Jamaica asserted its dominance in the 400m hurdles at the Carifta Games at the Kirani James Stadium in Grenada on Sunday, clinching victory in three out of the four finals. Amidst the impressive performances, Michelle Smith from the US Virgin Islands stood out with her stellar run, setting the track ablaze with her speed and precision.

In the U17 Girls 400m hurdles, Nastassia Fletcher of Jamaica secured her second gold medal of the games with a time of 1:00.10. Despite strong competition from Darvinique Dean of the Bahamas, who finished in second place with a time of 1:00.66, and Jenna-Marie Thomas of Trinidad and Tobago, who claimed the bronze with a time of 1:01.03, Fletcher's determined effort propelled her to a commanding victory.

Meanwhile, in the U20 Girls 400m hurdles, Michelle Smith delivered a dominant performance, clocking an impressive time of 56.28 seconds. Her swift and commanding run left spectators in awe as she crossed the finish line ahead of her competitors. Kelly Ann Carr of Jamaica secured the silver medal with a time of 57.02 seconds, while Aaliyah Mullings, also from Jamaica, claimed the bronze with a time of 59.80 seconds.

In the Under 17 Boys 400m hurdles, Robert Miller of Jamaica made history with a remarkable performance, setting a new championship record with a time of 52.19 seconds. His electrifying run, saw him finish well ahead of Akanye Samuel-Francis of St. Kitts and Nevis, who finished in second place with a time of 52.88 seconds, and Fransico Williams of Jamaica, who secured the bronze with a time of 53.19 seconds.

While Jamaica's dominance was evident in three of the races, the Boys 400m Hurdles Under 20 saw a fierce battle between Jamaican athletes. Shamer Blake emerged victorious with a time of 51.21 seconds, closely followed by his compatriot Princewell Martin, who finished just behind with a time of 51.34 seconds. Dorian Charles of Trinidad and Tobago also delivered a commendable performance, securing the bronze medal with a time of 52.70 seconds.

In a thrilling conclusion to the Under 20 Boys Long Jump final at the 51st Carifta Games, held at the Kirani James Stadium in Grenada, Jamaica's Rickoy Hunter delivered a breathtaking performance to snatch the gold medal in the closing moments of the morning session on Day 2.

 Throughout the competition, Hunter had remained in third place, trailing behind the leading mark set by Bernard Kemp of The Bahamas. However, as the event neared its conclusion, Hunter seized the opportunity to showcase his belief and determination. With his final attempt, he unleashed a remarkable leap, soaring out to a distance of 7.48m.

 Hunter's last-minute heroics propelled him into the top spot, surpassing Kemp's leading mark of 7.40m.

Unfortunately for Kemp, who had held the lead for much of the competition, his hopes of victory were dashed as he fouled his final attempt, ending any chance of reclaiming the top position.

 Amidst the dramatic showdown between Hunter and Kemp, Teon Haynes of Barbados also delivered an impressive performance, earning the bronze medal with a leap of 7.32m.

 

 On the morning of Day 2 of the 51st Carifta Games in Grenada, the Bahamas and Jamaica asserted their dominance early, clinching gold medals in impressive displays of athleticism.

The Bahamas  added to the two gold medals they won on Saturday as Taysha Stubbs, a 17-year-old rising star, secured the gold in the Under 20 Girls Javelin event. With a remarkable throw of 50.94m, Stubbs  out-performed her competitors. Her compatriot, Vanessa Sawyer, clinched the silver with a commendable throw of 43.03m, adding to the Bahamas' medal haul. Grenada's Alliah Gittens rounded off the podium with a bronze medal, reaching a distance of 42.33m.

Meanwhile, Jamaica also celebrated success as Kimeka Smith triumphed in the Under 20 Girls Shot Put. Smith delivered a strong throw of 13.68m, securing the gold medal for her country. The Bahamas' Annae MacKey demonstrated her skill with a throw of 13.58m, earning the silver medal. Briana Smith from the Cayman Islands displayed her talent with a throw of 12.86 meters, claiming the bronze medal.

Brenden Vanderpool of Bahamas and Guadeloupe’s Jackie Henrianne Hyman were in record-breaking form in the boys’ pole vault open and girls’ Under-20 discus finals respectively, as they topped the field event performers on the evening session of the 51st Carifta Games at Kirani James Athletics Stadium in Grenada on Saturday.

Vanderpool, who was always favoured to retain the title, needed only three jumps to confirm his championship status, as he entered the competition at 4.70m and later cleared 5.10m and the record height of 5.30m –all on his first attempts.

He attempted to go higher at 5.49m but failed. Tyler Cash (4.45m) also of Bahamas was second, with Martinique’s Lucas Ledoux (4.10m) in third.

Meanwhile, Hyman became the first Under-20 girl to go over 55.00 metres in the history of the Games, as she had a winning heave of 55.06m, which bettered the previous record of 54.19m set by Jamaica’s Fiona Richards in 2017.

In fact, Hyman had earlier erased the previous record with her third throw of 54.24m, but she went further on the following attempt to stamp her class on the field. Jamaica’s Dionjah Shaw (50.26m) and Najhada Seymoure (48.82m), were second and third respectively.

Elsewhere in the field, Jamaica’s Shaiquan Dunn and Chad Hendricks produced a one-two finish in the boys’ Under-20 discus final to add to the country’s tally.

The Jamaicans were positioned first and second from the very first throw, with Hendricks leading up to the fifth attempt, which is where Dunn took over the gold medal position.

Dunn’s winning heave of 61.47m came on his sixth and final attempt, but prior to that, he had a 59.66m, which would have also secured the top spot.

Hendricks for his part, had his best throw of 58.73m on the fifth attempt, as he fouled on his final throw, while the bronze went to Antwon Walkin (52.77m) of Turks and Caicos Island.

Another Jamaican duo Richelle Stanley and Dejanae Bruce finished first and third in the girls’ Under-20 triple jump final. Stanley, who missed out on the gold medal at the recently-concluded ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championship, viewed this Carifta Games as a shot at redemption and she duly capitalised.

The St Elizabeth Technical standout achieved the winning leap of 12.58m from her very first jump and was never to be denied from there. Trinidad and Tobago’s Keneisha Shelbourne was second at 12.49m, with Bruce’s 12.20m on her third attempt, good enough for bronze.

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Jamaica’s athletes swept the girls’ and boys’ Under-17 400m races, with the Under-20 events going to Guyana, as action continued on the opening day of the 51st Carifta Games at the Kirani James Athletics Stadium in Grenada on Saturday.

Nastassia Fletcher of Jamaica finished tops in the girls’ Under-17 event, as compatriot Nickecoy Bramwell topped the boy’s Under-17 event in a championship record, while the impressive Guyanese duo of Tianna Springer and Malachi Austin were a cut above rivals in the Under-20 events.

Fletcher started the series with a tidy 54.32s-clocking to win the girls’ Under-17 event ahead of the fast-finishing Keyezra Thomas (54.59s) of Bahamas, with Antigua and Barbuda’s Tyra Fenton (54.89s) finishing third.

Bramwell then followed suit, as he successfully defended his boys’ Under-17 title. The smooth striding athlete had the field beaten from 200m out, but pushed himself to stop the clock in 47.27s, which lowered Usain Bolt’s 47.33s Championship Record set in 2002.

Kemron Mathlyn (47.96s) of Grenda and Eagan Neely (48.16s) of the Bahamas were the runners-up.

Meanwhile, Springer the Under-17 champion from last year, produced a breathtaking performance to top the girls’ Under-20 final in personal best 52.31s. She closed well to better the Jamaican pair of Abigail Campbell (52.85s) and Shaquane Williams (53.03s).

Austin, a Commonwealth Youth Games silver medallist, then brought the curtains down on the series, as he also produced a late charge to win in a new personal best 46.35s. He denied Jamaica’s Marcinho Rose (46.59s), with Joshiem Sylvester (46.93s) of Grenada in third.

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Jamaica’s athletes registered a clean sweep of the boys’ and girls’ Under-17 and Under-20 1,500m titles, as they continued their impressive start to the 51st edition of the Carifta Games at the Kirani James Athletics Stadium in Grenada on Saturday.

The Jamaicans enjoyed one-two finishes in the girls’ Under-17 and Under-20 races, with another one-two finish coming in the boys’ Under-20 race, while boys’ Under-17 event produced a one-three finish.

Dallia Fairweather and Alikay Reynolds got things going in the girls’ Under-17 event where they utilised strategy to outclass their Trinidad and Tobago counterparts, who tried to stick with them.

At the end, Fairweather won in 4:45.86, ahead of Reynolds (4:46.14), with Trinidad and Tobago’s Shian Lewis (4:48.58) taking bronze.

Patience was also proved rewarding for Jamaica’s Shemar Green in the boys’ Under-17 event, as he timed his race to perfection to cut down longtime leader Wyndel Beyde of Aruba in the stretch run. Green won in 4:11.91, with Beyde (4:12.80) staying on for second ahead of another Jamaican Sekani Brown (4:15.21).

In the girls’ Under-20 event, Rickeisha Simms, also produced a later burst to win gold in 4:31.94 and add to her title won in 2022. Her compatriot Kaydeen Johnson, who led for most of the way was second in 4:32.49, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Kaleigh Forde (4:41.71) was third.

The Jamaican sweep was completed by Kemario Bygrave, who ensured that he completes his final year of the competition with a gold. He stopped the clock in 3:58.10, ahead of compatriot Jaquan Coke (3:58.38), with Bermuda’s Jake Brislane (3:58.83) taking bronze.

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Louisiana State University (LSU) Sophomore Brianna Lyston produced a sizzling 10.87w (2.6 m/s) to finish second overall at the 2024 Battle on the Bayou at the Bernie Moore Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Saturday.

Lyston, who earlier this season claimed both the SEC and NCAA Indoor 60m titles, produced her first sub-11 time to finish in a close second behind Favour Ofili of Tiger Olympians who won in 10.85.

McKenzie Long of Ole Miss was third in 10.89.

Interestingly, this was Lyston's first 100m race since the Class One final at the 2022 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships.

Elsewhere, LSU’s Jahiem Stern ran 13.43 for third in the men’s 110m hurdles behind the Texas A&M pair Jaqualon Scott (13.34) and Connor Schulman (13.42).

Mississippi State’s Tyrese Reid ran a personal best 1:45.76 for second in the men’s 800m won by Texas A&M’s Sam Whitmarsh in 1:44.46.

Marcus Dropik of Ole Miss ran 1:47.82 in third.

In the field, Kentucky’s Luke Brown produced 16.40m to take the win in the men’s triple jump ahead of Ole Miss’s Iangelo Atkinstall-Daley (15.25m) and Georgia’s Zavien Wolfe (14.84m).

Jamaica’s Jamelia Young copped the country’s second medal of the 51st edition of the Carifta Games, as she topped rivals in the girls’ Under-17 shot put final at the Kirani James Stadium in Grenada on Saturday.

Young, who is more known for her discus prowess, achieved a winning heave of 14.25m on her fourth attempt, which represents a significant improvement on the 13.33m she threw when winning at the trials.

The 16-year-old Clarendon College standout won ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s Peyton Winter (14.21m) and Terrell McCoy (14.11m) of the Bahamas.

Jamaica heads the medal standing with two gold medals so far, as Zavien Bernard also topped the girls’ Under-17 high jump final.

Antigua and Barbuda have one gold courtesy of Maleik Francis’s record-breaking win in the boys’ Under-17 javelin throw, while Trinidad and Tobago (one silver and one bronze), Bahamas (one silver and one bronze), St Kitts and Nevis (one silver) and Grenada (one bronze), also secured medals in the opening session.

The evening session is scheduled to begin with the Opening Ceremony at 1:30pm Jamaica time.

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Antigua & Barbuda’s Maliek Francis is the first record-breaker at the 51st Carifta Games after producing a dominant performance on the way to gold in the Under-17 Boys Javelin at the Kirani James Stadium in Grenada on Saturday.

Francis had fairly moderate throws of 54.06m and 58.70m in the first two rounds before unleashing a record-breaking 68.84m in the third round.

He produced a second throw north of 60m, 62.39m to be exact, in round five on the way to a comfortable victory on day one of the meet.

St. Kitts & Nevis’ Jaheem Clarke threw 56.09m for silver while Grenada’s Delorn John threw 54.70m for bronze.

The previous record 64.31 was done by Bahamian KeyShawn Strachan in 2019.

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While it was not her most fluent series of jumps, Zavien Bernard held her composure well enough to cop Jamaica’s first gold medal of the 51st Carifta Games, as she topped the Under-17 girls’ high jump at the Kirani James Stadium in Grenada on Saturday.

Bernard, who entered the Games in superb form after clearing 1.83m to win gold at the recently-concluded ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships, couldn’t replicate that clearance, but did enough to finish tops in the end.

After failing first time at 1.55m, the 15-year-old Bernard got into rhythm and had first time clearance at 1.60m, 1.65m, 1.68m, with the winning leap coming first time at 1.71m. She later failed in her attempt at 1.74m.

“I am extremely happy because this is my first time representing the national team. It’s a bit disappointing that I didn’t go higher, but I had to pull myself together because I knew my team needed this. The other competitors pushed me a little, but I am used to this, and I actually expected myself to win this event,” Bernard, who attends Hydel High said after the victory.

The Jamaican faced stiffed competition from silver medallist Alexandria Komolafe (1.71m), who cleared all the heights on her first attempt and seemed well on her way to victory, before she clipped the bar first time at 1.71m, which opened the door for Bernard to snatch victory.

Tenique Vincent of Trinidad and Tobago was third with a clearance at 1.68m.

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Two-time double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah says training is going well ahead of her bid to defend her titles in Paris later this year.

The 31-year-old has switched camps this season and is now training under Reynaldo Walcott, who also coaches 3-time Olympic champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

“It has been great. My schedule has changed with a different system and different coach so I’m just trying to get accustomed to that and I think I’m in a good place right now and I’m happy about that,” Thompson-Herah said in an interview with Citius Mag.

The early part of Thompson-Herah’s 2023 season was hampered with injury.

In an interview with SportsMax.tv after her 100m season opener at the JAAA All Comers Meet at Jamaica College on June 24 last year, Thompson-Herah explained how her training had been hampered so much because of constant pain, going as far as to say her persistent injuries almost caused her to quit the sport entirely.

“Honestly, I’m feeling good despite the fact that I’ve been out so long. It has been a challenging one but, I still hang on. I almost gave up but I have faith and I came out here to just test my body to see where I’m at. My training has not been how I wanted it to but, the fact that I missed so much and came out here and ran 11.23 today, I’m just grateful,” she said after the race.

“People see us on the track all the time but they don’t know what comes behind that. I cried most mornings when I was driving home in my car because I see that I’m working hard and I’m not getting the results I want. I was on the verge of giving up, honestly, but God spoke to me and said ‘you cannot give up right now because I took you this far,” she added.

Nine months later, Thompson-Herah says she feels good heading into the season and is focused on remaining healthy before anything else.

“I feel good. It’s like if you have a car and have to service the car. My duty is to make sure that my body is fine-tuned and always ready for the goal. The key focus is to always stay healthy. The time doesn’t matter right now. What matters is getting through each race fit and healthy. Once I have that, the time will come after. The aim is always to break a world record and defend my title,” she said.

“For me the mindset is I have to be strong and have to be positive. Push out those negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones. It’s all about getting my workout done each day. Once that is done, I pray to Christ and I’m happy. The key that I walk with every day is believing in myself,” she added.

Having won the sprint double at the last two Olympics in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2021, Thompson-Herah was asked if she feels any pressure to complete the three-peat in Paris this year.

“Only time I ever feel pressure is if I have an injury. The pressure is trying to wonder how can I fix this injury fast to make to the Olympics and to make it to the Olympics, we have to go to national trials and once I have that ready I think I’m good. For now, just stay focused and healthy,” she said.

 

 

Arkansas alum Shafiqua Maloney clocked a meet record time of 2 minutes, 0.25 seconds during Thursday’s session at the 96th Texas Relays, breaking the record set by Razorback alum Crishauna Williams in 2017.

In a two-section 800m final, Maloney led the field through a 400m split of 58.44 and covered the second lap in 1:01.81. She bettered the meet record of 2:02.25 by two full seconds in her opening race of the outdoor season.

Maloney holds the national record for St. Vincent and the Grenadines with a 1:59.94 she set at the end of her 2023 season. This indoor season, she improved her national record to 1:58.69.

Houston’s Kelly-Ann Beckford was the top collegian in the 800m, placing second in 2:02.88. Razorback Sanu Jallow finished third in 2:03.66, which places her No. 6 on the UA all-time outdoor list. Ainley Erzen (2:10.12) and Analisse Batista (2:10.17) were 14th and 15th.

In the first section of the 800m, a crew of 400m sprinters and hurdlers training in Fayetteville raced. A close finish had Alexis Holmes (2:06.72) edging out Jamaica’s Andrenette Knight (2:06.88) as they placed sixth and eighth overall. Gianna Woodruff (2:15.13) and Anna Cockrell (2:15.17) also had a close finish.

It was the final day of the 2024 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships, a momentous occasion for Jamaican athletics. But amidst the roar of the crowd and the thunder of racing feet, there was another spectacle unfolding – the unveiling of Puma's latest kit for Jamaica's athletes destined for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris.

The cutting-edge kit adorned the bodies of a number of Jamaica's greatest elite athletes. Among them, the fastest woman alive, the two-time defending Olympic sprint double champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, defending 110m hurdles champion Hansle Parchment, 100m hurdles bronze medalist Megan Tapper, Rushell Clayton, Janieve Russell, Asafa Powell, Stacey-Ann Williams and Kemba Nelson among others. Parading around the track, the athletes in their newly-fashioned were cheered on by the appreciate crowd of about 20,000. 

For José van der Veen, Global Head of Product, Track and Field at Puma, the journey towards crafting these kits was deeply rooted in the essence of Jamaican athleticism. "Jamaica has always been a key federation for us," she remarked, her eyes alight with passion. "We've always used them as our main muse, inspiration not only from a performance level but also from a stylistic level."

Drawing inspiration from the nation's obsession with speed and agility, Puma set out to create a collection that would not only embody the spirit of Jamaican athletes but also push the boundaries of performance and style. "The performance and the technologies that we've incorporated in these products are state of the art," van der Veen added, pride evident in her voice.

But it wasn't just about performance – it was about style, about evoking the essence of speed with every stitch and seam. "Our muse is our athletes. They evoke speed on the track, and that's what we wanted our kits to feel like,” Noelani Ramos, Global Lead Designer, Track and Field at Puma emphasized. “We wanted it to kind of complement them while they perform on the track. We wanted our lines to contour their bodies. They so disciplined, they train so hard, we wanted it to really highlight their physique.”

Working hand-in-hand with athletes like 400m hurdler Rushell Clayton, Puma meticulously crafted each element of the kit, ensuring that it not only looked dynamic but also enhanced performance. "We wanted to evoke the talk of the crowd," Ramos continued. "Something that's dynamic on the track, with high cut lines around the brief area...that moves with the body."

But performance wasn't the only consideration – sustainability played a crucial role in the design process. "We can't sacrifice the sustainability element of it," van der Veen emphasized. With materials made from regenerated nylon sourced from ocean fishnets and water bottles, Puma ensured that every stride taken in their kits was a step towards a greener future.

Clayton expressed her joy to have been included in the creative process. "It feels amazing to be part of the process," she exclaimed. "When you put this gear on, it gives you confidence, just to know it fits so well, it sitting in the right parts of your body, it’s not moving where it’s not supposed to move. It’s amazing to know that they put so much work and thought into it.”

 

 

 

The just concluded 2024 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Athletic Championships (Champs) were a stage for triumph and glory but behind every victory on the field, there lay a tale of dedication, support, and the belief in the potential of young athletes.

At the forefront of this narrative stood the 'Future Champions' initiative, a collaborative effort between GraceKennedy Money Services (GKMS) and Western Union (WU), aimed at nurturing talent, providing equal opportunities, and promoting youth development through sports. With a generous donation of JMD$2.5 million spread across 14 schools—one per parish—'Future Champions' set the stage for greatness.

Among the stars of this initiative was the Sydney Pagon STEM Academy from St. Elizabeth. Their remarkable improvement over the previous year's performance was a testament to the impact of the initiative. With both their male and female teams increasing their points tally, Sydney Pagon STEM Academy was not just a school but a beacon of hope for young athletes. Luke Plummer's historic bronze medal in the Boys Class 3 800m marked a milestone for the school, igniting a flame of inspiration that would burn bright for years to come.

Not far behind was Herbert Morrison High from St. James, whose athletes displayed sheer determination and skill. Finishing 11th in the competition with 28 points, an improvement over the previous year, Herbert Morrison High showcased their prowess on the field. Santino Distin and Tavaine Stewart's bronze medals in the Boys Class 1 High Jump and Boys Class 2 100m respectively were a testament to their hard work and dedication.

Bellefield High from Manchester added to the tapestry of success with Rhodonna Prince's bronze medal in the girls Class 2 1500m. Their tally of 18 points spoke volumes about their talent and determination.

But perhaps the true essence of 'Future Champions' shone through the inspiring story of Rhianna Lewis from Rhodes Hall High. Despite facing adversity, Rhianna's courage to finish the 400m hurdles after a fall embodied the spirit of perseverance and determination that the initiative aimed to foster.

Grace Burnett, CEO of the GraceKennedy Financial Group and President and CEO of GKMS, beamed with pride as she reflected on the achievements of these young athletes. "The success of our 'Future Champions' at Champs 2024 is a testament to what can be achieved when we invest in our youth," she exclaimed. "These remarkable young athletes have shown that with the right support and opportunities, they can compete at the highest levels and excel."

The 'Future Champions' initiative not only enhanced the schools' athletic facilities and resources but also instilled a sense of pride and achievement among their students.

Jamaican sprinter Shericka Jackson and Dutch 400m hurdles star Femke Bol will be among the headline stars at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Stockholm on June 2nd.

Two of the biggest stars in women's track and field will be in Wanda Diamond League action in Stockholm on June 2nd, with reigning series champions Shericka Jackson and Femke Bol set to compete at the BAUHAUS Galan. 

Jamaican sprint star Jackson is defending both the 100m and 200m Diamond League titles in 2024, having made history with her double victory at the final in Eugene last season. 

Jackson not only joined an elite group of athletes who have won two Diamond Trophies in a single season, but also became only the second woman ever after Colombia's Caterine Ibargüen to win two Diamond League titles on successive days. 

Dutch one-lap ace Bol has dominated the 400m hurdles since in recent years, winning three titles and 20 individual races since she burst onto the scene in 2020. Fresh from her world-record-breaking world 400m indoor title in March, she will be aiming for a fourth Diamond League title and a first ever Olympic gold this summer. 

The Wanda Diamond League is the premier one-day meeting series in athletics. It comprises 15 of the most prestigious events in global track and field. Athletes compete for points at the 14 series meetings in a bid to qualify for the two-day Wanda Diamond League Final in Brussels on 13th-14th September.

 

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