Rocket’, and which are now gaining ineffable expression in ‘Mommy Rocket’,” he added.

On that note, Samuda, while reflecting on her many accomplishments, highlighted that Fraser-Pryce is only human, who has given her all to the demands of balancing sport with family life.

“More importantly, she's a daughter, a mother, a wife, and a colleague. An Olympian, a human being endowed with a humanity that embodies goodwill, and a smile that comes from the heart. She embodies a spirit and personhood that makes her not just a gold medalist, but more importantly a standard bearer,” Samuda shared.

“What an explosion she has been on life's track which will forever bear her indelible footprints,” he noted.

The 37-year-old Fraser-Pryce in a recent interview, explained that her decision to retire after this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris stems from her wanting to dedicate more time to her family.

“My son needs me. My husband and I have been together since before I won in 2008. He has sacrificed for me and it’s because of that support that I’m able to do the things that I have been doing for all these years. I think I now owe it to them to do something else,” Fraser-Pryce said.

The vivacious athlete’s win in Beijing made her first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m gold, and her follow-up victory in 2012 made her only the third woman to win back-to-back Olympic titles. She joined other greats Wyoma Tyus and Gail Devers of the USA to accomplish the feat.

Fraser-Pryce’s 2009 World 100m title in Berlin, saw her become the first woman to hold Olympic and World titles simultaneously, a feat she accomplished twice with victories in London in 2012 and Moscow in 2013.

The St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) government declared its commitment to supporting athlete Shafiqua Maloney as she prepares for the upcoming Paris Olympics in August.

Maloney garnered significant attention during her recent appearance on the SportsMax Zone, where she revealed that she experienced homelessness for several months in the past year and has been unable to compensate her coaches for an extended period of time. She also shared that her departure from the United States would result in her being barred from reentry until her application for an O-1 visa is approved. This visa application carries a price tag of $8,500.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves on Friday stated that despite Maloney’s qualification, her journey to the Paris Olympics will be challenging. He also expressed his government’s dedication to providing assistance.

"I spoke to Shafiq to congratulate her and more importantly, for her own perseverance, and to commit to her the support of the Government of St Vincent for the Olympics in the first place, which is in August in Paris. She told me many things, which is not my place to talk about. I am not going through the many emails she sent to specific people because I do not want any controversy to surround this talented young lady," the Gonsalves shared.

"All I want now is that, going forward, between now and the Olympics, we help to take care of this young lady and see that she gets what is reasonably required. She told me a number that I wouldn’t reveal. Between now and August, I told her to send me details, and in relation to the visa, which I know about, she said some people were trying, but you know, the US visa authorities are problematic. I told her to send me all that has happened to see if, at a particular level, we get it sorted out," he added.

The prime minister also revealed that there could be possible sponsorship for Maloney through East Caribbean Group of Companies (ECGC) which has not been confirmed.  

"Camilo told me last evening that ECGC wants to be engaged, possibly in a sponsorship with Shafiqua. So, I called Jomo Cato and asked him to send me what they had in mind. I asked him what number they had, and I told him the number Shafiqua had told me. She said, Prime Minister, this is the Olympics. I want to be at the Olympics. But we are hoping that this matter can be sorted out before then," Gonsalves said.

The 24-year-old Maloney, who was the sole flag-bearer for St Vincent and the Grenadines at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, recently established a new national 800 metres record of 1:58.69, at the 2024 Tyson Invitational in Arkansas. She surpassed her previous mark of 1:59.94.

Maloney followed up that performance with another national record of 4:33.68 in her debut run at a mile.

"I've never raced a mile before, so I found someone to hang on to and when I knew it was time to go, I just went. It (my late kick) kind of felt the same surprisingly, so whether it is a mile or 800m, the last 200m felt good, it probably wasn't as fast, but it felt the same and I just went out there and had fun. That is the most important part of what you do, especially when it is something your'e not used to, you always need to have fun and of course, execute," she told Arkansas Track and Field after the race.

"It is a long season, so I am just trying to stay healthy, remain injury free, but also get the work in so when it comes to Paris and the rounds, I am able to get the work in to be consistent and advance to the final. So, I am just trusting the process and trusting the Lord more than anything, He has been carrying me through. I know trusting in the Lord, myself and my coach, is definitely going to get me where I need to be," the talented athlete reasoned.

 

As news of her impending retirement continues to reverberate throughout the track and field community, two-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce continues to draw praise from some of the sport’s biggest stars.

The most recent to sing the Mommy Rocket’s praises were Olympic and World Champion Justin Gatlin and co-host Rodney Green on their Ready Set Go Podcast.

Since she won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, Fraser-Pryce has gone on to have one of the most dominating careers in track and field history. Her win in Beijing made her first Jamaican woman to win Olympic 100m gold. Her follow-up victory in 2012 made her only the third woman to win back-to-back Olympic titles joining other greats Wyoma Tyus and Gail Devers of the USA to accomplish the feat.

Winning the world 100 title in Berlin in 2009, saw her become the first woman to hold Olympic and World titles simultaneously, a feat she would accomplish twice after victories in London in 2012 and Moscow in 2013.

Feats such as these are why Green lamented her decision to hang up her spikes after what will be her fifth Olympic campaign in Paris this summer.

“Man, we ‘bout to lose a female juggernaut of our sport, man, a staple. I mean, I think in her country they should, I don't know if a statue would do or they should name a track or something, man. Man, we going to lose Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce this year, man, this is our last year around the world, you know, competing. What do you think about that?

(Jamaica unveiled a statue of Fraser-Pryce at Independence Park in Kingston in 2018.)

In response, Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100m champion and 2005 and 2017 World Champion, lauded the Jamaica superstar for her work on and off the track, stating, “Man, Shelly-Ann has been such an inspiration to the sport for so long. Watching her make her first Olympic team in 2008 and her dominance for so many years into the sport and watching her grow. She was out there in the world and watching her mature into the powerful, successful woman she is now, hat’s off to her. She deserves everything.”

Gatlin, who enjoyed a fierce rivalry against Fraser-Pryce’s contemporary, Usain Bolt, made reference to her fierce rivalry with compatriot Elaine Thompson-Herah and what it did to bring energy to the sport.

“We wish she could run many, many more years because she is the kind of person that rises to the occasion,” said Gatlin of the Jamaican who has only once failed to win a 100m medal in a global championship. That was in 2011 when she finished fourth in the 100m final in Daegu, South Korea.

Fraser-Pryce won 100m gold at the World Championships in 2007, 2009, 2013, 2019 and 2022. She was third at the most recent championships in Budapest, Hungary. She missed the 2017 championship because she was pregnant with her son Zyon.

“Watching her duke it out with Elaine (Thompson-Herah) throughout the years,” Gatlin continued, “they’d be seeing who would get to 10-7 first and then who would get to 10-6, and it made for pure entertainment because they both rose to the occasion.”

Green then chimed in clarifying that Fraser-Pryce not only battled with her Jamaican counterpart but also with the very best the USA had to offer.

“Elaine is just the recent one. She battled with many people that banged, like Carmelita Jeter. She went back and forth with Jet, man. She went back and forth with Veronica Campbell from her own country and the late great Tori (Bowie).”

 Gatlin then said, “She battled every elite female in this era.”

“Juggernauts, 10-6, 10-7 women through time, man,” Green remarked. “Like she has been amazing to our sport, she has been graceful to our sport. She has been nothing but a class act and I just think she will definitely be missed.

“I think as she makes her rounds this year, around the world, farewell tour, every country she goes, win or loss, when she runs, they should let her do a lap man, because this is the last time we’re going to get to see an amazing athlete grace track and field; the Mommy Rocket. It’s sad to see her go but I understand why she has to go.”

In a recently published interview with Essence Magazine, the 37-year-old Fraser-Pryce explained that her decision to retire after the Olympic Games in Paris stems from her wanting to dedicate more time to her family.

“There’s not a day I’m getting up to go practise and I’m like, ‘I’m over this’,” she said. “My son needs me. My husband and I have been together since before I won in 2008. He has sacrificed for me.

“We’re a partnership, a team. And it’s because of that support that I’m able to do the things that I have been doing for all these years. And I think I now owe it to them to do something else.”

 

Gatlin said he understood her decision.

"She said she owes it to her family to do something else now, especially her husband said she's been competing from 2008.She's been married for some time now for her husband and her child too. She owes it to them to just do something else and that's very honorable. Absolutely.

"I mean, when you when you are an athlete of her stature, your time is limited because your focus is on your own success, because that's what got you to where you're at, and you try to kind of juggle or balance family time, personal life around your successful career but everything, everything in your life is kind of floating around track, so now it's like with her son becoming older and having more time to be able to be a wife and a mom that's important.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rhythmic beat of excitement echoes through the corridors of anticipation as the 2024 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships, better known as "CHAMPS," approaches the island of Jamaica. In a groundbreaking move, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) and PUMA are set to turn this prestigious event into an Olympic fashion extravaganza, showcasing the bespoke apparel designs tailored exclusively for the Jamaican Olympic team at the upcoming Paris Olympic Games.

The announcement is met with palpable enthusiasm from JOA President, Christopher Samuda, who can't hide his delight, "The designs meet our approval, and their display will be an innovation bringing Olympism into the arena, reminding inspired youth that wearing the black, gold, and green is genetic, shaping character and tailoring personal aspirations, sewing seeds of success."

A sense of historical significance hangs in the air as the national stadium, once again, prepares to take center stage. JOA Secretary General/CEO, Ryan Foster, eloquently expresses the symbolic nature of the venue, "The national stadium will once more be a focal point for Olympism, a landmark from which sportsmen and women have been catapulted into being Olympic champions and global personalities, becoming an inspiration to generations of youth."

The JOA/PUMA partnership is lauded for its creative fusion of sports and fashion. President Samuda emphasizes the deeper meaning of national sportswear, stating, "This activation by PUMA underscores that national sportswear should be an experience and an honor that goes beyond what you wear to being how you wear it, contributing to a country’s sporting legacy – and that’s Olympism."

Fashion, as articulated by JOA Secretary General/CEO Foster, is not merely a reflection of the times but a profound expression of identity. "National apparel re-defines the past, defines the present, and shapes the future of a people." He highlights the distinction between ready-to-wear and custom-built, noting that the latter is driven by a 'fit to size' and bespoke value, characterizing the present and stylizing the future.

As the days count down, the buzz around the event intensifies. Jamaicans eagerly anticipate a taste of Paris, as Olympic sportswear is set to grace Independence Park. Inspired by the remarkable performances of Jamaican Olympians throughout history, the showcase promises to be a vivid celebration of the nation's sporting legacy.

PUMA's continuing commitment to the Jamaican Olympic movement is evident, with this display of Jamaican sport haute couture being hailed as "the dress rehearsal of greater things to come" by President Samuda. The stage is set for a truly groundbreaking moment at CHAMPS, where the collision of athleticism and high fashion will create an unforgettable spectacle, etching a lasting impression on the hearts of spectators and athletes alike.

 

 On the Instagram biography of Julien Alfred, there are three lines. The first says ‘Athlete’. The second is the flag of Saint Lucia, while the third says ‘Romans 8:18’ – a verse from the bible that states our “present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”


At the age of 22, Alfred has already experienced her fair share of suffering, and indeed glory.


There was the loss of her father, Julian, when she was 12. There was moving away from home, to Jamaica, at just 14. There was the death last December of her old PE teacher, Simeon Stephen, who first discovered Alfred’s talent and convinced her to stay the course in athletics.


Then there is the glory.


Alfred is the reigning NCAA indoor champion over 60m and 200m, the reigning NCAA outdoor champion over 100m and 200m. She’s the 2023 Bowerman Award winner, the prize given to the outstanding collegiate track and field athlete each year. She’s the fastest woman in the world this year over 60m and 200m, which makes her a huge contender at next month’s World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24.


At this time of year, she knows all about the link between suffering and glory, given a key part of her preparation is the over-distance work that few sprinters enjoy.


“I never considered myself a 200m runner,” she says. “Only last year I got better at it because I dedicated myself to running it more with the longer workouts, which I hated before.”


They’re still not her favourite, though to strike gold in Glasgow she knows they’re essential. A few months ago, when they circled the event on her calendar, Alfred’s coach Edrick Floreal noted that the three rounds of the women’s 60m will take place on the same day.


“So being the fastest woman doesn’t play as much of a role as being the strongest woman,” he says. “Being able to run 22.2 and 22.1 (for 200m), you’re not going to die of fatigue. I need the athlete to be strong enough to replicate the same performance three times in a row.”

Saint Lucia – a Caribbean island with a population of about 180,000 people – has never won a medal at the World Indoors before, its best result being a fifth-place finish in the high jump for Levern Spencer in 2016. But Alfred looks poised to change that. She clocked a world-leading 6.99 to take victory at the Millrose Games in New York, a World Athletics IndoorTour Gold meeting, last Sunday. The run was even more impressive given her relatively sluggish start.

She didn’t have a time goal in mind that day, the objective being to “work on my start, my execution and transition.” How did that go? “I have to go back to my coach and see how I did,” she said. “I’m sure he will say it wasn’t good.”

Alfred was right.

“The start was awful,” says Floreal. “She kind of stood up, so it’s back to work on that, but I like where things are – the fact she can mess up the start and still have the strength to deal with the charge.”

In her first year as a professional, that ability to stay calm under pressure could prove a key one.

As Floreal explains: “It’s (about) handling that anxiety. That’s my job: to help her win the race from behind so she doesn’t feel like she has to have a good start. When they think, ‘I need to get a great start to get a medal,’ they put tonnes of pressure on themselves to get that and sometimes you’re stymied by that in the race. Now, I can have a s***ty start and still run 6.99 – that helps with confidence.”

Alfred has been working with Floreal since the start of 2019, when she enrolled at the University of Texas. They first met a few months before that, at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, where Alfred won silver in the 100m. Floreal was the reason she chose Texas.

“While I was in high school in Jamaica, I watched him coach Sydney (McLaughlin-Levrone), Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, he was also coaching Keni (Harrison) at the time,” says Alfred. “Seeing him have a huge amount of great athletes, I wanted to be with a coach like that.”

Alfred grew up in Castries, the capital city of Saint Lucia, and her sprint talent was first spotted at the age of “six or seven” as she raced around the courts at school. Stephen, her PE teacher, made her race against the boys – she won – and after that she joined an athletics club, working with coach Cuthbert Modeste. Her childhood hero was Usain Bolt, and Alfred dreamed of one day doing similar things on the track. But following the death of her father, she fell away from athletics. It was Stephen who brought her back. “He saw the potential in me,” she says.

In 2015, she moved to Jamaica to attend St Catherine High School, where she came under the guidance of coach Marlon Jones. From there it was on to Texas, where she took a big leap forward, lowering her 60m PB to 7.10 in 2020 at the age of 18. The following year was lost to injury, with Alfred forced to watch the Tokyo Olympic Games from afar. But she bounced back better than ever in 2022, lowering her 100m PB to 10.81 and winning the NCAA title.

A false start in the 100m semi-final at the World Championships in Oregon proved a costly mistake, one she’s yet to repeat. Last year, her star truly went supernova, with Alfred setting collegiate records to win the NCAA indoor 60m title in 6.94 and the 200m in 22.01, both times putting her second on the world all-time lists. With another dominant sprint double at the outdoor NCAA Championships last June – she won the 100m in 10.72 (2.3m/s) and 200m in 21.73 (2.5m/s) – she closed out a magnificent collegiate career, then signed a professional deal with Puma.

Her goal at last year’s World Championships was to win a medal, but she came up just short in Budapest, finishing fifth in the 100m and fourth in the 200m.

These days, athletics has her full-time focus, with Alfred putting her spare time to use by doing driving lessons. Since the autumn, she has trained alongside Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the 2019 world 200m champion, along with her long-time college teammate Rhasidat Adeleke of Ireland, the reigning NCAA 400m champion.

“It’s competitive, which makes it fun,” says Alfred. “Iron sharpens iron.”

Saint Lucia has never won an Olympic medal in any sport, and Alfred knows the hype is building as the Games approach. But the only pressure she feels is from within.

“I don’t really pay attention to the media but I do have a lot of supporters back home who give messages to my family and they transfer to me,” she says. “I definitely want a medal in Paris – a gold, silver or bronze in the 100m and 200m.”

 The path to an achievement like that is filled with hard work and tedious, painstaking repetition. In addition to her start, Alfred has been focusing on improving her strength and her technique. “Sometimes late in the races I use my shoulders too much,” she says.

It’s something Floreal drills into her at every workout. “The main thing is good mechanics, being able to hold that under fatigue,” he says.

Success at major championships also requires a strong mindset. What is Alfred like in that department?

“She’s fantastic,” says Floreal, who’s been highly impressed with how Alfred has handled the transition to the pro ranks. “It’s a difficult adjustment a lot of kids are not able to do; there’s a lot of people pulling at you.”

While she’s already donned her nation’s colours with pride on the global stage, the difference this year is that without an extensive NCAA schedule, she can give such championships her full focus. First up is Glasgow, then all roads lead to Paris. Saint Lucia might never have won a medal at those events, but Alfred isn’t concerned about the past, thinking only of the future.

“I’d love to be the first,” she says.

Excelsior produced a late rally to secure an eighth-consecutive hold on the girls’ title, while Kingston College, also successfully defended the boys’ crown at the 11th edition of the two-day Anthrick Corporate Area Championships, on Saturday.

The Mountain View Avenue-based Excelsior entered the backend of the championship two points behind Wolmer’s Girls on the final day of action, but registered victories in the Sprint Medley and 4X400m relays to turn the tables on the Heroes Circle rivals at Jamaica College’s Ashenheim Stadium.

Excelsior tallied 360 points to Wolmer’s Girls’ 356 points, with Immaculate (298 points), The Queen’s School (200 points) and St Andrew High (163 points), completing the top five.

On the boys’ side, Kingston College, who copped their 10th hold on the crown, were always a cut above the competition at 452 points, 80.5 points ahead Calabar (371.5 points). Jamaica College (316.5 points), Excelsior (195 points) and STGC (146 points), made up the top five.

Both Excelsior and Kingston College pocketed $150,000 for their efforts.

After an exciting first day in which they swept three of the four 100m races, Wolmer’s Girls, who have won the Corporate Area title three times, continued to apply pressure on Excelsior to the point where it came down to the relays to decide things.

The shift in momentum came when Excelsior anchored won the Sprint Medley Relay in 4:26.01, ahead St Hugh’s (4:32.78) and Wolmer’s (4:34.55).

Calabar won the boys’ event in 3:32.23, followed by Jamaica College (3:32.78) and Kingston College (3:33.26).

Excelsior, anchored by Diandra Kelly, later copped the 4X400m relay open in 3:44.73, leaving Wolmer’s Girls (3:45.91) in their wake, with The Queen’s School (4:00.80), in third.

Kelly in her final year, expressed delight with her performance.

“It feels really good because this is our eighth time winning and so it feels great to know that I am leaving with another championship title. This is very good for us because now we know we are in the top five heading into the (ISSA Boys’ and Girls’) Champs and so we just have to go out there and give it our best when that time comes,” she said after catching her breath.

Meanwhile, Marcinho Rose, anchored Kingston College to victory in the boys’ 4X400m where they clocked 3:08.82, the fastest time by a high school team this year. Excelsior (3:11.86) and Calabar (3:12.32), were the runners-up.

USC Junior Travis Williams equaled his personal best to win the men’s 60m at the Arkansas Qualifier in Fayetteville on Friday.

Williams won the event in 6.59, a meet record, ahead of Grenadian 2021 World U-20 Championships 100m finalist and Ohio State Junior Nazzio John (6.68) and UTEP’s Xavier Butler (6.74).

Williams, who previously represented the University of Albany, was a silver medallist in the 100m at last year’s NACAC U-23 Championships in Costa Rica.

The men’s 60m open saw a Caribbean 1-2-3 through Barbados’ Mario Burke (6.56), BVI’s Rikkoi Brathwaite (6.67) and Jamaica’s Christopher Grant (6.74).

The open women’s 60m saw 2023 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor champion and World Championship finalist Ackera Nugent run 7.30 for second behind American Jada Baylark (7.22). Kristina Knott of the Philippines was third in 7.35.

Grenadian Arizona State Senior Gamali Felix ran a season’s best 45.90 to win the men’s 400m ahead of Arkansas’ Steven McElroy (46.09) and USC’s Johnnie Blockburger (46.20).

The women’s 200m saw Jamaican UTEP Sophomore Niesha Burgher run 23.09 for second behind USC’s Madison Whyte 23.01. Whyte’s USC teammate Jassani Carter was third in 23.19.

In the field, seven-time Jamaican national champion Kimberly Williams produced 13.83m to win the women's triple jump ahead of ULM's Eunice Ilunga Mbuyi (13.13m) and Oregon's Ryann Potter (12.84m).

The men's equivalent was won by Bermuda's Jah-Nhai Perinchief with 16.36m. Bahamian Kaiwan Culmer was second with 16.26m while Jamaican Arkansas Junior Apalos Edwards was third with 15.86m.

Bahamian Laquan Nairn jumped 7.64m for second in the men's long jump behind South Plains Freshman Andrew Stone (7.70m). Oklahoma Senior Anthony Riley was third with 7.57m.

Newly-minted World record holder for the women’s 60 metres hurdles, Devynne Charlton, headlines a six-member team selected by The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) to represent the island at the upcoming World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Anthonique Strachan, Charisma Taylor, Ken Mullings, LaQuan Nairn and Alonzo Russell, are the others that will fly the Bahamian flag at the event scheduled for March 1-3.

Charlton is overwhelmingly favoured for the gold, given her smashing world record run of 7.67 seconds during the 116th running of the Millrose Games at the Nike Track and Field Center in New York City, last Sunday.

In addition to Charlton’s pursuit of global gold, Strachan will go after a medal in the women’s 60m, Taylor will contest two events – the women’s triple jump and she will join Charlton in the hurdles. Mullings will try his hand in the men’s indoor heptathlon, with Nairn set to soar in the men’s long jump, while Russell will compete in the men’s 400m.

Veteran high jumper Donald Thomas could be added to the team, pending an invitation from World Athletics.

Demarius Cash, who will serve as head coach/manager of a major senior team for the first time, has high expectations.

“Based on what Devynne was able to do on Sunday, a lot of the athletes are excited and ready to go. There is nothing like when one of your colleagues does something special like this and running a world record is as exciting as it comes in track and field,” Cash said.

“What Devynne did, speaks volumes for where we are in track and field as a nation. This is a very exciting time for us, and I believe Bahamians will be pleased by the performances of these athletes at the world indoors. I believe we could bring home some hardware,” he added.

Russell, who was a part of the silver medal winning 4x400m relay team at the 2016 Championships, and Charlton, who won silver in the women’s 60m hurdles in Belgrade, two years ago, are the only World Indoor medallists on the team.

However, Charlton is not the only world leader on the team. Mullings has a world leading mark of 6,340 points in the indoor heptathlon. He scored that national record at the Illini Challenge at the University of Illinois in Champaign, in January.

“This would be the first time that we would have had an athlete going into the World Indoor Championships as the world leader in the multi events. This is great for Ken and it’s going to be a good challenge for him. I believe he will step up to the plate and do well,” said Cash.

The team will no doubt be led by Charlton though. Cash said she appears to be in the right frame of mind, and shape, to win gold this time around.

“She’s a special athlete and I believe there is a lot more in store for her this season. From the management side, I’m ready for the challenge. I’m here to work for the athletes and make sure they are prepared for everything.

“I believe this is going to be a high intensity meet for The Bahamas. I just want to thank the BAAA, and the executive team of the BAAA, for the opportunity to serve as head coach and manager. I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Cash ended.

Louisiana State University (LSU) Sophomore Brianna Lyston was in a dominant mood once again on her way to victory in the women’s 60m at Friday’s 2024 LSU Twilight.

The 19-year-old, who recently signed a NIL deal with Adidas, produced 7.17 to win comfortably ahead of Kennedy Blackmon and Shannon Ray of Tiger Olympians who produced 7.39 and 7.41, respectively, in second and third.

Lyston is currently the collegiate leader in the event with her personal best 7.07 done at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville on January 27.

Elsewhere, LSU Sophomore Jahiem Stern produced 7.73 to win the men’s 60m hurdles ahead of teammate Matthew Sophia (7.74) and Haiti’s Yves Cherubin (7.91).

Trinidadian Hinds Community College Sophomore Rinaldo Moore ran 50.17 to win the men’s 400m ahead of teammate Braylin Demars (50.26) and Texas Lutheran’s Bryce Powell-Chimene (50.31).

Kingston College and Wolmer’s Girls assumed pole position on the boys’ and girls’ standings at the Anthrick Corporate Area Championships, after an exciting opening day of action at Jamaica College’s Ashenheim Stadium on Friday.

The curtains fittingly came down on the day with the much-anticipated 100 metres, where three records were broken, two by Wolmer’s Girls representatives Natrece East and Tiana Marshall in Classes three and two respectively.

It was those performances that assisted in pushing the Heroes Circle girls to the summit on 150 points, three ahead of defending champions Excelsior on 147, with Immaculate High (133 points), The Queen’s School (77 points) and St Andrew High (61 points), complete the top five heading into Saturday’s final day.

On the boys’ side, Kingston College, on 146 points, opened up a 25-point gap on rivals Calabar, on 121 points, with Jamaica College in third on 109 points. Excelsior (56 points) and Wolmer’s Boys (52 points) occupy the other top five positions.

Earlier, East gave the 100m series an explosive start when she stopped the clock in a new meet record of 11.67s to top the girls’ Class three event. Immaculate’s Kayla Johnson (11.93s) and Tashika Thompson (12.43s) of Excelsior, were second and third respectively.

Marshall, also of Wolmer’s Girls then topped the girls’ Class two event in a meet record of 11.94s, in a negative 1.3 metres per second wind reading. Tashay Faulkner (12.32s) of Alpha Academy was second, with Immaculate’s Shevi-Anne Shim (12.33s) in third.

The Wolmer’s Girls sweep of the top three classes was completed by Mickayla Gardener, who successfully defended her Class one title and secured her ninth Corporate Area Championship medal. She recovered from a stumbling start to win in 12.21s, ahead of Excelsior’s Sharlla Whittaker (12.56s) and Abigail Watt (12.56s) of St Andrew High.

Meanwhile, Mario Ross of Wolmer’s Boys, became the first Class three athlete to clock a sub-11 time at the championship, when he stopped the clock in a meet record 10.99s. His time ran in a negative 1.1 wind reading, saw him finish ahead of Kingston College’s Orandy Campbell (11.41s) and Naethan Bryan (11.42s) of St George’s College.

The soft-spoken Ross expressed surprise at the time.

“I am very surprised that I ran that fast because I have been trying hard to get there since the start of the season and it wasn’t happening. But my teammates believed in me and told me I could do it and I finally did it, so I am happy,” he said shortly after catching his breath.

The boys’ Class two event was won by Excelsior’s Malike Nugent, who clocked a personal best 10.75s in a negative 1.2 wind speed. Nugent upset his more fancied rivals Nyrone Wade (10.79s) of Kingston College, and Tyreece Foreman (10.90s) of St George’s College.

Finally, Kingston College’s Yourie Clarke, signalled a return to form, as he clocked a personal best-equalling 10.55s to win the boys’ Class one 100m, ahead of Calabar’s Shaquane Gordon (10.59s), who is contesting his first year in the class. Damor Miller (10.63s) of Excelsior, was third.

NB: Action of Saturday’s final day of the Corporate Area Championships will be live on SportsMax and the SportsMax App.

Jamaica's national 400m champion, Sean Bailey, is celebrating a significant personal milestone as he has announced his engagement to long-time girlfriend Denae McFarlane. Following a proposal in a romantic setting on Valentine's Day, the 26-year-old athlete shared the joyous news via Instagram, declaring, "She said yes!" The engagement comes at a pivotal moment in Bailey's career as he prepares to secure a spot on Jamaica's team for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

Bailey, the younger brother of Jamaican sprint icon Veronica Campbell-Brown, has steadily risen among the world's elite 400m runners. In 2023, he solidified his status with notable achievements, including a personal best of 44.43 at the Drake Relays. His remarkable victory over Olympic gold medalist Kirani James highlighted his prowess and set the stage for a successful season.

The two-time national champion continued his stellar performance by claiming his second national title in July, clocking an impressive 44.48 to fend off a fast-finishing Antonio Watson, the eventual world champion. Despite injury setbacks at the World Athletic Championships in Budapest, where he finished fifth in the final won by Watson, Bailey signed a professional contract with Adidas.

As Bailey focuses on his Olympic preparations, his fiancée McFarlane, a former standout from Edwin Allen High School, has also made a mark in the world of athletics. Currently pursuing academic studies as a senior at the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), McFarlane has showcased her talents on the track.

While McFarlane may not have reached the heights achieved by her fiancé, she has proven herself as a quality athlete. Hailing from the parish of Clarendon, McFarlane has represented her university with distinction, earning recognition such as the 2023 All-Conference USA Second Team in the 100m Outdoors, All-Conference USA Second Team in the 4x100m Outdoors, and 2023 All-Conference USA Third Team in the 60m Indoors.

 

 

Julien Alfred’s transition to the professional ranks of track & field has gotten off to about as good a start as anyone could’ve ever imagined.

The 22-year-old St. Lucian standout, fresh off a dominant 2023 collegiate season for the Texas Longhorns that saw her claim the Bowerman award, has started the 2024 indoor season brilliantly.

Alfred, a 100m silver medallist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, opened her season with a pair of wins at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic in Albuquerque from February 2-3.

She first won the 200m on February 2 with a world leading 22.16, the fifth fastest indoor 200m time ever. Alfred also has the second fastest time ever with 22.01 done during her dominant 2023 season at Texas.

A day later, she won her heat of the 60m in 7.15 before returning to run 7.04 to win the final, a world-lead at the time.

At the Millrose Games on February 11, Alfred became the first woman to dip below the 7-second mark this season with a world-leading 6.99 for a dominant victory.

“I feel very pleased. I feel like I could’ve executed better but overall, I feel good. My body feels good and mentally I’m there,” Alfred said in a post-race interview.

She says that despite some difficulty having to adjust to a new routine, her transition from the collegiate ranks to the pro ranks has been smooth.

“Training has been really good. The fall was a bit difficult for me adjusting to having no school and no routine but I’m getting used to it now. I did take some time off and it was really needed so the transition has been really smooth,” she said.

Alfred is also joint-second on the all-time list in the 60m with 6.94, also done in 2023, and, after her performance on Sunday, feels like she is ready to challenge Irina Privalova’s world record 6.92 done all the way back in 1993.

“I feel really good about the performance to be honest and I really felt like I was ready to go after the world record but I’m just going to go out there and keep training and see what I can do at World Indoors,” she said.

The World Indoor Championships are set for March 1-3 in Glasgow and Alfred says that, despite some obvious goals for the upcoming outdoor season, this is all she is focused on right now.

“I’m just thinking about World Indoors and not down the line. When the time comes for that I’ll think about it but for now I’m taking it one race at a time,” she said.

When the time does come to move her focus to the Paris Olympics, Alfred says her goal is to be St. Lucia’s first ever Olympic medallist.

“I don’t have a time in mind at all but I definitely want to medal in Paris. That’s my biggest goal as of now. I’d be happy just to get a medal for my country because my country has never gotten a medal at the Olympics so I would love to be the first,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 In a triumphant display of excellence at the 2024 CIAA Indoor Track & Field Championships at the JDL Fast Track, Fayetteville State University's Inez Turner and Claflin University's Melvin Watts emerged as the CIAA Women's Coach of the Year and Men's Coach of the Year, respectively.

The coaches led their teams to repeat victories, with Fayetteville State's women and Claflin's men securing another championship title.

Turner, the iconic Jamaican Olympian and head coach of Fayetteville State University's Women's Track and Field team, expressed her gratitude on Facebook for winning yet another championship. She shared, "It is so very awesome to know that one's labor is not in vain. I am happy that through it all, the victory is won. This marks our 14th championship since my assignment at Fayetteville State University back in the fall of 2017. I am indeed grateful and thankful to our Lord and Savior who has ordained His abundant blessings."

The Fayetteville State University Women's team, also known as the Lady Broncos, clinched their fourth championship in five seasons, tallying 138 points.

Their exceptional performances were highlighted by M'Smyra Seward, named Women's Field Athlete of the Year, who triumphed in the long jump event with a distance of 5.89 meters. Irene Jeptoo and Nia Gibson secured victories in the 1-mile and 3,000 meters, respectively, contributing significantly to the team's success. Winston-Salem State's Hayleigh Bryant earned Women's Track Athlete of the Year honors after winning the 400 meters and the 200 meters.

On the men's side, Claflin University maintained their dominance, securing their second consecutive championship with 131 points. Key contributors included Jonathan Flemister, who won the 200-meter dash, and Chander Anderson, claiming victory in the 400 meters. Zion Murry repeated as the 800-meter champion. Saint Augustine’s Terrell Robinson was named Men's Track Athlete of the Year, showcasing his prowess in the 60-meter event.

The championship victories solidify Turner and Watts' reputations as exceptional coaches, guiding their teams to sustained success. The achievements of the athletes and coaches reflect the dedication, perseverance, and championship mindset that define the spirit of these track and field programs.

 

 

Eight-year-old Bella Brown emerged as a star of the Millrose Games in New York on Sunday, clinching victory in the U8 (under-8) 55m dash with a dazzling time of 8.66 seconds. (See video below). In a remarkable display of talent and passion, Bella's inspiration stems from none other than the iconic Jamaican sprinter, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

The influence of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce on Bella's journey is profound.  "She probably saw Shelly Anne run when she was about four years old. She was very excited,” said Bella’s mother Sandra Harris, beaming with pride.

“We watch clips all the time. She watched them run. All the time she looks at their form. She looks at how they relax when they're running even though they're running hard. So yeah, she watches Shelly-Ann Fraser (Pryce) all the time and Veronica (Campbell-Brown) too."

The young prodigy's electrifying win at the Millrose Games showcased her raw talent and dedication, echoing the footsteps of her Jamaican idols. Sandra shared insights into her daughter's excitement and commitment after the triumphant race:

"Bella was excited. She trained very hard for this race, especially her starts. She came in very confident. She said she's gonna win, and all she wanted to do was execute her race properly. So when she did what she sought out to do, she was excited when she finished running."

Bella's affinity for track and field is deeply rooted in her family's athletic legacy. Sandra, whose family is from Westmoreland in Jamaica, is a former 100m and 200m sprinter, and Clarendon-born Barrington Brown, Bella's father, with a background in running and jumping, have passed down their love for the sport. "Bella Brown is from a track family. I ran. I was a 55/200m runner. 11 seconds in the 100m, 23 in the 200m. Her dad was also a runner and a jumper, so I would say it's in her blood," Sandra remarked.

However, Bella's dreams reach beyond mere victories on the track; she aspires to become an Olympian. Sandra expressed, "Bella wants to be an Olympian, yes. I don't know how far she wants to take it if she wants to be the fastest woman in the world one day, but she definitely wants to go to the Olympics."

As for Bella's potential representation on the global stage, Sandra said she is leaving the decision to her daughter: "If she continues on her path that she's currently on, I don't know who she will represent. Not sure she'll represent the USA or Jamaica, but we'll always leave that up to her. We want her to represent Jamaica; that's where we're from."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The LSU track and field program has signed South Plains College sprinter Gregory Prince, Head Coach Dennis Shaver announced on Wednesday.

“LSU is surrounded with champions and that’s where I want to be,” said Prince.

The Spanish Town, Jamaica, native will arrive to LSU with plenty of experience at a young age. Prince specializes in the 400 meter and can get it done across 200 meters also. Currently he holds personal-best times of 45.70 seconds in the 400m and 20.92 seconds in the 200m.

At last year’s NJCAA Outdoor Championships he was able to record a collegiate personal-best time of 45.85 seconds to finish sixth. He also helped the 4×100-meter relay team to a third-place finish and a time of 39.76 seconds. Indoors, Prince finished 12th in 2023 at the Championship with a time of 21.40 seconds.

The former St. Jago High School student helped Jamaica to a silver-medal finish last year at the NACAC U23 Championships with a squad time of 3:19.66.

In high school Prince was the 2022 ISSA/Grace Kennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships Class One champion across 400m, winning with a time of 45.99 seconds.

At LSU, Prince joins fellow Caribbean athletes Jaiden Reid of the Cayman Islands, Jaden James of Trinidad and Tobago and Jahiem Stern of Jamaica on the school's men's roster.

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