The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange, has announced a significant contribution of  JMD$10 million (approximately USD$64,000) from the Sports Development Foundation to support the staging of the inaugural Jamaica Athletics Invitational Meet, scheduled to take place at the National Stadium in Kingston on May 11, 2024.

Minister Grange expressed full support for the Invitational, highlighting its importance in providing athletes with a platform to assess their status and make necessary adjustments ahead of upcoming competitions, including the Olympics.

"This Invitational Silver Continental Category Meet, as per World Athletics Standard, will allow athletes and coaches to accurately assess their status and make the necessary adjustments to achieve the preferred results in good time for the upcoming Olympics," Minister Grange stated.

She emphasized the significance of hosting international athletes from the Caribbean, United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe, fostering healthy competition and camaraderie among participants.

Minister Grange extended a warm welcome to all athletes and emphasized the dual focus on performance and positive social interactions during the meet.

"Competitions of this calibre force all athletes to participate at peak performance while forging positive social interactions and camaraderie. So while great focus will be placed on the performances, an after party awaits you," Minister Grange added enthusiastically.

The Jamaica Athletics Invitational Meet has already confirmed participation from international stars such as World Indoor Champion Julien Alfred of St Lucia, Dina Asher Smith from Great Britain, 2022 World 100m champion Fred Kerley, Trayvon Brommel, and rising triple jump star Jaydon Hibbert.

With the support from the Sports Development Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the inaugural Jamaica Athletics Invitational promises to be an electrifying event, showcasing top-tier athletic talent and promoting the spirit of sportsmanship and competition.

“Let the games begin!” the Jamaican sports minister declared.

LSU Head Track Coach Dennis Shaver has bold aspirations for Brianna Lyston, aiming to mold her into a sprinting powerhouse akin to Jamaican legends Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah. However, he emphasizes the importance of patience as Lyston continues her journey towards greatness.

 "My goal over her career here at LSU is to make her an elite 100m sprinter because I think that as a professional track and field athlete, your ability to earn money is better in the hundred than it is being a 200m," he explained.

“But it's still in the early stages. We need to get to where she's just a beast all the time because that's like Shelly Ann, that's like Elaine Thompson. Those people that are just durable and you can always count on them.”

Following Lyston's impressive performance at the Battle of the Bayou, where she clocked a blistering 10.87s (wind 2.6m/s), the fastest time ever recorded for an opener by a collegiate woman under any conditions, Coach Shaver remains optimistic about her development. Despite her recent accolades, the experienced coach  stresses the importance of steady progress and physical development, underscoring Lyston's growth in strength since joining LSU.

"In the shorter sprint races, we had her pretty well prepared. She's been accelerating quite well, and her top-end speed, obviously, has always been pretty good. But I think the biggest change for her, in her development at this point, is she's just physically a little stronger than what she was when she came in August," Coach Shaver told Sportsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.

"And I think it's made a big difference this year, her second year here. I was very patient with her last year because I know how talented she is and how important it is that we take good care of her and have her prepared for summertime, too."

In discussing Lyston's aspirations for the upcoming summer, Coach Shaver revealed her goal of securing a spot on Jamaica's Olympic team for Paris. This summer is especially important, and one of Lyston’s goals is to make Jamaica’s team for the Olympic Games in Paris, he shared.

To get on the team, she will have to run faster than she has ever done before. At the Jamaican trials, she will likely face three of the fastest women of all time in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson, the latter two over 200m as well.

Coach Shaver believes in Lyston's competitive spirit, sharing that she can run lifetime bests later this summer. "I think realistically, I'm more about consistency than what the PR time is. But I think if anybody, as a collegian, can consistently line up and run 10.90 on a fairly regular basis, then when you get towards championship time, or in her case, maybe the Jamaican trials, or maybe if she makes the team with Jamaica to represent in Paris, which is obviously probably one of her goals, is to be able to do that.

“And I think if we can just get the 10.90s on consistent basis, I think we can have her ready to run faster than that when we get to late into the summer.”

Highlighting the importance of patience in Lyston's journey, Coach Shaver emphasized injury prevention and physical development. "That's kind of been our outlook with everybody that's talented like her here at LSU. You know, we've always tried to show patience and give them a chance to mature," he remarked.

"I still think she has room for growth. And I think that's where the patience and the education part of how the training helps you overcome that also, when we're talking about, you know, strength training and so forth.

“She's a little fragile and so we've tried not to do too much with her, and especially last year. And I think now she's physically a little stronger, and I think she's gained confidence about the ability to be able to consistently run fast in more than one race. But, she's got a ways to go yet and I think this is an important season for her.

“This weekend we're competing and she's only going to run a four by one. But when we go to Tom Jones Florida the following week, if the weather's good, which it usually is, I think that'll be her 200m opener. I'm anxious to see what she runs in the 200m in a couple of weeks.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The track and field community, and indeed the entire nation, was left reeling by the sudden passing of beloved journalist and broadcaster Hubert Lawrence on February 23, 2024. Lawrence, known for his encyclopedic knowledge and unparalleled passion for sports, particularly track and field, had been a fixture in the hearts of many for years. His unexpected departure just before the Gibson/McCook Relays sent shockwaves through Jamaica and beyond.

In recognition of his immense contribution to the sporting world, GraceKennedy Ltd, the title sponsors for the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships, vowed to pay tribute to Lawrence during the event. True to their word, an emotional tribute unfolded during the Championships, featuring a heartfelt video presentation from colleagues and athletes alike, including GraceKennedy Ambassadors Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Hansle Parchment, and Briana Williams. The moving tribute was complemented by a musical performance from Alaine, accompanied by the St. Jago High School chorale.

However, the tribute did not end there. Frank James, CEO of Grace Foods Domestic, stepped forward to present a symbolic gesture of support to St. Jago High School, Lawrence's alma mater. A cheque for JMD$1 million was handed over to a tearful Mrs. Collette Pryce, Principal of St. Jago High School, to fund a legacy project in honour of Lawrence.

Speaking to Sportsmax.TV following the presentation, Mrs. Pryce expressed her gratitude for the generous donation and reflected on the profound impact of Lawrence's legacy. She described Lawrence as a "walking encyclopedia" whose wealth of knowledge and dedication left an indelible mark on all who knew him.

Mrs. Pryce also emphasized the importance of preserving Lawrence's memory for future generations. She mentioned the void left by Lawrence's passing and the community's determination to honor his memory in a meaningful way.

“It is a huge loss. Personally, I was with him the Wednesday (February 21), before he died. We had plans. One of the things I wanted to see was a book for our school for first formers to know the stories of St. Jago and Hubert had all the stories about all the headmasters, about all the characters and I think we have lost a lot because most of it was not recorded and there is this void that we’re feeling right now and we are hoping that someone can step up but the community is shaken.

“He never left St Jago, so we knew him and we are speechless and tonight (Saturday) was difficult. I have been getting the messages from the Diaspora, from persons in Jamaica and they really want to thank Grace for recognizing our school in honour of Hubert, we know that he would have wanted that and we will need time to think this through but it’s a huge loss.”

Mrs. Pryce revealed plans to form a committee comprising Lawrence's friends and family to ensure that any tribute truly reflects his greatness.

“St Jago is 280 years old this year and we are doing a number of activities and Hubert’s legacy is huge. For me, it’s larger than life, heroic and so for the next 280 years Hubert’s name, his work must be in the annals of St Jago High School.

“So, a committee will have to work on this, his friends, we would love for them to be involved in this along with his family, so that whatever we so will really recognize his greatness.”

 

Karen Mussington, Sponsorship and Events Manager at GraceKennedy, shed light on the company's decision to honour Lawrence and the emotional significance of the tribute. She recalled Lawrence's integral role in sporting events over the years, stating, "What is Champs without Hubert? Personally, I can't remember having Champs, other than this one, without hearing his voice."

She recounted the emotional response from Mrs. Pryce upon learning of GraceKennedy's intention to donate to St. Jago High School in Lawrence's honour, underscoring the deep impact of Lawrence's legacy.

“When I called Mrs. Pryce to tell her what our intention was, she cried,” Mussington stated while recalling how the tribute came together.

“We thought we would get persons close to him to talk about him, Bruce (James), Dwayne Extol, that looked up to him, our brand ambassadors. Shelly talked about him giving her the name ‘Pocket Rocket’, so we thought we’d just put together that tribute for him. It was well received by the stadium and then, not only the tribute, but to make this meaningful donation to his beloved alma mater, St Jago and we will be working with Mrs Pryce to get a project done in his honour.”

While details of the legacy project are yet to be finalized, Mussington hinted at its focus on sports in line with Lawrence's passion and St. Jago High School's active involvement in athletics. She assured that GraceKennedy would continue to collaborate with Mrs. Pryce to ensure that Lawrence's memory is honored in a meaningful and lasting way.

“We definitely want it in line with sports because that was him and St Jago is very active in sports, especially athletics. So we want to something down that line but we have to speak with Mrs Pryce. There will definitely be a part two to this, it is a meaningful story but whatever it is it is going to be in his honour.”

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Elite Jamaican sprinter Briana Williams has embarked on a strategic journey to enhance her track career by joining celebrated track coach John Smith's HSI training group in Los Angeles, California. The move comes as Williams gears up for her quest to secure a spot on Jamaica's team for the Paris 2024 Olympics, aiming to build on her impressive track record as an Olympic gold medalist and back-to-back World Championships silver medalist.

Expressing her enthusiasm for this new chapter in her career, Williams remarked, "I'm excited to join a new team and work with coaches who will help me reach my full potential. I've achieved a lot so far, but I know I can do even better with the right support and training. I'm looking forward to pushing myself and seeing how far I can go."

She expressed her gratitude to her previous coach Michael Frater stating, "I am extremely grateful to Coach Frater for the work he has done to help my progress so far this season and I wish him and the members of the Dynamic Athletics team the very best going forward.”

 Williams' decision to join Coach John Smith's training group is regarded as a strategic step towards realizing her long-term goals, which include vying for gold at future Olympics and World Championships. With her exceptional talent, experience, and unwavering determination, Williams is poised to leave an indelible mark in the world of track and field.

 As one of the most promising young sprinters globally, Williams has already established herself as a formidable force on the international stage. Her stellar performances have earned her recognition among the sport's elite, inspiring fans and fellow athletes alike with her dedication to excellence.

 With access to top-notch coaching and resources within her new training group, Williams is poised to refine her technique and elevate her performance to unprecedented heights. Her decision underscores her unwavering commitment to excellence and her relentless pursuit of greatness in the sport of track and field.

Smith has coach an impressive list of athletes in his career that has spanned decades. Among the luminaries he has coached are Ato Boldon (Williams' former coach), Olympic champion Maurice Greene, World champion Carmelita Jeter and Olympic champion Marie Jose Perec. He also conditions Marie Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast.

 

 

Former 100m world record holder, Asafa Powell, was bestowed with the prestigious 2024 Bleu & Bougie Superstar Award at a glittering ceremony held at Devon House in Kingston on Sunday. The esteemed award recognizes Powell's remarkable contributions to track and field, both locally and internationally, marking a crowning achievement in his illustrious career.

Bleu & Bougie and White Soiree En Blanc are popular events staged by Jamaicans in New York City.

Originally scheduled to receive the award on Saturday, Powell graciously accepted the honor on Sunday during the White Soiree En Blanc event, the second day of the Elite Weekend festivities.

Powell, hailed as one of Jamaica’s most decorated athletes, boasts an impressive track record of multiple Olympic and World Championships medals. His remarkable career culminated in his retirement from track and field in 2022, leaving behind a legacy of unparalleled speed and athleticism. Powell has run the 100m dash under 10 seconds, a world record 97 times.

Powell expressed his gratitude for being honoured by a Jamaican organization, especially within the New York Diaspora. "I feel blessed receiving this honour because it shows that I’ve done something legendary to be proud of," he remarked, reflecting on the significance of the recognition.

 

When asked about his career success, Powell spoke fondly of representing Jamaica on the global stage. "Wearing our national colours at the Olympic or World Championships gave me great joy and had the greatest impact," he reminisced, highlighting the standout moments of his illustrious career.

With the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships (Champs) about to begin in Jamaica on Tuesday, Powell revealed limited memories of his days competing at the prestigious 113-year-old high-school championships.

"My memories competing at Champs are not so many. The year I went, I was the only athlete from my school, and making the finals was a big achievement." Despite his limited experience, Powell expressed admiration for the event's enduring success, praising the new generation for carrying on its legacy.

Powell's last attendance at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships (Champs) was in 2022, as he shared that he visited Ghana in 2023. Expressing gratitude to Jamaicans in New York, Powell conveyed his heartfelt appreciation for the unwavering support he received from the diaspora throughout his career, acknowledging their enduring love and encouragement.

The Bleu & Bougie Superstar Award adds another accolade to Asafa Powell's illustrious career, reaffirming his status as a legendary figure in Jamaican track and field history.

Reigning Olympic 110m hurdles gold medalist Hansle Parchment has hinted that the upcoming Paris Olympics in 2024 could signal the beginning of the end of his illustrious athletics career. The 33-year-old, who stunned the world with his gold medal victory at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, shared his sentiments with Sportsmax.TV on Wednesday night, expressing uncertainty about committing to another four-year cycle.

"I’m not sure I want to go another four years; that’s a lot of time and a lot of hurdling, and hurdling is a little bit more taxing on the body than normal running, so I will see what the body has to offer. I’m trying to take the best care of myself to make sure that I can put my best foot forward each time," Parchment disclosed.

Despite contemplating the potential conclusion of his competitive journey, Parchment affirmed his commitment to maintaining his current training regimen. Adopting a laid-back Jamaican perspective, he humorously stated, "Well, dem say if it no bruk down, you nuh have to fix it. I intend to do the same things that helped me in previous years, so it’s just a matter of trying to put all of that together and get everything to work how it is supposed to work and giving my best each time I go out."

Reflecting on his performance at the World Championships in Budapest last year, where he secured the silver medal behind American rival Grant Holloway, Parchment admitted he was not at his best. However, he rebounded admirably, achieving a lifetime best of 12.93 weeks later to claim the Diamond League title.

For Parchment, hitting his peak at the right time in Paris is a paramount focus for the upcoming season. While he acknowledged the timing issue in 2023, he remains optimistic about refining his approach.

"Probably slightly. I would have hoped to be a little bit sharper a little earlier, but I am not upset. I am thankful that I could get a PR so long after running 12 several years ago, so hopefully, I get it a little closer this year," he commented.

As he gears up for the 2024 campaign, Parchment plans to open his season next month before embarking on the Diamond League circuit set to commence in the latter part of April.

Tokyo Olympics relay gold medalist Briana Williams is set to make waves this year as she gears up for an ambitious dual challenge – competing in both the 100m and 200m events. Speaking with Sportsmax.TV at the launch of the 2024 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston on Wednesday, Williams shared her plans for what she considers a pivotal year in her burgeoning career.

"This year is a very big year. I owe myself a lot. I am not thinking about what the crowd or people have to say; I'm doing it for me,” expressed Williams who has had to face her fair share of public criticism in recent times.

“I am doing this to raise the flag of Jamaica in Paris, and I am really focused on this year, doing everything I can to just give myself the glory and to fulfill the dream that I have had since I was little – to be in Paris. I really want to make myself, my mother, my family, my coaches, and Jamaica proud. I really owe it to myself, and I feel like I can do it."

At the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland that concluded last weekend, Williams produced times of 7.22 and 7.19, which saw her bow out at the semi-finals, a step back from her 2022 campaign in Belgrade where she was fifth in the finals in a lifetime best of 7.04.

Williams emphasized that she is not overly concerned about what happened in Glasgow as her primary focus this year is on returning to her best form in the 200m. Reflecting on her indoor achievements, she explained, “I wasn’t really preparing for World Indoors. I am opening up next week in the 200m (Velocity Fest) and I really want to focus on that this year because the 200 holds a special place in my heart because I feel like the last time I had a great 200m was in 2018 and that was when I really fell in love with it so I want to pick up back from there and continue to excel in the 200m.”

At the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, Williams won both the 100m and 200m, the latter in what was then a championship record of 22.50, which still remains a lifetime best for the soon-to-be 22-year-old.

To achieve her goals this year, Williams said she is also honing in ramping up her fitness.

"I am focusing on toning my body this year and being in the best shape of my life. It's not going to happen overnight, but I have been seeing the progress, and so we are just focusing on speed now, running these races and winning," she affirmed confidently.

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.

 

In a significant move to amplify her brand and broaden her horizons, Jamaican sprint phenomenon Briana Williams has officially signed with 7venz Media Agency. The announcement comes on the heels of her performance at the 2024 Millrose Games in New York, where she secured a fourth-place finish in the highly competitive 60m dash with a time of 7.25 seconds.

Turning 22 in March, Williams boasts an impressive athletic resume, including a gold medal as a vital member of Jamaica's 4x100m relay team at the Tokyo Olympics. Additionally, she clinched silver medals at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon 2022 and Budapest 2023 as a key contributor to Jamaica's formidable sprint squad.

Williams, who achieved the sprint double at the World U20 championships in Tampere, Finland, in 2018, expressed her excitement about the collaboration with 7venz Media Agency. "I'm elated to have such a talented and dedicated team supporting me. Their expertise and passion are unparalleled, and I'm confident that together, we'll achieve great things."

The media agency, known for its representation of World 100m hurdles champion Danielle Williams, warmly welcomed Briana to their esteemed roster. "Briana is an exceptional talent, and we're honored to be a part of her journey. Our team is committed to helping her build a strong brand and showcasing her unique talent to the world."

This strategic partnership marks a new chapter in Williams' flourishing career, providing her with the resources and expertise to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of sports and entertainment. As she continues to make waves on the track, fans can anticipate exciting developments and innovative projects in the coming months.

In a display of international athleticism, junior and senior athletes from five countries are gearing up for the highly anticipated 51st edition of the Gibson/McCook Relays scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 24, 2024. With participation confirmed from The Bahamas, Canada, St Kitts Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago, and the USA, this year's relays promise to be a thrilling spectacle at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Canadian teams are set to make a strong showing, with junior athletes representing the Brampston Racers and Flying Angels in the 4 x 100m and 4 x 200mh relays. Meanwhile, Bishop Anstey and Queens College from Trinidad & Tobago will field talented girls and boys teams in the sprint relays, including the 4 x 100m, 4 x 200m, and 4 x 400m events.

St Kitts Nevis is expected to make a mark in the high jump category, showcasing the diverse range of talents that will be on display. The Bahamas will be represented by a formidable 4 x 100m male club team, adding a layer of excitement to the relay competitions.

The USA teams are gearing up for intense competition, particularly in the sprint and mile relays, adding a strong international flavor to the event. These overseas athletes will join over 2,000 participants registered for the 51st staging of the Gibson/McCook Relays, making it a true celebration of track and field excellence.

One of the notable additions to this year's event is the introduction of the 4 x 400m mixed relays high school open event, bringing a fresh and exciting element to the competition. Schools participating in the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships scheduled for March 19-23 will also have the opportunity to earn qualifying standards for specific events.

The Organizing Committee has secured partnerships for 40 events, reflecting the collaborative effort to ensure the success and vibrancy of the Gibson/McCook Relays. The action is set to commence at 9:30 am, with the last thrilling race scheduled to begin at 8:50 pm, promising an entire day of track and field excitement.

 

 

On the eve of her special recognition at the Queens/Grace Jackson Invitational in Kingston, Jamaica, two-time world champion Danielle Williams showcased her prowess on the track at the Clemson Bob Pollock Invitational in the United States.

With her eyes set on making her first Olympic team later in the year, Williams took to the indoor track Friday evening and delivered an impressive performance in the 60m hurdles race. The two-time 100m hurdles world champion clocked a swift 7.89, securing the top spot and leaving her competition in the dust.

Clemson sophomore Oneka Wilson gave a commendable effort, running a season-best 8.09 to claim the second position. Chastity Pickett of Campbell finished third in 8.26, also marking a season's best for her.

For Williams, this was her only indoor meet of the season, signaling her transition to focus on the upcoming outdoor campaign. The victory not only added another triumph to her illustrious career but also served as a promising start to what could be a remarkable year for the Jamaican athlete.

 

A day later, in Kingston, Jamaica, the anticipation for Danielle Williams' recognition at the Queens/Grace Jackson Invitational reached its peak. The organizers honored her with a plaque, presented to her sister Velta Cole. The plaque chronicled Danielle's history, studies, and accomplishments, serving as a source of inspiration for the students at Queens High School, where Williams had been a past student.

Aneeke Brown, Chairperson of the meet organizer, shared the significance of the plaque, saying, “We presented it to her sister, a plaque chronicling Danielle’s history, her studies, and her accomplishments. One will go into the Queen’s School library so that the girls can see and aspire and be motivated, another will be sent to Danielle.”

Vice Principal of The Queen's School Mrs Trudi Morrison-Reid also participated in the presentation.

Williams was not the only Jamaican on the podium in South Carolina on Friday.

LaFranz Campbell was third in the men’s 60m hurdles. He ran a season’s best 7.65 in the race won by Dylan Beard who ran a fast 7.54 but just managed to hold off Cameron Murray, who clocked 7.55.

 

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) highlighted the Jamaica Athletes' Insurance Plan (JAIP) at the 10th annual staging of its Symposium at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel, in Kingston on Thursday.

The event was held under the theme, “Protecting Brand Jamaica Through Clean Sport”.

Participants at the symposium, included members of sporting associations and federations, professional groups, principals, coaches, sport administrators and athletes.

Speaking at the event, Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, The Honorable Olivia Grange said, “As Minister with responsibility for Sport, I am pleased to share with the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission and all its stakeholders once again at its annual symposium. This year is particularly special, as JADCO is celebrating its 15th anniversary, that is 15 years of promoting clean sport and protecting clean athletes in Jamaica and I wish you all could put your hands together and applaud JADCO for the way it has operated and what it has achieved so far.”

She added, “Today it gives me great pleasure to announce that effective February 1, 2024, in addition, to the existing schedule of benefits, both under the group health and group life portfolio, athletes will now be able to access accidental medical reimbursement in the sum of $100,000.00 for injuries sustained on the field of play, or in a motor vehicle accident.”

The Jamaica Athletes’ Insurance Plan is the Government’s Group Health, Group Life and Personal Accident Plan for all eligible national athletes.

Athletes eligible to be covered under the Plan must be a member in good standing with a national association or federation.

They must be enrolled in the national development programme for a specific sporting discipline and they must participate in at least two Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission workshops per year.

Also speaking at the symposium, Chairperson of JADCO, Debby Ann Brown Salmon said, “I trust you will use the knowledge imparted to make informed decisions. I also implore you to continue working in harmony with the Commission in attaining the title of ‘Premier World Class Anti-Doping Organisation’.”

She added, “The onus is not only on JADCO, but also athletes and support personnel to protect the integrity of sport and the health and rights of our athletes. Let us be guided by the theme, ‘Protecting Brand Jamaica Through Clean Sport’ in 2024 and beyond.”

Lavana Shorter, Public Relations and Marketing Manager, Portmore United Football Club said, “Education is key, as it relates to drugs in sport and I would like to encourage everyone that is associated with sport, administrators and athletes to take part in events such as these, because it is important that we know the stipulations and guidelines, as it relates to the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission.”

Dawn-Marie Richards, President of the Nurses Association of Jamaica said, “We, as a body, need to know what is happening with our athletes and for our athletes. Jamaica does well in terms of athletics and we would want to know that we are meeting the recommended criteria locally and internationally. For me, being here today was an eye opener. It is my first symposium, but it will not be my last. I see a role, especially for my organisation, where we can assist with testing and so on.”

The 2024 JADCO Symposium also included presentations on the functions and responsibilities of JADCO and the doping control process. The event has been held annually since January 2015 to facilitate continuous dialogue with athlete support personnel.

Jamaican long jump sensation Wayne Pinnock, fresh off his silver medal win at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, is gearing up for the Olympic Games in Paris with a resolute determination to secure the coveted gold medal.

Pinnock, a two-time NCAA champion from the University of Arkansas, narrowly missed out on the gold in Budapest despite an impressive world-leading leap of 8.54m in the preliminary round and another outstanding jump of 8.50m in the final. Greek athlete Miltiádis Tentóglou clinched the gold with a mark of 8.52m on the final jump of the competition.

Undeterred by the near miss, Pinnock is channeling his energy into becoming Jamaica's first-ever Olympic long jump gold medallist. The 25-year-old athlete has been diligently working with his coach, Travis Geopfert, focusing on technical aspects and sprinting improvements.

“In practice me and (coach Travis Geopfert) we are working on some, you know, technical stuff, and coming from last season to this season I have seen numerous improvements with my sprinting, and I am 25 per cent stronger. So we keep on working. And I told him that ‘you know coach, like something special coming this year for sure, and we just going to go for it,’” said Pinnock.

With a combination of patience, humility, and faith, Pinnock believes that the right time for his extraordinary performance is approaching. Reflecting on his experience in Budapest, where Tentóglou's final jump snatched the gold from his grasp, Pinnock acknowledges the Greek athlete's skill but is determined to claim victory in Paris.

“I knew he would have jumped far based on his first six pushes out of the back of his approach. When I saw it, I was like, yes, that's the one. So I saw him take off the board and I was like, yeah, that was a solid jump. But I never expected, expected to be that far. But he's a competitor, he's an Olympic champion and you got to pay a little respect; but you know for sure, I'm coming.”

The setback in Budapest has only fueled Pinnock's desire to improve further. He plans to get back to the drawing board, working hard, and coming back stronger for the Olympics. Training has been rigorous, but Pinnock is unwavering in his dedication to greatness.

"Honestly, I’ll just get back to the drawing board. Keep on working hard and come again for Olympics. Training has been going good, and also it's been very gruesome; it's been hard. I just been putting in the work. I'm in the gym doing my own stuff, that makes you great, and I'm gonna continue doing what I'm doing,” affirmed Pinnock.

The talented long jumper anticipates his return to competitive action sometime in February, setting the stage for what he believes will be a spectacular and victorious performance at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaica's 400m world champion, Antonio Watson, is gearing up for the challenge of a lifetime as he sets his sights on the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. The 22-year-old sprint sensation, who was recently named Jamaica’s Sportsman of the Year 2023, is not resting on his laurels and has outlined an ambitious goal – to dip below the 44-second mark in the 400m.

Watson, a former Petersfield High School star, made history in 2023 by becoming the first Jamaican in four decades to clinch gold in the one-lap sprint at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. His standout performance included a personal best of 44.13 in the semi-finals, followed by a stunning victory in the final with a time of 44.22. These times solidified his position as the third-fastest Jamaican ever in the 400m, tied with Nathon Allen, and trailing only Rusheen McDonald (43.93) and Akeem Bloomfield (43.94).

As Watson basks in the glory of being named Sportsman of the Year, he remains acutely aware of the challenges awaiting him in Paris. The return of formidable competitors, including the likes of Steven Gardiner, Michael Norman, Wayde van Niekerk, and Kirani James, means the road to Olympic success won't be an easy one.

Watson expressed his clear objective for the Paris Olympics, stating, “My objective is to dip below 44 seconds. So, for me, I'm just trying to stay focused and stay healthy and just work hard.” The young athlete is resolute in his determination to push himself to new limits in pursuit of Olympic glory.

Reflecting on his unexpected success at the World Championships in 2023, Watson admitted that his initial goal was simply to make the finals. However, after an impressive opening round, he saw an opportunity and decided to seize the moment. 

“After the first round, I said anything is possible because any card can play. So I just I just stay focused.”

Winning his first Athlete of the Year award adds to the motivation for Watson, who emphasized the significance of his parents witnessing the achievement.

“It is a big moment and I am glad my parents were here to witness it so it will keep me motivated and give me the strength to push forward.”

 

 

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