Janieve Russell successfully defended her title and Shiann Salmon took silver but a hoped-for clean sweep of the Women’s 400m Hurdles did not materialize at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games on Saturday.

It was South Africa’s Zeney van der Walt who played the role of a party crasher, unfurling a gritty, brilliant late run to deny the third Jamaican measured for the podium, Rushell Clayton, a place on the platform. 

Clayton had looked a lock for the medals early on, even leading the race at the top of the bend, just ahead of Russell.  Even after Russell surged past the three Jamaicans were well clear of the field with five metres to go but nobody saw van der Walt.  Clayton tied up badly just metres from the line and the South African surged past, her late run taking her almost into second spot. 

The Australian finished in 54.47 a new personal best and the same time as Salmon.  Russell finished well clear with 54.14 and Clayton further back in 54.67.

The Caribbean took gold and silver in the Men’s 110m hurdles at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Thursday.

Jamaica’s Rasheed Broadbell ran a personal best 13.08 to equal the Commonwealth games record, set by Colin Jackson in 1990, and win gold ahead of Barbados’ Shane Brathwaite (13.30) and England’s Andrew Pozzi (13.37). Olympic champion Hansle Parchment was scheduled to run out of lane three but didn’t turn up for the final.

In the 400m hurdles, Janieve Russell, Shiann Salmon and Rushell Clayton all advanced to the final.

Salmon and Russell ran times of 55.30 and 55.79, respectively, for first and second in semi-final one while Clayton took the second semi-final in 54.93.

Bahamian long jumper Laquan Nairn struck gold in the Men’s long jump with a distance of 8.08m, the same distance as Indian silver medallist Sreeshankar Sreeshankar while South Africa’s Jovan Van Vuuren finished third with 8.06m. Jamaica’s Shawn-D Thompson narrowly missed out on bronze after achieving 8.05m for fourth.

Jamaica's Traves Smikle threw 64.58m for bronze in the Men's discus throw behind Australia's Matthew Denny (67.26m) and England's Lawrence Okoye (64.99m).

The recently concluded 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene saw the Caribbean region grab the opportunity to represent themselves well on a global stage with both hands.

The region took home 17 medals in total including five golds, nine silvers and three bronzes with Jamaica leading the Caribbean medal count with 10 ahead of Grenada and the Dominican Republic who got two each while the Bahamas, Barbados and Puerto Rico all took home one apiece.

There were a number of standout performances throughout the 10 days starting with Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson.

Fraser-Pryce produced a championship record 10.67 to defend her 100m title and win her fifth in total. Fraser-Pryce also won her second 200m medal in her World Championships career, a silver in a season’s best 22.81.

Jackson ran a personal best 10.73 for silver in the 100m behind Fraser-Pryce and followed that up with one of the performances of the championships in the 200m. She produced a time of 21.45 to win her first global title and become the fastest woman alive over the distance.

Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah came third in the 100m in 10.81 to complete Jamaica's second consecutive 100m clean sweep at a major championship.

Fraser-Pryce, Jackson and Thompson-Herah then teamed up with Kemba Nelson to win silver in the 4x100m in 41.18 behind the USA (41.14).

We now move to the 400m where the Caribbean women swept the medals. Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo became the first female to complete the world event cycle (gold medals at the World Youth Championships, World Junior Championships, World Indoor Championships, World Championships and Olympics) by finally winning her maiden world title with a world-leading 49.11.

The Dominican Republic’s Marileidy Paulino, the world leader coming into the Championships, followed up her silver medal in Tokyo last year with 49.60 to claim silver once more.

Barbados’ Sada Williams produced a brilliant personal best and national record 49.75 to take home bronze, becoming the first Barbadian woman to win a World Championship medal.

In the men’s equivalent, Grenadian superstar Kirani James ran 44.48 for silver behind American Michael Norman (44.30). This was James’ third World Championships medal and first since 2015 when he won bronze.

Paulino was also part of the brilliant quartet that took the Dominican Republic to gold in the Mixed Relay. Paulino combined with Fiordaliza Cofil, Lidio Andres Feliz and Alexander Ogando to run 3:09.82 for gold.

Staying on the track, Jamaica’s Britany Anderson followed up on the promise she’s shown all season to secure a silver medal in the 100m hurdles.

Anderson ran a new national record 12.31 in the semi-finals before running a wind-aided 12.23 to secure the silver medal behind Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan who clocked an astounding 12.06 for victory after running a legal world record 12.12 earlier in the semis.

Puerto Rican Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn ran the same time as Anderson to take home bronze.

Jamaica picked up silver medals in both the men's and women's 4x400m relays. The men comprising of Ackeem Bloomfield, Nathon Allen, Jevaughn Powell and Christopher Taylor registered 2:58.58 to finish behind the USA (2:56.17) while the women with Candice McLeod, Janieve Russell, Stephenie Ann McPherson and Charokee Young produced 3:20.74 to finish behind the Americans (3:17.79).

In the field, Grenada’s Anderson Peters became only the second man to defend his javelin world title.

The 2022 world leader produced a best throw of 90.54m to successfully defend his title from Doha three years ago, replicating a feat only matched by Czech world record holder Jan Zelezny who won consecutive world titles in 1993 and 1995 before returning to top spot in 2001.

Peters produced an amazing series, registering 90.21m, 90.46m, 87.21m, 88.11m, 85.83m and 90.54m in his six rounds.

Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts produced a season’s best 14.89m to take silver in the women’s triple jump behind Venezuelan world record holder and Olympic champion Yulimar Rojas (15.47m).

Ricketts produced jumps of 14.89m, 14.86m, 14.37m, 14.40m, 14.62m and 14.80m for one of her best series of her career.

The region will be hoping for an even better showing at the 2023 World Championships scheduled for August 19-27 in Budapest, Hungary.

 

 

 

 

Newly minted national record holder Britany Anderson won the silver medal in a fast 100m hurdles final on Sunday’s closing day of the 2022 World Championships of Athletics at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Aided by a wind of 2.5m/s, Anderson, in her first world championships final, ran a fast 12.23 to finish in second place behind Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan, who clocked a ridiculously fast 12.06 to win the gold medal.

Amusan, who is coached by Jamaican Olympian Lacena Golding-Clarke, shattered the USA’s Kendra Harrison’s world record of 12.20 in the semi-final when she clocked a stunning 12.12s.

Harrison was second in the heat with a season-best 12.27 but the American was unable to handle the pace in the final and was subsequently disqualified after hitting a number of hurdles.

Anderson, meanwhile, broke Danielle Williams’ national record of 12.32 set in 2019, when she won her semi-final heat in 12.31 while holding off the Olympic champion, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who clocked 12.32.

Both women shared the time of 12.23 in the finals but Anderson was 0.005 seconds faster and hence awarded the runner-up spot.

Alia Armstrong of the USA was fourth in 12.38 while Cindy Sember who ran a new British record of 12.50 in the semis, clocked 12.41 for fifth.

Danielle Williams ran 12.44 for sixth with Devynne Charlton of the Bahamas running 12.53 for seventh.

Meanwhile, Jamaica’s men picked up their first medal of the championships when they finished second in the 4x400m relay. The USA won the gold medal in a world-leading 2:56.17 but the Jamaican quartet of Ackeem Bloomfield, Nathon Allen, Jevaughn Powell and Christopher Taylor – spared blushes for their male counterparts with a season-best 2:58.58.

Allen ran the fastest split on the second leg, 43.95 while Taylor completed the anchor leg in an impressive 43.98.

Belgium finished third in 2:58.72.

Jamaica’s women closed the championships with the third silver-medalist on the final day when they finished runner-up to gold medal favourites, the USA which ran a world-leading time of 3:17.79.

The Jamaican quartet of Candice McLeod, Janieve Russell, Stephenie-Ann McPherson and Charokee Young, clocked a season-best 3:20.74.

Great Britain was third in 3:22.64.

Jamaica won 10 medals at the championships - two gold, seven silver and a bronze medal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shericka Jackson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah all advanced to the final of the women’s 200m at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene on Tuesday.

Jackson, who won silver in the 100m in a personal best 10.73 on Sunday, looked magnificent in semi-final 1, cruising to 21.67 to win and advance to the final.

100m bronze medallist and double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah finished third in semi-final 2 in a season’s best 21.97 to advance to the final as a fastest loser. The USA’s Tamara Clark ran 21.95 to win while defending world champion Dina Asher-Smith ran a season’s best 21.96 for second.

Newly-crowned 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was also impressive in semi-final 3, running a season’s best 21.82 to win ahead of US champion Abby Steiner (22.15).

Dominican Republic Mixed Relay gold-medallist Alexander Ogando continued his brilliant world championships so far with a personal best and national record 19.91 to win semi-final 1 of the men’s 200m.

Trinidadian 2017 World Championship bronze medallist Jereem Richards of Trinidad & Tobago finished third in semi-final 2 in a brilliant 19.86 to advance to the final as a fastest loser. American defending champion Noah Lyles ran a brilliant 19.62 to win the race while Olympic silver medallist Kenny Bednarek, also of the USA, ran a season’s best 19.84 for second.

In the women’s 400m hurdles, Jamaican champion Janieve Russell ran 54.42 to win heat 2 and advance to the semi-finals.

Panama’s Gianna Woodruff ran 55.21 to finish third in semi-final 3 and progress. Jamaica’s Shiann Salmon produced 54.01 in heat 4 to finish second and advance while her teammate, 2019 World Championship bronze medallist Rushell Clayton finished fourth in heat 5 in 54.99 to advance.

Jaheel Hyde ran a new personal best 48.03 for sixth in the men’s 400m hurdles final. Brazilian world leader Alison Dos Santos dominated to win gold in a championship record 46.29 while Americans Rai Benjamin (46.89) and Trevor Bassitt (47.39) were second and third.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Olympic 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson ran a season’s best and meet record 21.91 to win the Women’s 200m at the Rome Diamond League at the Stadio Olimpico on Thursday.

The former Vere Technical star, who also has 400m bronze medals from the 2016 Olympics, 2015, and 2019 World Championships, finished ahead of double Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson-Herah who ran a season’s best of her own with 22.25. 2019 World 200m Champion Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain also ran a season’s best of 22.27 to finish third.

Puerto Rican Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn maintained the stellar form she's shown so far this season by running a meet record and new world-leading 12.37 to win the Women’s 100m hurdles. Jamaican Britany Anderson was right there with Camacho-Quinn up until clipping the final hurdle and stumbling over the line to run 12.50 for second while American 2019 World Champion Nia Ali was third in 12.71.

Grenadian 2011 World and 2012 Olympic 400m Champion Kirani James was also in winning form, running 44.54 to prevail in the Men’s 400m ahead of the USA’s Vernon Norwood (44.81) and Michael Cherry (45.24).

Olympic and World Championship finalist Janieve Russell ran 54.18 for second in the Women’s 400m hurdles behind Dutch Olympic bronze medallist Femke Bol’s season’s best 53.02. Ukraine’s Anna Ryzhykova was third in 54.50.

 

 

Reigning Olympic champions Hansle Parchment and Elaine Thompson-Herah were among winners at Thursday’s Puerto Rico International Classic in Ponce.

Parchment sped to a season’s best mark 13.15 for victory in the Men’s 110m hurdles ahead of the USA's current world leader Devon Allen (13.20) and Jamal Britt (13.30).

The Women’s 100m hurdles was won by the USA’s Alaysha Johnson in 12.50 ahead of Puerto Rican Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (12.52) and Jamaican 2015 World champion Danielle Williams (12.67).

Double Olympic sprint champion Thompson-Herah cruised to victory in the Women’s 100m in 10.93 ahead of Trinidad & Tobago’s Michelle Lee-Ahye (11.06) and the USA’s Shania Collins (11.08).

Bahamian reigning Olympic and World 400m champion Steven Gardiner won the Men’s 300m in 31.52 ahead of the USA’s Vernon Norwood (31.81) and Jamaica’s Nathon Allen (32.04).

2011 World and 2012 Olympic 400m champion Kirani James of Grenada was victorious in the Men’s one-lap event in a season’s best 44.70 ahead of Jamaica’s Sean Bailey (45.42) and the USA’s Trevor Stewart (45.50).

Jamaica’s Junelle Bromfield was third in the Women’s equivalent in 51.82 behind Americans Gabby Scott (51.42) and Olympic 800m champion Athing Mu (50.42).

Moving to the 400m hurdles, Jamaica’s Janieve Russell ran a season’s best 54.09 to win ahead of teammates Shiann Salmon (54.43) and Rushell Clayton (54.90).

In the field, Jamal Wilson of the Bahamas was victorious in the Men’s high jump with 2.22m ahead of the USA’s Jeron Robinson (2.17m) and Puerto Rico’s Luis Castro Rivera (2.17m).

 

 

Several Jamaican Olympians will be on show this weekend at the next staging of the Velocity Fest Series at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Chief among them are the likes of Olympic medalists Hansle Parchment, Shericka Jackson and Stephenie-Ann McPherson.

Parchment, who is set to compete at the 2022 Drake Relays next week, will shake off some rust in the 110m hurdles where he will line up against rising star Rasheed Broadbell, Tyler Mason and Michael O’Hara, who is returning from an injury that ended derailed him last season.

Jackson, who has run a couple of 400m races this season, steps down to the half-lap sprint where she will match times with McPherson, who will also step down to the 200m for this meet along with fellow quarter-miler Tiffany James.

Also down for the 200m is the speedy Natasha Morrison, Anthonique Strachan and Sasha Lee Forbes.

2014 NCAA 100m champion Remona Burchell is in the line-up for the 100m along with long jumper Tissana Hickling, Kashieka Cameron as well as 2008 Olympic 400m hurdles gold medallist Melaine Walker.

The men’s 100m will feature Julian Forte, Tajay Gayle as well as Waseem Williams, Yohan Blake, Chadic Hinds and Antonio Watson.

The Women’s 400m event promises to be compelling as it should have Janieve Russell, Candice McLeod, Anastassia Le-Roy, James, Junelle Bromfield and the veteran Christine Day among the participants.

 

Jamaica closed the 2022 World Indoor Athletics Championships in Belgrade with a gold medal after winning the women's 4x400m relay on Sunday.

World-leader in the 60m hurdles Danielle Williams, Britany Anderson and Natoya Goule are among the medal contenders named to Jamaica’s team to the World Indoor Championships in Serbia from March 18-20.

Williams set a world-leading time of 7.75 at Clemson on February 11, which makes her a medal favourite for the championships. Anderson, 21, ran a lifetime best of 7.82 in Louisville, Kentucky, making her fourth-best in the world this year. Besides her compatriot, only Americans Kendra Harrison and Alia Armstrong, who have both run 7.81 have gone faster.

Goule, who ran world-leading times twice so far this season, has the second-fastest time in the world over 800m this indoor season. Her 1:58:46 set in France on February 17, is only bettered by Keely Hodgkinson's 1:57.20 set in Birmingham on February 19.

The 19-member team also includes Briana Williams, whose 7.09 makes her the second-fastest Jamaican and sixth-fastest in the world over 60m this year and Shericka Jackson, whose personal best of 7.12 makes her the third-fastest Jamaican and tied for 14th in the world for 2022.

The female dominant team also includes Danielle Thomas-Dodd for the shot put, Kimberly Williams in the triple jump as well as Roneisha McGregor and Stephenie-Ann McPherson for the 400m.

 Junelle Bromfield, who is an alternate for the 400m, Tiffany James, Tovea Jenkins, Janieve Russell as well as McPherson and McGregor comprise the 4x400m relay squad.

Christopher Taylor has been named for the 400m while Ronald Levy will go in the 60m hurdles and Nigel Ellis will compete in the 60m dash.

 Women’s Discus

Cuba’s Yaime Perez secured a bronze medal with a throw of 65.72.

Shadae Lawrence of Jamaica finished 7th with a distance of 62.12, which she did in the second round.

The gold medal went to Valarie Allman of the USA with 68.98 and Germany’s Kristin Pudenz was second with a personal best of 66.86.

 

Men’s 400 Metres

Three Caribbean men will be in the final of the men’s 400 metres.

Semi-final 1 saw Grenada’s 2012 Olympic champion Kirani James run his fastest time since the 2016 Olympic final.

 James won the race in 43.88 to advance to his third straight Olympic 400 metres final and will be seeking a third straight medal.

Trinidadian Deon Lendore was also in semi-final 1 and finished fourth in 44.93.

Jamaica’s Christopher Taylor finished second in semi-final 2 to advance to his first Olympic final with a season’s best 44.92.

Trinidad & Tobago’s Machel Cedenio and Alonzo Russell of the Bahamas finished seventh and eighth respectively with times of 45.86 and 46.04.

Bahamian 2019 World Champion Steven Gardiner ran 44.14 to win the third semi-final and advance.

Jamaica’s Demish Gaye finished fourth in 45.09, Trinidad & Tobago’s Dwight St. Hillaire finished seventh in 45.58 and Jonathan Jones of Barbados finished eighth in 45.61.

 

Women’s 400 Metre Hurdles

Jamaica’s Janieve Russell finished second in semi-final 1 in 54.10 to advance to the final.

Panama’s Gianna Woodruff ran a national record of 54.22 to finish second in semi-final 2 and advance.

Semi-final 2 also saw Cuba’s Zurian Echevarria finish fourth in 55.21 and Barbados’ Tia-Adana Belle finished eighth in 59.26.

 

Men’s Triple Jump

Cristian Napoles of Cuba was the only Caribbean man to advance to the final.

Napoles jumped 17.08 to finish fourth in qualifying.

Jamaica’s Carey McLeod, who also competed in the long jump at these Olympics, finished 24th in qualifying with a jump of 16.01.

 

Women’s 400 Metres

The Caribbean will be well represented in the semi-finals.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo turned up for heat 1 and ran 50.50 to easily win and advance to the semi-finals.

In fact, the top 4 women in heat 1 all hail from the Caribbean and all advanced to the semi-finals.

Roxana Gomez of Cuba finished second in 50.76 to get through automatically.

Sada Williams of Barbados also got through automatically after finishing third in 51.36.

Guyana’s Aliyah Abrams finished fourth and advanced to the semi-finals in one of the fastest loser spots.

Grenada’s Meleni Rodney competed in heat 2 and unfortunately failed to finish.

 Jamaica’s Roniesha McGregor advanced to the semis from heat 3 after finishing second in 51.14.

Candice McLeod from Jamaica won heat 4 in 51.09 to progress.

Heat 5 was also won by a Jamaican as Stephenie Ann-McPherson won in 50.89.

Marileidy Paulino of The Dominican Republic ran the fastest time in qualifying to win heat 6 in 50.06.

 

Women’s Long Jump

Tyra Gittens of Trinidad & Tobago finished 10th in the final with a distance of 6.60m.

Chantal Malone of the British Virgin Islands was also in the final and finished 12th with a jump of 6.50.

 Malaika Mihambo of Germany jumped 7.00m for the gold medal while silver and bronze went to Brittney Reese of the USA and Ese Brume of Nigeria respectively.

Both Reese and Brume jumped 6.97 but Reese finished second on countback.

             

Men’s 200 Metres

 Four Caribbean men advanced to the semi-finals.

Jamaica’s Rasheed Dwyer won heat 1 of the men’s 200 metres in a time of 20.30.

Bronze medalist at the 2017 World Championships, Jereem Richards of Trinidad & Tobago, easily won heat 2 in 20.52 to advance.

Kyle Greaux of Trinidad & Tobago finished fourth in heat 3 in 20.77.

 Silver medallist back at the 2009 Berlin World Championships, Panama’s Alonso Edward, finished second in heat 4 in 20.60 to progress.

Yancarlos Martinez from The Dominican Republic finished second in heat 6 with a national record of 20.17 to advance to the semi-finals.

Julian Forte of Jamaica finished seventh in heat 7 with a time of 20.65.

             

Men’s 400 Metres Hurdles

Kyron McMaster ran 47.08 in the men’s 400 metres hurdles final and unbelievably finished fourth.

Karsten Warholm won his first Olympic gold medal in what may go down as the greatest performance in Olympic track and field history.

 The Norwegian ran a ridiculous world record of 45.94 to break his own previous mark of 46.70 by almost a full second.

American Rai Benjamin finished second in a new American record of 46.17 and Brazil’s Alisson Dos Santos finished third in a new personal best and South American record 46.72.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 On reflection, three-time Jamaica national 400m hurdles champion Janieve Russell can’t help but think that it was her destiny to compete in the event, after the fortuitous circumstances that led to her moving away from the long jump, a discipline near and dear to her heart.

After a superb run that led to her blowing away the country’s best athletes, in a season-best of 54.04 seconds, to claim the Women's 400m Hurdles title at the Jamaica National Championships, it was clearly a great choice but for a long time, one that wasn’t even on the cards.

In fact, Russell spent the majority of her junior career as a long jumper and competed successfully at the ISSA Boys and Girls Championships for her high school, Holmwood, in the event.  The 2019 World 400m hurdles silver medalist now believes wholeheartedly that the track itself called her to her destined event after the unexpected way she ended up competing in it.

"I believe the track was choosing my destiny for me because I really love long jump; that was my main event back in high school and by some chance, I was entered to the 400m Hurdles because someone on the team had to pull out. And then, I just continued, went to MVP and the coach said you are going to stick to the hurdles, not the long jump,” Russell explained.

Russell has had a solid career, and in addition to the three national titles, has picked up wins at the Commonwealth Games and World Cup.

Winning her third national title was a special moment for Russell, who admitted that she fully expected to be up against a challenging field. Her top priority though was to finish in an automatic spot, then channel all her energy to focusing on Tokyo.

"It is a tough field in the 400m hurdles event this year, so I am just using these trials to work on my mental state and I am just really happy to come out on top because my aim was just to be in the top three and just be on the Olympic team,” Russell said.

Off the back of a rectus femoris injury (acute tearing injury of the quadriceps) that she suffered in 2016, Russell insists that she has gotten stronger physically and mentally. 

"My MVP team and I have been working hard on our mental training, been working on my physical (fitness), ensuring that I am not injury prone, because, trust me, two weeks or one week before any trials I have always had an injury. I have been very careful this year, I have been eating properly, I have been doing everything by the book and I am just really grateful again to be out here by the grace of God to compete injury-free and to be on top."

Though she is a decorated nine-time gold medalist at the CARIFTA Games and a double gold medalist at the 2012 World Junior Championships, Russell’s ultimate aim is to match the feats of Deon Hemmings and Melanie Walker who both won gold medals for the country at the Olympic level.

"I will definitely try, as I said before it is a very tough field. I am just going out there with guts and to just represent my country, come out with a personal best and just do the best I can."

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will run from July 23 to August 8.

 

When it comes to winning races that count, there is hardly a better sprinter than Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

In eight global finals, since she won her first Olympic title in Beijing in 2008, the Pocket Rocket has won six. She demonstrated that mettle once again on Friday night when she won her fourth national 100m title against a strong field on day two of the Jamaica National Championships in Kingston.

The two-time Olympic champion stormed to victory in 10.71, the second-fastest time run by anyone this year, only bettered by her world-leading 10.63 run at the same venue on June 5.

Using her explosive start to her advantage, she got away from the field that was unable to close as she flashed across the finish line.

Second was Shericka Jackson, who surprised everyone when she clocked a big lifetime best of 10.77 to win her semi-final just over an hour before. She ran an equally impressive 10.82 holding off the 2016 double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, who was third in 10.84.

Briana Williams, who at 19, was the youngest in the field, finished fourth in 11.01, which earned her a place at her first Olympic Games.

There was also another surprise in the men’s 100m as Tyquendo Tracey ran 10.00 flat to edge Yohan Blake 10.01 and an ecstatic Oblique Seville, who ran a personal best 10.04 for third and booked a spot to his very first Olympic Games.

There were two runaway winners in the 400m hurdles but the more impressive of the two was Jaheel Hyde who clocked a lifetime best 48.18 to win and also exceed the Olympic standard of 48.90, which means he is also going to Tokyo this summer.

He punched the air as he crossed the line and saw the flash time on the electronic clock on the infield.

Second went to Sean Rowe who stopped the clock at 49.60, just ahead of Kemar Mowatt, who was third in 49.61.

Janieve Russell ran away with the women’s race to win in a season-best 54.07.

Ronda Whyte was second in 54.94 while Leah Nugent was third in 54.98 in a close finish that saw Shian Salmon finish fourth in 55.00.

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