In an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV, University of Arkansas Head Coach Chris Johnson revealed that Jamaican long sprinter Nikisha Pryce, the 2024 NCAA champion, has not yet peaked this season, despite her outstanding performance at the NCAA National Outdoor Championships.

Pryce, 23, clocked a lifetime best of 48.89 seconds on Saturday, setting the fastest time ever run by a Jamaican woman and briefly holding the world lead before Sydney McLaughlin's 48.75 at the New York Grand Prix on Sunday.

Pryce's 2024 season has been nothing short of spectacular. Entering the year with a personal best of 50.21, she managed to run four lifetime bests—50.13, 49.72, 49.32, and finally 48.89—culminating in a historic performance at the NCAA Championships. However, Johnson believes Pryce's best is yet to come.

"Well, obviously she hasn't peaked yet. I mean, she's still training. She's still training hard right now, so she'll be ready to go," Johnson said. "We plan for this. Keep ahead to keep it motivated. She's run fast. We didn't say, 'Oh, we're gonna just try to peak at NCAA.' She ran fast, that's impressive, but no one wants to sneeze on 48, but I just think that she has more in the tank."

Johnson outlined a strategic plan to prepare Pryce for the upcoming Jamaica National Championships later this month and ultimately, the Olympic Games in Paris this summer.

"First of all, we're doing some active recovery stuff for the next three or four days, and then we'll start to ease back into training just to be able to let her body recover mentally and physically and emotionally. We've got to make sure that we take good care of her and have her go when the time comes," Johnson explained.

Pryce's immediate focus is on the Jamaican trials, which she must navigate successfully to secure her spot for Paris. Johnson stressed the importance of not taking anything for granted.

"She's going to do the trials, obviously. We don't have any plans for the circuit just yet. I'm sure we'll try to get something before Paris, maybe one race before Paris, but right now, it's really just retooling her, getting her ready, getting her refocused. Obviously, we take the trials very seriously, so we got to take care of that business," he said.

"We don't want to assume anything as pertains to that. And then after that, we'll prepare for the road, maybe one race before the Paris games," he concluded.

As she continues to train and refine her skills, all eyes will be on Pryce to see just how far she can push the boundaries of her potential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roshawn Clarke’s world junior record set during the semi-finals of the 400m hurdles at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest last August has been ratified by World Athletics.

Clarke, 19, enjoyed a phenomenal breakthrough season in 2023, culminating with a world U20 record and a fourth-place finish at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23.

At the start of the year, his PB stood at 49.35, which he set en route to taking bronze at the 2022 World U20 Championships. He broke his lifetime best in mid-May, then made two further revisions at the senior Jamaican Championships in July, clocking 48.91 in the heats and 47.85 in the final on 7 July, the latter equalling the world U20 record set by USA's Sean Burrell on 11 June 2021.

His progress continued at the World Championships. After advancing through his heat, he went on to finish second in his semifinal in a world U20 record of 47.34 – a time that would have been good enough for gold at many past editions of the championships.

In the final one day later, Clarke finished fourth in 48.07 and beat some of the best 400m hurdlers in the world.

Ackera Nugent, the NCAA 100m hurdles champion, has made a significant decision in her athletic career. Despite still pursuing her degree, Nugent has chosen to go professional and embark on a new chapter in her journey as a track and field athlete.

Balancing her athletic aspirations with her commitment to education, Nugent remains determined to excel both on the track and in the classroom.

"I'm staying in school because I feel like getting my degree is very important. But I felt like me going back to college was not needed anymore because I've accomplished everything that I wanted to accomplish," Nugent said after confirming her four-year deal with the German sports apparel manufacturer.

"So the decision between me and my coaches was to take the next step to fulfill my purpose in sports. So we made the decision of going professional."

While completing her degree in Advanced Communication, Nugent will also dedicate herself to professional athletics. She recognizes the significance of continuing her education while pursuing her dreams on the track.

Nugent's decision to go professional signifies a new and exciting phase in her career. Guided by her trusted coach, Chris Johnson, Nugent has honed her skills and experienced remarkable growth as an athlete. Johnson's expertise and support have been instrumental in Nugent's development, allowing her to reach new heights in her discipline.

"I have had a huge growth, not only as an athlete but also as a person, and I think that played a major factor in making the transition from Baylor University to Arkansas, where Coach (Chris) Johnson has a lot of experience in getting athletes to where they need to go and knowing how to fix the little things," Nugent shared.

Her journey under Coach Johnson's guidance has been fulfilling, despite the challenges that come with pushing one's limits.

Following the collegiate indoor season, Coach Johnson revealed that Nugent also possesses great potential as a 100m sprinter but as she embraces the professional realm, she maintains a clear focus on the 100m hurdles.

While her versatility allows her to excel in other events, Nugent and Coach Johnson agree that channeling her energy into the hurdles will yield the best results.

“Coach Johnson wants me to trust my speed between the hurdles and I haven’t really reached my maximum potential with that yet,” explaining that running the flat race helps her with her speed.

“He’s trying to make me get comfortable with my flat speed and stuff like that. And, he’s like when you finally hit 10 (seconds) you’ll understand what it feels like to be faster between the hurdles, but it’s a learning experience. I am going into the professional world and I am a rookie.”

The 21-year-old made her first Jamaican senior team to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August after finishing second in a time of 12.67 behind Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper, who crossed the finish line in 12.64.

Danielle Williams, the 2015 World Champion qualified for her sixth World Championships appearance when she finished third in 12.82.

Coach Travis Geopfert of the University of Arkansas had every reason to be elated as his star jumpers, Wayne Pinnock and Carey McLeod, delivered outstanding performances at Jamaica's national championships on Saturday. Pinnock secured a remarkable victory with a leap of 8.32m, while McLeod claimed the third spot on the podium with a commendable mark of 8.20m. Both athletes showcased their exceptional talent and skills before their home crowd.

In a post-competition interview, Coach Geopfert expressed his satisfaction with the overall performance of his athletes. He acknowledged the challenging conditions caused by swirling winds but commended McLeod's ability to adapt and make adjustments to his approach, resulting in a solid jump.

"I was happy the way Carey worked on the transition of his approach and got a decent jump in at the end because it was a little all over the place," Geopfert shared.

"Turning his attention to Pinnock, Coach Geopfert couldn't contain his pride and admiration for the athlete's consistent excellence.

"I've been coaching for a long time, and I've never seen a 27-foot jump (8.23m) into a minus-two wind. I'm telling you, he's a special kid and really coachable," Geopfert remarked, highlighting Pinnock's exceptional abilities.

As both Pinnock and McLeod continue to impress with their performances, Coach Geopfert emphasized the importance of maintaining a balance between training and competition as they approach the World Championships in Budapest in August.

"If there's a good opportunity (to compete) half-way in between, we'll do something, you know? If there's not, I'm not going to force it. We'll try to mimic stuff in practice. I think we do a really good job of that," Geopfert explained.

Looking beyond the national championships, Coach Geopfert shared his aspirations for Pinnock and McLeod as they prepare for the upcoming World Championships. He emphasized that their participation in the national championships was merely a stepping stone towards their ultimate goal of winning medals on the global stage.

 

Kingston's National Stadium witnessed a stunning performance by the relatively unknown sprinter, 21-year-old Kishane Thompson, as he blazed through the preliminary round of the 100m event at Jamaica's national track and field championships last Thursday. The crowd was left astounded by Thompson's remarkable time of 9.91 seconds, which not only surprised onlookers but also raised speculation about his absence from the semi-finals the following day.

Addressing the confusion surrounding Thompson's absence, Stephen Francis, the celebrated coach of MVP Track Club, shed light on a carefully crafted plan that accounted for the sprinter's limited participation at the national championships. Francis, renowned for nurturing the careers of track sensations such as Asafa Powell, Nesta Carter, and Michael Frater, unveiled a strategy designed to gradually shape Thompson into a formidable force on the world stage.

"He is fine. He trained this morning (Saturday.) It was always the plan for him to focus this year on running one-round races," Francis revealed in an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV. "In his previous two years with us, he struggled with injuries, running only four 100m races in that time and never participating in the national championships. Therefore, we decided that he should run one round here, deliver an impressive time, and then focus on competing in 'one' races in Europe. If he is required for relays, he will be available."

What made Thompson's performance even more intriguing was that Francis believed he could have achieved an even faster time during the preliminary round if not for the mismanagement of the event by the organizers.

According to Francis, athletes in the outer lanes of the 100m straight were unable to hear the starting gun due to a malfunctioning speaker, which disadvantaged runners from lanes six to eight throughout the heats. Thompson ran in lane eight. Despite presenting evidence of the issue, the organizers failed to rectify the situation.

While Thompson's time of 9.91 seconds was impressive, Francis emphasized that it fell short of their expectations, attributing it to the organizers' incompetence. However, he expressed confidence in Thompson's ability to run significantly faster in optimal conditions.

"He would have run significantly faster, but the most important thing is that he feels healthy and can look forward to the rest of the summer," Francis explained. "Our plan is to ensure that next year, in the Olympic year, he will have the necessary racing experience and a different attitude to tackle the full program."

Thompson's sensational performance has thrust him into the spotlight, leaving fans eagerly anticipating his future endeavors. As part of Francis' meticulously devised plan, Thompson will continue to compete in carefully selected races across Europe this summer, honing his skills and building his experience. The coach's expertise and guidance will undoubtedly shape Thompson into a potent contender in the sprinting world.

In an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV, MVP Track Club's iconic coach, Stephen Francis, has firmly closed the door on the possibility of five-time Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah returning to the club.

Thompson-Herah's career has faced a downward spiral since her departure in October 2021, and despite public opinion suggesting a reunion could revive her floundering fortunes, Francis emphatically stated that she would not be welcomed back. To be clear, despite her current struggles, Thompson-Herah has never publicly expressed any interest in returning to MVP.

Thompson-Herah's extraordinary accomplishments at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, where she secured the sprint double with record-breaking performances, solidified her status as one of the greatest sprinters in history. However, her decision to leave MVP Track Club shortly after her Olympic triumphs left many questioning her motives and the impact it would have on her career.

Explaining her departure back then, Thompson-Herah highlighted her desire for personal growth and the need to take charge of her own destiny. She expressed gratitude for the support she received in her earlier years but emphasized the importance of making choices that aligned with her best interests. "What I want for myself, to better myself, was not provided. So, I have to find ways to get it done," she said, reflecting on her decision to move on.

Coach Stephen Francis, a renowned figure in the track and field world, responded to inquiries from Sportsmax.TV about Thompson-Herah's potential return to MVP Track Club. His answer left no room for ambiguity. "No. The way she left and the comments that she made and the fact that she has yet to accredit any member of the MVP staff who paid her a lot of attention and went through a lot of sacrifice to get her healthy enough to run and to do what she did in 2021," Francis stated, clearly outlining his reasons for refusing her return.

Francis continued, expressing his disappointment that Thompson-Herah failed to acknowledge the efforts of the MVP staff, instead attributing her success solely to her husband and other factors. "She didn't say anything about that from MVP. No, that never sits well with us. Even if she had said, ‘Thanks, to MVP. You know, I'm really grateful, we would have been fine. But right now I would take back any of my former athletes but not her, No," he emphasized.

The public had hoped that a reunion between Thompson-Herah and MVP Track Club would reignite the spark that had propelled her to Olympic glory. However, Francis's unwavering stance has shattered those hopes. With Thompson-Herah's career floundering in recent years, the absence of her former coach's guidance and support poses significant challenges for her future endeavors, especially in light of her recent signing with Puma.

Thompson-Herah now faces an uphill battle as she seeks to reclaim her position at the top of the sprinting world. Without the familiar structure of MVP Track Club and the guidance of Coach Francis, she will need to dig deep to find the motivation and resources necessary to revive her career.

 

 

 Jaydon Hibbert, the reigning NCAA Indoor and Outdoor triple jump champion, is set to showcase his extended run-up of 14 steps on Sunday, July 9, the final day of the highly anticipated Jamaican National Championships this weekend.

After a remarkable season that saw him shatter records, the 18-year-old Hibbert is now determined to fine-tune his technique and timing before the upcoming World Athletics Championships in Budapest next month.

Hibbert, who previously achieved extraordinary results using a 12-step run-up, stunned the athletics world with his extraordinary performances. The young talent leaped to a record-breaking NCAA Indoor distance of 17.54m, setting a new world under-20 indoor record in the process. He continued his dominance by achieving a world-leading distance of 17.87m, which also secured him the world under-20 and Jamaican national under-20 records. His exceptional achievements led to him being named NCAA Field Event Athlete of the Year and SEC Field Event Athlete of the Year.

Heading into the national championships, Jaydon Hibbert's coach, Travis Geopfert, spoke about the transition to a longer run-up. Geopfert emphasized that the focus would be on perfecting Hibbert's rhythm and timing, rather than aiming for immediate spectacular results. The coach expressed his satisfaction with the progress made so far and highlighted the importance of competition experience in fine-tuning the new technique.

On a recent Zoom call, Geopfert explained, "You can expect him to work on his rhythm and timing. That's what you can expect. He's excited to give the 14-step approach a try. It's about finding that timing, and this championship provides a great opportunity for that."

When asked about Hibbert's limited number of jumps this year, Geopfert emphasized the calculated decision made to prioritize the athlete's freshness and long-term well-being.

The former Kingston College long jumper executed just 20 of a possible 45 jumps in an unbeaten run during the collegiate season.

 With the triple jump being physically demanding, coupled with Hibbert's age and potential in the long jump, the decision was made to limit his competition appearances.

"We felt it was in his best interest to focus on one event this year. With growth spurts and transitioning into college, it was crucial to manage his workload and reduce the risk of injuries. Jaden has been incredibly coachable and executed the plan with precision," Geopfert said, expressing gratitude for his athlete's commitment.

Looking ahead, Jaydon Hibbert's remarkable performances have placed him in a commanding position as he prepares for the world championships in Budapest. Although his world-leading status remains intact, the competition he faces at the world championships – assuming her qualifies - will feature athletes who possess the potential to challenge his marks.

That has not been a concern for the coach, who also conditions Hibbert’s compatriots, long jumpers Wayne Pinnock and Carey McLeod.

“We haven’t talked specifically about that. We talked about execution of what he’s trying to do,” Geopfert said. “You cant control what other people are going to do and he’s off the mindset to just go out there and compete.

“I mean that is what makes these athletes great. All these athletes that we’re coaching, they’re elite and they not only have talent but they have the ability to compartmentalize and focus on the task at hand. That’s the only way you really become elite.”

Come July, it will be five years since Natoya Goule set a national record of 1:56.15 over 800m in Monaco. Goule, 32, a two-time World Championship finalist might just have to break that record if she is to be on the podium in Budapest this summer.

This year, however, she might be closer than ever before given her performances so far this season. The 1:58.23 she ran in Paris on June 9, which makes her tied for third-fastest woman in the world this year, provides a glimpse into what could just be Goule's best season in her storied career.

“My season is heading into the right direction because this is the fastest (800m) time I have ever run so early in June,” she told Sportsmax.TV.

The eight-time Jamaica national champion reveals that despite being injured earlier in the season, a laser-focused approach on racing outdoors underpinned by improved training methods implemented by Coach Mark Elliott have been reaping the rewards, saying, “I worked more in the gym and my coach and I worked on my sprint mechanics. I did a lot of Olympic lifting compared to previous years.”

The improved training manifested in the form of the 51.76 she ran in the 400m at the American Track League meet in Atlanta last weekend. It is her fastest 400m time since she ran a lifetime best 51.52 in El Paso, Texas, 12 years ago.

She has also taken on other a different approach tactically and mentally from her past experiences that she believes will serve her well going forward this season.

“Trusting myself and being patient in the race,” she said. “Being an athlete, self-doubt will occur sometimes and I just need to trust myself more with the pacing of the race knowing that I am prepared for this and I am ready to accomplish my goal.”

With the national championships fast approaching, Goule has yet another opportunity to show Jamaica and the world that she could be a medal contender at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

University of Texas at Austin Coach Eldrick Floreal is confident that sprinter Kevona Davis will be a strong contender at Jamaica's national championships next month. Despite facing criticism and doubts from fans, Coach Floreal believes in Davis's progress and her ability to overcome past challenges.

Davis, who ran wind-aided times of 10.98 and 22.02 at the recently concluded NCAA Division 1 National Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas, is expected to vie for a spot on Jamaica’s team to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August and Coach Floreal believes that after prior failures the former Edwin Allen High School star will be ready to compete this year.

 I think Kevona is going to be ready. The goal this year is to go to the Jamaican championship and compete. She has not competed (previously). She's showed up and participated. She's going to compete,” Floreal said of his athlete who boasts personal bests of 10.95 and 22.23, in the 100m and 200m, respectively.

“She's going to actually run what she's running now in the (NCAA) championships, and its maturity.”

Coach Floreal acknowledged the skepticism surrounding Davis's development but dismissed it considering the clear steps forward she has been taking. He addressed concerns by highlighting the unique approach they have taken to accelerate her progress, acknowledging that it didn't always go as planned.

"I've taken quite a bit of flak from Jamaica, and in true Jamaican fashion, I said, 'Me no care. I don't care.' My job is to help this young woman," Coach Floreal explained, emphasizing his commitment to supporting Davis.

The coach recognized that Davis had struggled with confidence issues and made mistakes in previous competitions. However, he emphasized that these were normal errors and not indicative of a lack of talent. Coach Floreal attributed them to a lack of self-belief and the pressure of competition.

"One of the most difficult things is to identify a step process that goes backward. Most people coach forward. I coach backwards," Coach Floreal explained his coaching philosophy. He shared that he envisions Davis reaching her full potential and then works backward to determine the necessary steps. This method, although unconventional, aims to ensure a solid foundation for sustained growth.

Davis's lack of confidence and occasional mistakes in competitions are areas Coach Floreal has been focused on. He believes that her experiences in the NCAA and Jamaica have impacted her mental state, and his role as a coach is to rebuild her belief in herself.

Reflecting on Davis's progression, Coach Floreal highlighted the ups and downs she has faced throughout her career. He mentioned specific instances where her confidence took a hit, such as false starts and disappointment in previous races. Despite these setbacks, he emphasized that Davis has shown resilience and an ability to bounce back, slowly improving over time.

The coach shared some behind-the-scenes efforts to nurture Davis's mental strength, such as dedicating additional training sessions and reassurance to rebuild her confidence. He stressed the importance of taking the necessary time to help athletes mature, comparing it to shifting gears in a car, where skipping steps can lead to stalling.

“No matter how bad Kevona's had a rough road, she's always come back. She's always comes back every year, done a little bit better, a little bit better, a little bit better,” he said emphasizing that Davis is making the steps necessary to be the best she can be.

“If you have ever driven a car, a stick shift. If you go from the first gear to the third gear, everybody knows what happens. The car starts and cuts off. You have to go to the second gear. You have to match up the second gear and then shift to the third gear. And sometimes these gears take time because they have been unable to comprehend what the coach wants.

“But she has to develop. Everybody wants 10.7 now. You're not getting that right now because there's a lot of things I need to fix before I even get there.  If you're a really qualified coach, you understand that you're going to have to take time and sometimes go backwards to come back forward. It's not like instant oatmeal, some of this stuff takes time.”

Coach Floreal expressed his satisfaction with Davis's progress and is optimistic about her readiness for the upcoming Jamaican national championships.

In conclusion, Coach Floreal acknowledged that talent alone is not enough to succeed in the highly competitive world of athletics. He emphasized the importance of mental fortitude and the ability to handle the pressures of the sport independently. With Davis's continuous growth and unwavering determination, Coach Floreal believes she has what it takes to make her mark at the national championships and beyond.

Shericka Jackson credits patience and trust as the main pillars behind her success in 2022 and believes she could potentially be even better in 2023.

Jackson, the 2022 World 200m champion and the second fastest woman of all time over the distance, had an outstanding year in which she won her first individual world title and was the NACAC 100m champion. She also won Jamaica’s 100 and 200m titles in 10.77 and 21.55, respectively.

Along the way she achieved a new personal best of 10.71 in the 100m. Only her compatriot and friend Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce with seven times under 10.70s ran faster in 2022.

The 21.45 she ran to win the gold medal in Eugene, Oregon, was a new national record and championship record. Only Florence Griffith-Joyner of the USA (21.34) has run faster.

Her patience, she said, and trust in her coach, made all the difference last year after coming off injury in 2020 when stress fractures in her shins threatened to derail her promising career.

“For me, last year it was about being patient, trusting yourself and trusting your coach and I think I did just that and it actually paid off very well,” said Jackson, who was runner-up to Fraser-Pryce at the recent RJR Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards.

Both athletes shared the prize as top track and field athletes for 2022.

For the coming season, Jackson said she is excited about the coming season and once she remains healthy, she believes she could go even faster in 2023 as the lessons of last season should have a significant bearing on what comes next.

“Coach and I have been working really hard on the parts of the race that I needed to be fixed and I think we are getting there step by step, no rush,” said Jackson, who ran 10.73 for the 100m silver medal in Oregon last season.

“Last year, I think I was being very impatient in wanting to get the start right and putting a lot of pressure on myself. So this year, coach and I sat and we had a conversation. It’s just about being patient and I think I will get there eventually.”

 

Jevaughn Powell and Candice McLeod were crowned 400m champions on Sunday’s last day of the 2022 Jamaican National Athletics Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Running in rainy conditions, Powell, a finalist at the NCAA Championships earlier in June, produced a late burst in the final 50 metres of the race to produce 45.50 to win ahead of Nathon Allen (45.64) and Anthony Cox (45.65).

McLeod, a finalist at the Tokyo Olympics last year, produced a strong season’s best of 50.29 to win ahead of Stephenie Ann McPherson (50.49) and Charokee Young (50.76).

There was an upset in the Women’s 800m as eight-time national champion Natoya Goule ran 2:00.83 for second behind Chrisann Gordon-Powell (2:00.35). Adelle Tracey ran 2:01.18 for third.

National record holder and NCAA Championships silver medallist Navasky Anderson ran 1:48.53 to win his first national title ahead of Kimar Farquharson (1:49.36) and Tarees Rhoden (1:49.89).

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson all safely advanced to Sunday’s Women’s 200m final as action continued on day three of the 2022 Jamaican National Senior Athletics Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday.

The three 100m medalists from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics all looked extremely easy to win their semi-finals in 22.54, 22.68 and 22.85, respectively.

Jackson, who secured the 100m title on Friday, looked especially easy, completely shutting down in the last 100m of the race.

Natalliah Whyte (23.05), Ashanti Moore (23.21), Kevona Davis (23.33), Jodean Williams (23.21) and Dominique Clarke (23.29) will join them in the final.

Meanwhile, 100m Champion Yohan Blake led all qualifiers to the Men’s final with a season’s best 20.20 to win his semi-final ahead of Andrew Hudson (20.23).

2020 Olympic finalist Rasheed Dwyer will also contest Sunday’s final after producing 20.35 to win his semi-final ahead of Nigel Ellis (20.45).

Mario Heslop (20.52), Riquan Graham (20.66), Jazeel Murphy (20.67) and Antonio Watson (20.74) complete the line-up for the final.

NCAA Championships silver medalist Charokee Young (50.19), 2020 Olympic finalist Candice McLeod (50.85), Stacey-Ann Williams (50.87) and 2013 World Championship bronze medalist Stephenie Ann McPherson (50.67) led all qualifiers to the Women’s 400m final.

The men were led by Jevaughn Powell (45.38), Anthony Cox (45.43), Nathon Allen (45.52) and Akeem Bloomfield (45.59).

The qualifiers for the Women’s sprint hurdles final were led by Britany Anderson (12.45), Megan Tapper (12.61), 2015 World Champion Danielle Williams (12.59) and Demisha Roswell (12.84).

Reigning Olympic Champion Hansle Parchment (13.24), Orlando Bennett (13.27), Rasheed Broadbell (13.29) and 2016 Olympic and 2017 World Champion Omar McLeod (13.36) led the qualifiers to the Men’s 110m hurdles final.

In the field, 2019 World Championship silver medalist Danniel Thomas-Dodd threw 18.79m to win her seventh national title ahead of Lloydricia Cameron (16.96m) and Danielle Sloley (15.98m).

Wayne Pinnock added to his NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles earlier this season with a personal best 8.14m to win the Men’s long jump ahead of defending World Champion Tajay Gayle (7.97m) and Shawn-D Thompson (7.88m).

 

 

Newly crowned Jamaican national 100m Champion Yohan Blake expects Jamaica to be back in contention for gold in the Men’s 4x100m at the World Championships in Eugene to be held from July 15-24.

“The 4x100 is looking great,” he said in an interview after running 9.85, his fastest time in a decade, to claim the national title ahead of Oblique Seville (9.88) and Ackeem Blake (9.93).

“Our sprinting is up there again and we’re looking to challenge the world again,” Blake added.

The retirement of Usain Bolt after the 2017 London World Championships signaled a shift in the balance of the Men’s 4x100m relay at major championships.

Jamaica’s men won the 4x100m gold at three straight Olympics (2008-2016) and four straight World Championships (2009-2015).

The 2017 and 2019 World Championships and the 2020 Olympics all saw Jamaica fail to medal in the event but with Blake returning to his best and the rise of youngsters Seville and Blake, the sixth and eleventh fastest men in the world this year, the 2011 World 100m Champion expects things to go back to normal in Eugene.

Jelani Walker (10.00), 2014 Commonwealth Games 100m Champion Kemar Bailey-Cole (10.10), and Conroy Jones (10.10) finished fourth, fifth and sixth in the final and are expected to round out the relay pool.

Olympic 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson sent shockwaves through Kingston’s National Stadium on Friday with a blistering 10.77 to win the Women’s 100m on day two of the 2022 Jamaican National Senior Athletics Championships.

Jackson, who stomped her feet in joy after the race, finished ahead of NCAA Championships 100m silver medalist Kemba Nelson who ran a personal best 10.88 for second while defending double Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson-Herah was third in 10.89.

Meanwhile, 2011 World 100m Champion Yohan Blake turned back the clock to secure the Men’s title in a time of 9.85, his fastest time since 2012.

Pre-meet favorite Oblique Seville ran 9.88 for second while Ackeem Blake was third in a new personal best 9.93.

Elsewhere, Jaheel Hyde successfully defended his title as national 400m hurdles champion with a 48.51 effort to narrowly finish ahead of Kemar Mowatt (48.53) while Shawn Rowe ran 49.66 for third.

The Women’s equivalent was won by Janieve Russell in 53.63 ahead of Shiann Salmon who ran a personal best 53.82 for second. 2019 World Championship bronze medallist Rushell Clayton was third in 54.20.

Andrenette Knight, who entered the final as the third fastest woman this year with a 53.39 effort in Nashville on June 5, was leading the event after six hurdles but failed to finish the race after unfortunately clipping the seventh and falling to the track.

 

Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah legitimately feared missing out on a chance to defend her Olympic titles because of a longstanding, ongoing injury issue.

The athlete finished third in both the 100m and 200m at last month’s Jamaica National Championships but admits for a few weeks leading up to the event she was not sure she could have taken part.

The 29-year-old said that leading up to the national trials, she suffered from an Achilles injury that earlier forced her to withdraw from the Gateshead Diamond League event that she was scheduled to compete in on the 23rd of May.

“It’s that same Achilles injury, it’s been bothering me for almost five years now…it’s not that bad for surgery but it’s overworked I guess, so I have to monitor it properly, Thompson-Herah revealed.

The athlete put in a dominant performance at the Rio Olympics five years ago, where she won gold in both sprint events and silver in the women’s 4x100m relay.

The result at the national trials might not have been exactly what she wanted, but Thompson-Herah maintains she is grateful that she managed to at least finish third in both events, and with that securing the chance to win back-to-back Olympic titles.

“It’s been a challenging month, over the last month I have been in a lot of pain. I drew God closer and said God I am talking to you now, help me to do this at the trials,” Thompson said.

“I spoke to my coach and asked coach ‘will I be able to go to the trials?’ because I was in so much pain. But, I can’t complain, I am not frowning I am smiling through my pain, I have made my second Olympics and I am super excited, the work has to go on.”

Despite the fact that she was hampered by the injury, Thompson-Herah knows that she had to work that much harder, as the competition to secure spots on the team remains fierce.

“A lot of females are out here, and they are hungry for the Olympics, it’s the Olympics, everybody wants to go to the Olympics. I am the reigning Olympic champion, so everybody wants to get to that line (first), myself included.”

As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games inches closer, quizzed about her expectations, Thompson-Herah insisted she would not be placing any pressure unnecessary expectations on herself, as she focuses on herself and her well-being.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t put any pressure on myself, my main focus is me and my health, I just put in some more work, reset and refocus.”

 

 

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