Andrenette Knight went into Jamaica’s National Senior Athletics Championships on Thursday as the fastest Jamaican woman in the world over the 400m hurdles this year.

Janieve Russell entered this season short on confidence. Years of injury resulted in disappointing performances that saw her missing out on individual representation for the last seven years. That all changed on Friday night when she won the national title in the Women’s 400m hurdles at Jamaica’s National Senior Athletics Championships in Kingston.

Trailing Andrenette Knight, who is the fastest Jamaican woman in the world this year, with less than 100m to go, the 28-year-old Russell seized on the moment after Knight hit the ninth hurdle and fell. Russell stormed through to pass Shian Salmon and win in her fourth national title in a season-best 53.63. She said afterwards it was good to be back on top once more.

“It is really refreshing and it shows that you should never give up,” she said.

“Of course, I had some doubts coming into the season. I am saying to myself since 2015 I haven’t made a world championships team in an individual event I was a bit worried but I put in the work. I am confident and I am a lot stronger than last year and faster.

“I just went out there and execute and the execution wasn’t as perfect as my coach wanted it to but I was glad I was in the top three.”

The 2018 Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles champion said winning has boosted her confidence, especially in light of the fact that her injury issues are seemingly behind her.

“It has given me a lot of confidence,” she said of the victory.

“This is the first season I can remember that I haven’t had any major injuries. I did start the season with some little niggles but nothing that kept me out of training so I feel really good; words can’t explain but for the World Championships I am just going out there to represent.”

There is still work to be done if she is to improve over the next three weeks before the championships begin in Oregon on July 15.

“I believe I am really ready. When I go back to training we will look back at the video to see where I went wrong and see what I need to strengthen and what I need to change. I know there is a lot to change,” she said.

 

Natoya Goule is hopes to run a fast time when she takes to the track for the 800m final at Jamaica’s national senior championships at the National Stadium in Kingston on Sunday. However, she expects to unleash her best time for the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon next month.

The 31-year-old Goule, a finalist at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan in 2021, holds her country’s national record of 1:56.15 but has run a best time this season of 1:59.31 in Oslo on June 16. But even though she doesn’t expect to be challenged as she goes for a ninth consecutive title on Sunday, she expects to perform well.

“Now is a good time to target a time in a race like this where you control the race,” she said, “because sometimes you are in other races and you are not able to control the race like you want to so if I want to run a time I need to just go and do it.”

The national record holder also revealed that she has been working on a new race strategy that will result in her finishing on the podium in Oregon in July. In some races this season, she has run from the front while in others she has tried to run on from behind. So far this season, that has been a work in progress, she said.

“Well, in some of the races it was but for one particular race, it was not planned. It just happened. I think it was Rome, it was not planned. There was a lot going on at that time but it showed me I can still run from the back even though I wasn’t able to go as fast as I wanted at that time, it still showed that I can run from anywhere and I was able to dip under two minutes so that showed something but I was really trying to work on different strategies throughout the season in some races,” she explained.

“I just have to be ready on that day, be super fit and be able to execute my race properly and make sure I don’t overdo it and then I will be able to run faster.”

That said, she was non-committal about whether Jamaica would see elements of that developing strategy come Sunday but believes her best time is yet to come this season.

“My coach and I haven’t really spoken about my race plan as yet but we definitely want to run a good time so I think I will probably have to take it out,” she said.

“I am in the shape for that but let’s see what will happen because it is not easy running that by yourself. I think it is going to come between now and worlds because when I ran my PR it was in July. I always run my fastest in July so for me, July is the time.”

The 2022 World Championships begin on July 15.

 

While pleased with her three consecutive sub-11 times including a new personal best in the 100m at Jamaica’s National Senior Championships, Olympic gold medallist Briana Williams was ‘annoyed’ by a 25-minute delay at the start of the 100m final which she believed had an effect on her performance.

Williams ran a new lifetime best of 10.94 to finish fourth just missing out on individual representation at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Oregon in mid-July. In the race where the start was delayed by more than five minutes because of technical challenges being experienced by the starters, Shericka Jackson won her first national 100m title clocking a fast 10.77 while Kemba Nelson finished second in a new lifetime best of 10.88.

Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah was third in 10.89, just ahead of the 20-year-old Williams.

“I had a new PB, I am grateful. I had a great start. My end was pretty bad but it was a great race nonetheless,” Williams said afterwards, indicating that the delay had a major impact.
“A lot, it was very irritating.”

She revealed that she is also thankful to be able to perform as well as she did, given some challenges that she has had to face so far this season.

“This year hasn’t been the best. Indoors went pretty well but I am still going on with my season,” she said as she looks forward to donning the gold, black and green in Oregon as a member of Jamaica’s relay squad next month.

Expect the unexpected!

That’s the word from 2021 World U20 champion Ackera Nugent, who was responding to a question about who she thinks will emerge victorious in the 100m hurdles at Jamaica’s National Senior Championships that get underway at the National Stadium in Kingston on Thursday, June 23.

Nugent, who turned 20 in April, will miss the championships because of injury but is already on the mend as she targets a triumphant return to the track for her junior year at Baylor University. As the second fastest Jamaican woman in the world this year, Nugent will be missed but the field that will assemble is stacked.

Among the women contending for the top three spots will be Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Megan Tapper, 2015 World Championships gold medalist Danielle Williams, who is also the 2019 bronze medallist, 2022 Big 12 Conference Champion Demisha Roswell, Britany Anderson, Crystal Morrison, and Trishauna Hemmings among others.

However, Nugent perhaps one of the most talented hurdlers in her country’s history, was not willing to put her neck on the block given how keenly contested Sunday’s final is expected to be.

“Well, the hurdles is an event that you can’t really have expectations on it because anything can happen in those 12-13-seconds of the race,” she reasoned.

“So it’s a thing where you have to expect the unexpected.”

She does expect to be back better and stronger than ever for the coming 2022/2023 NCAA season.

Mere days after running a personal best 12.45 to finish second to Roswell at the Big 12 Championships, Nugent, citing injury, shut down her season in early June. It was a decision that meant that she would miss the NCAA Division I Outdoor Championships in Oregon as well as Jamaica’s National Championships where she was expected to be among the athletes making the team to the World Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, where the NCAA Championships were also held.

She revealed the circumstances that led to her decision.

“I had been having ankle problems this season more than normal but I was able to compete but at regionals, running the 4x100m I tore my plantar fascia (the thick tendon that connects the heel and the toes) and it was really bad,” she recalled.

Despite the injury, she said, she soldiered on, which made things worse.

“Knowing me as somebody that’s like ‘I have a next race to go do, let’s knock it out the way. I took some pain killers and I wrapped my leg up and went out there to compete and when I realized in the race it was getting really bad I slowed up and was still able to make nationals and then I looked and saw how swollen my foot was and I was like ‘I don’t think I have enough time to recover and make it for nationals’ so I decided to close my season down.”

As it stands, she is now able to walk and can run a little but thinks it best to give herself time to heal ahead of next season. “I don’t think it’s a smart decision to run so now I will be focusing on recovering, rehabbing and getting stronger. I have enough time to get better, to get stronger so I will be ready for next year,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

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