Shericka Jackson returned to winning ways at the Stockholm Diamond League on Sunday, triumphing in the 200m with a season’s best time of 22.69 seconds. This victory marked a significant rebound for the two-time world champion, who had finished fifth in Oslo last Thursday.

 Jackson exploded out of the blocks and maintained her lead through the curve, holding off a strong challenge from Sweden’s Julia Henriksson, who set a personal best of 22.89 for second place. Amy Hunt finished third in 22.92.

 Several other Caribbean athletes also delivered commendable performances. Rushell Clayton, previously unbeaten in the Diamond League this season, finished second in the women’s 400m hurdles. World champion Femke Bol opened her season with a dominant 53.07 for victory, with Clayton clocking 53.78. Fellow Jamaican Andrennette Knight set a season’s best of 54.62 to secure third place, and Commonwealth Games champion Janieve Russell was fourth in 54.99, also a season’s best.

 In the men’s 400m hurdles, Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands ran a season’s best of 48.05, finishing second to Brazil’s Alison dos Santos, who continued his impressive form with a commanding 47.01 win. Dos Santos, who recently defeated world record holder Karsten Warholm in Oslo, expressed his satisfaction with his performance, saying, “It was a good race - 47.01. I think we are just proving that we are in good shape. I am excited for this result back-to-back and I am also looking forward to coming back to the training right now. I am going back to Florida now, will talk to my coach and will work on what I need to work on.”

 McMaster, reflecting on his race, noted his progress despite recent challenges. “I did not feel much during the race and just tried to stay focused and execute. I am catching up. I have been battling some injuries when coming up to the season so I am just trying to execute and stay healthy. I still have got a few more races,” he said. “I have been dropping my times every race so I just need to improve on that.”

 In the triple jump, Shanieka Ricketts secured second place with a jump of 14.40m. Cuba’s Leyanis Perez Hernandez won with a leap of 14.67m, and Thea LaFond of Dominica took third with 14.26m. Ricketts decided to skip her last three jumps as a precaution, citing the breezy conditions. “It was a little bit breezy out there this afternoon so I decided to forego my second three jumps as I did not want to risk anything,” she explained. “I need to go back to training now and work on a few things from today that did not go quite to plan. I was confident going into today but there were a few technical bits for me to sort out. I felt a bit rusty today but I am sure it will come together in time for Paris.”

 

After a sub-par showing on last, reigning World 200m champion Shericka Jackson will definitely be hoping to make the Stockholm Diamond League meet a memorable one on Sunday.

The 29 year-old Jamaican sprinter has gone faster than anyone over 200m except 1988 Olympic champion Florence Griffith Joyner.

However, a fifth place at the Oslo Diamond League on Thursday raised questions about Jackson’s fitness ahead of this Summer’s Paris Olympic Games. Still, Jackson is as determined as athletes come and she will no doubt look to assuage concerns with a speedy time in Stockholm.

On the other hand, American Brittany Brown will look to rattle her confidence once more. Brown scored an upset victory with a time of 22.32 seconds in Oslo. The result has vaulted the American sprinter into the Olympic selection conversation ahead of their Olympic Team Trials in late June.

Brown is slated to run both the 100m and 200m in Stockholm. Gambia’s Gina Bass, Cote d’Ivoire’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith and Jamaica’s Natasha Morrison will also line up in the 100m, while Jackson and fellow Americans Anavia Battle and Jenna Prandini will be Brown’s biggest rivals in the 200m.

Jamaica’s Ryiem Forde Forde will have his hands full in the men’s 100m, as he faces Japanese Hakim Sani Brown, the runner-up in Oslo, Emmanuel Eseme of Cameroon, and American Kyree King.

Rushell Clayton's rich vein of form to be tested by Femke Bol.

Another highly anticipated women’s track event is the 400m hurdles, where in-form Jamaican Rushell Clayton will lock horns with Dutch world champion Femke Bol, who will make her season debut in the event at Stockholm’s Olympic stadium.

Clayton has grown from strength to strength since copping bronze at last year’s World Championships. She secured victories in Oslo on Thursday, and prior to that, won in Rabat, as well as at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational Meet, where she clocked a season’s best 53.72s. She will again be joined by compatriots Andrenette Knight and Janieve Russell, who were a part of the Jamaican sweep of the podium at the in Oslo, with World champion Bol now joining the party.

World Championships silver medallist Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands is expected to be one of the toughest rivals for Alison Dos Santos of Brazil in the men’s 400m hurdles.

But McMaster will have much to do, as Dos Santos has been holding superb form and is undefeated in the event. Dos Santos has won both of his races on the Diamond League circuit this year in impressive times, the most recent being a season’s best 46.63s-clocking in Oslo.

Meanwhile, the women’s triple jump seems headed to be a Caribbean affair with world indoor champion Thea Lafond of Dominica, two-time World Championships silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts of Jamaica, and world indoor silver medallist, Leyanis Perez Hernandez of Cuba again set to battle for the podium spots. Another Jamaican Kimberley Williams will be aiming to improve on her recent performances.

Elsewhere in the field, Fedrick Dacres and Danniel Thomas-Dodd will also be hoping to improve their form in the men’s discus and women’s shot put respectively.

Two-time World 200m champion Shericka Jackson will make her second appearance of the season when she takes part in the 200m at the Oslo Diamond League in Norway on May 30.

Jackson got her season off to a winning start with a 200m victory in Marrakech in 22.82 to maintain a winning streak of 16 finals that dates back to June 2022.

Having won Diamond Trophies in both the 100m and 200m last year, she’ll look to build on that opener in Oslo, where she will face USA’s Jenna Prandini, Anavia Battle and Brittany Brown, plus Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith and Daryll Neita, who won the 200m in Suzhou and 100m in Doha.

Dominican Republic’s world champion Marileidy Paulino will race against world bronze medallist Sada Williams and world indoor silver medallist Lieke Klaver in the 400m, while the men’s event features Grenada’s multiple Olympic and world medallist Kirani James, world silver medallist Matthew Hudson-Smith and home favourite Havard Bentdal Ingvaldsen.

Jamaica’s world bronze medallist Rushell Clayton leads the entries for the women’s 400m hurdles.

The men’s event will a treat for the fans as the three-time world champion Karsten Warholm contests the 400m hurdles for the first time since finishing second in the Diamond League final in Eugene in September.

He’s got some fierce competition as he faces Brazil’s Alison dos Santos, the world and Diamond League champion in 2022, who opened his own 400m hurdles season with a 46.86 win in Doha. Looking to challenge them both will be world silver medallist Kyron McMaster.

After setting a world record of 74.35m in Ramona in April, Mykolas Alekna won the discus clash in Marrakech, surpassing 70 metres again with a 70.70m throw to beat Australian record-holder Matthew Denny and Sweden’s Olympic and world champion Daniel Stahl.

That trio clash again in Oslo as part of a stacked field – one which also includes 2022 world gold medallist Kristjan Ceh, Andrius Gudzius, Fedrick Dacres and Lukas Weisshaidinger.

 

World champions Thea LaFond and Marileidy Paulino were among the winners on day two of the USATF LA Grand Prix at the UCLA Drake Stadium on Saturday.

LaFond produced 14.37m in the fifth round to win ahead of Jamaican two-time World Championship silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts (14.36m) and American Tori Franklin (13.87m).

LaFond made history in March when she became the first Dominican to win gold at a World Athletics Championships. She produced a national record 15.01m to take top spot at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Elsewhere on Saturday, reigning World 400m champion Marileidy Paulino remained unbeaten this season with 50.27 to win ahead of World 800m champion Mary Moraa (50.56) and American Alexis Holmes (50.73).

2011 World champion Kirani James was second in the men's equivalent in a season's best 44.85 behind American 2022 World champion Michael Norman Jr who won in 44.53. Vernon Norwood was third in 44.86.

World Championship finalist and world U-20 record holder Roshawn Clarke opened his season in the 400m hurdles with a respectable 48.11 to finish second behind American Rai Benjamin who ran a world leading 46.64. World Championship silver medallist Kyron McMaster was third in 48.51.

Andrenette Knight ran a season’s best 54.69 for second in the women’s equivalent behind American Anna Cockrell who ran a season’s best of her own with 53.75. Cassandra Tate was third in 55.02.

On Friday's day one, Jamaica's Roje Stona threw 66.93m to win the men's discus ahead of Chile's Claudio Romero (64.12m) and the USA's Brian Williams (63.36m).

World Championship bronze medallist Rai Benjamin finally got an elusive win over World and Olympic Champion Karsten Warholm to claim his maiden Diamond League 400m hurdles title at the Diamond League final at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene on Saturday.

Benjamin, who finished second to Warholm at the 2019 and 2022 World Championships as well as the 2021 Olympics, turned the tables on the Norwegian with a world leading, meet record and diamond league record 46.39 for victory.

Warholm was second in a spectacular 46.53 while Kyron McMaster, who finished second at the World Championships in Budapest last month ahead of Benjamin and behind Warholm, ran 47.31 for third. McMaster also got a win over Warholm at the Zurich Diamond League.

As the curtains fell on the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, the global track and field community bore witness to an unforgettable spectacle of talent, resilience, and passion. For nine consecutive days, athletes from around the world competed under sweltering heat in their pursuit of excellence.

Among these remarkable competitors, it was the athletes from the Caribbean who stood out, earning well-deserved praise from Keith Joseph, President of the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC).

In a message released on Friday morning, Joseph expressed his admiration for the outstanding performances of Caribbean athletes, acknowledging their dedication to representing their countries and the region on the world stage.

"The excitement of the athletics competition, once started, never abated," Joseph remarked. "The final event, the women's 4 x 400m relay, saw Jamaica's potential hold on the gold medal slip away, literally in the final strides, much to our collective CANOC chagrin. But this did not detract from the fact that on yet another occasion in the wide and wonderfully exciting world of track and field competition, Jamaica continued to carry the Caribbean cause on its back."

Joseph went on to highlight several standout performances that left an indelible mark on the championships. Shericka Jackson's remarkable victory in the 200m solidified her status as a global star in the sport. Antonio Watson's stunning triumph in the 400m, despite his status as an U23 athlete, showcased the immense potential of the region's younger talents. Danielle Williams added another gold medal to Jamaica's tally with her impressive win in the 100m hurdles.

Joseph also highlighted Hansle Parchment and Wayne Pinnock secured silver medals in the 110m hurdles and long jump, respectively. The women's 4 x 100m and 4 x 400m relay teams also earned silver for Jamaica, while Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Rushell Clayton contributed bronze medals to the nation's haul in the 100m and 400m hurdles events.

The president’s praise also extended beyond Jamaica in acknowledging, the Dominican Republic's Marileidy Paulino domination of the women's 400m, while the British Virgin Islands' Kyron McMaster made a triumphant return to form with a silver medal in the 400m hurdles. Barbados' Sada Williams displayed her prowess with a silver in the women's 400m, and Leyanis Hernandez of Cuba secured a bronze in the triple jump.

Cuba continued to make its presence felt in the championships, with Lazaro Martinez and Cristian Urria taking second and third place, respectively, in the men's triple jump. Grenada's Lindon Victor made his mark by earning a bronze in the men's javelin.

Amidst the celebrations, St. Lucia's Julien Alfred emerged as a rising star, placing fifth in the 100m and fourth in the 200m. Dominica's Thea LaFond held her own, finishing fifth in the women's triple jump.

Joseph acknowledged that there were disappointments along the way for some Caribbean athletes, but their spirits remained unbroken. He celebrated the resilience that defines the Caribbean people, inspiring their athletes to give their best, fully aware that they are motivated to go 'beyond possible,' defying every attempt to deter their commitment to success.

 

"The World Athletics Championships are done," Joseph declared. "The performances of our athletes are now indelibly recorded in global athletics history. As CANOC, we stand proud of our athletes, medallists as well as those who missed out. Together, we affirm our commitment to our Caribbean-ness."

With these inspiring performances, Caribbean athletes have once again proven their mettle on the global stage, leaving an enduring legacy of dedication, perseverance, and pride in their Caribbean heritage. Their remarkable achievements continue to inspire and unite the region, setting the stage for even greater success in the future.

 

 

 

 

BVI’s Commonwealth Champion, Kyron McMaster, produced an excellent performance to pull off a massive upset over world champion and world record holder, Karsten Warholm, in the men’s 400m hurdles at the Zurich Diamond League on Thursday.

The 26-year-old ran 47.27 to take the victory. Warholm ran 47.30 for second while Alison Dos Santos ran 47.62 for third.

McMaster is fresh off a 47.34 effort to take silver behind Warholm last week at the World Championships in Budapest.

 British Virgin Islands long jumper Chantel Malone has expressed her overwhelming pride and joy for her compatriot, Kyron McMaster, who secured a historic silver medal in the 400m hurdles at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

McMaster's outstanding performance, which marked the first-ever medal for his country at an outdoor global championship, was met with resounding applause from Malone, who has been closely following his journey and triumphs.

McMaster's remarkable journey to the podium, finishing second with a time of 47.34 seconds, behind Norway's Karsten Warholm, resonated deeply with Malone. She reflected on his arduous path, overcoming adversities and injuries, to achieve this monumental milestone:

“I couldn't be happier for Kyron because we have a really close relationship and I've seen some of the struggles that he's been through in terms of dealing with injury and just different shifts and transitions in this sport," said during an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV.

The victory was particularly poignant as it came after the passing of Coach Xavier ‘Dag’ Samuels in 2017, adding to the emotional significance of McMaster's achievement. Samuels, who had been McMaster’s coach ever since his days as a youth athlete, was killed in 2017 after falling from a roof during the passage of Hurricane Irma.

"For him to finally be on that podium after 2017 when Coach Dag Samuels passed, it was just amazing,” Malone remarked.

Malone's unwavering support for McMaster was evident, even during a scheduled acupuncture appointment when the finals took place.

“I was actually at an acupuncture appointment and I had needles in my leg. I was like, you need to take these out, 'cause I might end up hurting myself, you know? I was so excited," she revealed.

Tears welled up in Malone's eyes as she witnessed McMaster's dream becoming a reality, recognizing that his silver medal is just a stepping stone towards greater aspirations. "I had tears in my eyes because it was a dream realized and I know he wanted the goal, but that was only a stepping stone towards, you know, accomplishing that ultimate goal,” she said.

Malone emphasized McMaster's exceptional determination and focus, traits that set him apart as a remarkable athlete.

“He is an athlete that is so determined and focused. You don't really see that in younger athletes. I mean, he's getting up there now, but even when he was in 2017, he has always had that mindset of I'll do whatever I need to do to be the best. And that's something that I really admire about him.”

Beyond the celebrations, Malone sees McMaster's success as an inspiration for the youth in the British Virgin Islands, catalyzing a greater drive for support and investment in local athletes:

“Kids will aspire to become like us, and I think that's something that's definitely needed and appreciated in the BVI."

 She expressed her hope that McMaster's medal will galvanize the government and businesses on the island to provide comprehensive backing for athletes' development.

“I hope that this medal at the World Championships helps even businesses in the BVI to want to get behind and rally behind the athletes on the journey, especially towards Paris 2024."

Drawing from her own experiences, Malone, a finalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, shared how McMaster's performance lit a fire within her, rekindling her determination to overcome her injuries and challenges. “The last two years for me have been very shaky. As you know, I've been dealing with injury and so finally coming out of that and finding my foot in again, I'm that his performance just really lit a fire under my butt," she said.

“He's an inspiration to me. Honestly, he's younger than me. But like I said, his drive, his ambition and his mindset are something that I definitely admire. And I hope that other athletes in the BVI and around the world take a page out of his book.”

 

 

In a poignant moment that encapsulated the emotional depth of his victory, Kyron McMaster paid a heartfelt tribute to his mother, Jocelyn, after securing a historic silver medal at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest. The 26-year-old hurdler from the British Virgin Islands not only etched his name into the annals of his country's athletics history but also dedicated his triumph to the person who stood unwaveringly by his side throughout his journey.

As the first athlete from the British Virgin Islands to clinch a medal at an outdoor global athletics championship, McMaster's achievement was laden with significance. Yet, amidst the jubilation and celebrations that followed his silver medal win in the 400m hurdles, McMaster's first instinct was to honor his mother's enduring support.

“Basically, it goes back to the early beginnings. My mom used to wake up 4:30 in the mornings, drop me at training with Coach Dag Samuels. So she’s been there from the beginning and made a lot of sacrifices. She’s been there. She understands me. She understands what I wanted to achieve, my paps, too, he understood, everybody understood.”

On the occasion of her birthday, McMaster walked over to his mother and gently placed the replica silver medal around her neck, saying ‘Mom, this is for you’. The act was a poignant gesture of appreciation, a tangible symbol of gratitude for her steadfast presence, and a reflection of the sacrifices she had made along his path to success.

The silver medal, achieved with a remarkable time of 47.34 seconds in the 400m hurdles, not only marked McMaster's personal triumph but also a moment of profound connection between a son and his mother. With tears of joy and pride shining in both their eyes, McMaster's tribute encapsulated the depth of his gratitude for her sacrifices and encouragement, even during the times when success seemed elusive.

Reflecting on the significance of the moment, McMaster shared: "It meant a lot. A lot because my mom’s been to a few of my games where we wanted to deliver a medal and I just couldn’t deliver for her at certain points. I didn’t want her to fly to Budapest for nothing. That would have broken my heart if I couldn’t deliver again, but she is going home with a silver medal."

McMaster's journey to this remarkable achievement was marked by challenges and setbacks, including previous global disappointments. A two-time Commonwealth Games champion and Diamond League champion, McMaster had, prior to Wednesday, always came up short on the global stage.

At the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon he suffered a hamstring injury during the preliminary rounds and took no further part in the competition. At the championships in 2017, he was disqualified. In Doha in 2019, he was fourth and at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics he was also fourth in a time of 47.08, a time that would have won him gold in every other Olympic year except for that year and in 1992 when Kevin Young ran a world record 46.78 to win.

However, this time, he broke free from the shadow of past struggles to secure his place on the podium.

The silver medal, earned behind Norway's Karsten Warholm's gold-winning performance, resonates as a testament to McMaster's resilience and his mother's unyielding support. Through this touching tribute, the hurdler's win becomes a shared victory—a celebration not just of his athletic prowess, but also of the bond between a son and the woman who helped shape his path to glory

After a series of misfortunes on the global stage over the years, British Virgin Islands Kyron McMaster finally secured her first global medal when he claimed silver in the men’s 400 metres hurdles final on Wednesday’s fifth day of the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

McMaster a two-time Commonwealth Games champion, was always favoured to right the wrongs on this occasion, and that he did in, making no mistakes at the National Athletic Stadium in the Central European country.

He clocked 47.34s, behind Norway’s stalwart Karsten Warholm (46.89s), who added the World Championships crown to his Olympic title, while American Rai Benjamin (47.56s) was third.

Jamaica’s 19-year-old Roshawn Clarke (48.07s) ran an impressive race to finish fourth behind the proverbial big guns. In fact, he finished ahead of now dethroned champion Alison Dos Santos (48.10s) of Brazil.

Running from lanes five and eight respectively, the 26-year-old McMaster and Clarke went out well, keeping pace with Dos Santos for the first 200m.

However, when Warholm and Benjamin made their move, Clarke had no response to their injection, while McMaster was seemingly fading into bronze, but produced a late rally to get by the American in the closing stages to win the battle for second.

You can catch live action of the 2023 World Athletic Championships by downloading the Sportsmax App.

Kyron McMaster and Roshawn Clarke both advanced to the final of the men’s 400m hurdles on day three of the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Monday.

McMaster ran a composed 47.72 to win the first semi-final ahead of Estonia’s Rasmus Magi (48.30) and the USA’s CJ Allen (48.30). Commonwealth Games silver medallist, Jaheel Hyde, had a blistering first half of the race before fading in the final 200m to finish fourth in 48.49.

Rai Benjamin (47.24) and defending champion Alison Dos Santos (47.38) were comfortably the top two finishers in the second semi-final. France’s Ludvy Vaillant finished third in 48.48, knocking Hyde out of one of the non-automatic qualifying spots.

The third semi-final saw World Record holder Karsten Warholm look awesome in running 47.08 to win ahead of Jamaica’s Roshawn Clarke and USA’s Trevor Bassitt.

Clarke’s time in second was 47.34, a new national record and world junior record while Bassitt’s time of 47.38 in third was also good enough to take him to the final.

The final is scheduled for Wednesday at 2:50pm Jamaica time.

Kyron McMasters of the British Virgin Islands as well as Jamaica’s Roshawn Clarke and Jaheel Hyde advanced to the semi-final round of the 400m hurdles during the opening session of the second day of action at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday.

McMaster, the two-time Commonwealth Games champion, won the second of the five heats in 48.47 ahead of Estonia’s Rasmus Magi (48.58) and the USA’s Trevor Bassit, who clocked in at 48.74. Kenya’s Wiseman Were Mukhobe was the final automatic qualifier from the heat when he finished fourth in 49.10.

Clarke, 19, who equaled the World U20 record of 47.85 at Jamaican national championships in July, was the fastest of the Caribbean men to advance, clocking 48.39 while finishing third in Heat 4 of the preliminary round.

The heat was won by Germany’s Joshua Abuaku in 48.47 ahead of Estonia’s Rasmus Magi (48.58) and the USA’s Trevor Bassit, who clocked in at 48.74. Nigeria’s Ezekiel Nathaniel was fourth in a personal best of 48.47.

Hyde finished second in his heat, the last of the five, in 48.63. Rai Benjamin of the USA won the heat in 48.35 with Japan’s Kazuki Kurokawa third in 48.71, a season’s best. Costa Rica’s Gerald Drummond was the other automatic qualifier in 48.73.

Also through were medal favourites Karsten Warholm, the Olympic champion and world record holder and Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos, who clocked 48.76 and 48.12, respectively.

 

 

Olympic champion and world record-holder Karsten Warholm laid down a huge marker of his ambition to regain the 400m hurdles title at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest when he set a Diamond League record of 46.51 in Monaco on July 21.

The 27-year-old Norwegian said before his race that his experience at last year’s World Championships in Oregon, where he finished seventh after recovering from a hamstring injury incurred in his opening meeting of the season, has been a strong motivating factor this year.

"It was really nice to do this again – that 0.01 off the Diamond League record and also the track record," Warholm said after a performance that also bettered his own top world mark for 2023.

"This is a nice timing as the World Championships is just around the corner. Since I was injured last year, I enjoyed the racing more."

In his wake was Brazilian Alison dos Santos, who took over the world title he had won in 2017 and 2019, who clocked a season’s best of 47.66.

Dos Santos, who finished third in the Tokyo Olympic final, has had to recover from a serious injury early this year in the form of a torn meniscus in his right knee which required surgery.

At the time it appeared his season was over before it had started, but he returned to top class action at the Silesia Diamond League meeting on 16 July, where he finished third in the 400m in 44.73. And in his first race over the hurdles in Monaco the 23-year-old from Sao Paulo did enough to stir his World Championships ambitions.

"That was the perfect opportunity for me to come back to run,” he said. "Now I will get ready for Budapest, to be able to win my world title again."

But Warholm and Dos Santos are not the only ones with world gold in their sights, as Rai Benjamin is equally determined to make a breakthrough in Budapest.

The 26-year-old US athlete took silver behind Warholm at the Doha 2019 World Championships and bettered the Norwegian’s world record of 46.70 in the Tokyo Olympic final where he clocked 46.17 and took another silver as Warholm reached deeper to set the current world record of 45.94.

Last year, with Warholm still a way off full fitness following a hamstring strain after clearing the first hurdle of his first race of 2022 at the Rabat Diamond League meeting, Benjamin must have thought his chance had come to make a golden impression on his home track in Eugene, Oregon – but Dos Santos won with a South American record of 46.29, with the home runner clocking 46.89.

How close can the Brazilian get to his best form in the time available? At the moment his is only fifth fastest in this season’s list, with two other runners above him – Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands, the double Commonwealth champion and fourth-place finisher in Tokyo, who has clocked 47.26, and CJ Allen of the United States, who has set a personal best of 47.58.

Others likely to make their mark include France’s Ludvy Vaillant, who has run a personal best of 47.85 this season, as has Jamaica’s Roshawn Clarke, and 31-year-old Rasmus Magi of Estonia, European silver medallist in 2014, who has run 48.04 this season.

Italy’s 24-year-old 2018 world U20 champion Alessandro Sibilio, a Tokyo Olympic Games finalist, is also one to look out for.

 

Teenage phenom Adaejah Hodge and two-time Commonwealth Games champion Kyron McMaster are among three athletes selected by the British Virgin Islands Athletics Association to compete at the 2023 World Athletics Championships set to get underway in Budapest, Hungary this coming weekend.

Sprinter Rikkoi Brathwaite is the other athlete set to represent the BVI at the championships where an estimated 2100 athletes from across the globe will go for gold and glory.

Hodge, who turned 17 in March, will be making her debut at the championships in the 200m where she will likely face the biggest tests of her fledgling career in the form of reigning world champion Shericka Jackson, world leader Gabby Thomas and St Lucia’s Julien Alfred.

McMaster is a two-time Commonwealth Games champion, who ran an incredibly fast national record of 47.08 to finish fourth at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. His season-best time of 47.26 is ranked fourth in the world this year. He will take to the track to face the likes of World and Olympic champion Karsten Warholm, the world record holder, the USA’s Rai Benjamin and Brazil’s Alison dos Santos, the 2022 world champion.

Brathwaite, who set a new national record of 10.09s in early August, gets things started for the BVI in the 100m on August 20, when he takes on reigning champion Fred Kerley, Noah Lyles, Ferdinand Omanyala and Zharnel Hughes in the blue-ribbon sprint.

Both Hodge and McMaster will begin competition on August 23.

Coach Ralston Henry and the physiotherapist Martin Wilson, a UK national with close ties to Team BVIs will accompany the athletes to Budapest.

Noted track coach Gary Evans has shared his belief that his athlete, Kyron McMaster, is ready to contend for a medal at the upcoming 2023 World Championships in Budapest. Coach Evans believes that with the right preparation and mindset, McMaster can even dip below the elusive 47-second barrier at the World Championships in Budapest next month.

Last Thursday, McMaster secured a significant victory in Slovakia, winning the 400m hurdles in a season's best time of 47.26 seconds. At the P-T-S Meeting, the British Virgin Islands star raced to victory ahead of David Kendziera the USA, who clocked in at 48.95 seconds with Dany Brandt of Switzerland taking third place with a season-best time of 49.25 seconds.

McMaster, a two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist, joined Evans’ group at the end of last season after spending the previous five years with Jamaican coach Lennox Graham, who is also the Assistant Coach at Clemson University.

Under Graham’s guidance, McMaster won two Commonwealth Games titles and was fourth at the Toyko Olympics in a lifetime best 47.08, a time that would have won the gold medal at every other Olympic Games except for 1992 when Kevin Young won in a then world record of 46.78 and in Tokyo where Karsten Warholm dropped a jaw-dropping 45.94 to win gold.

Two years on, Coach Evans believes the 26-year-old McMaster is now primed to achieve a new lifetime best and a place on the podium of a global championship.

Prior to McMaster’s season-best run in Slovakia, the BVI-born hurdler has been running 48s all season so his performance in Slovakia was somewhat surprising. Regarding McMaster's readiness and recent improvement, Coach Evans stated, "I do believe that he probably should have run 47 a little earlier. But the thing is sometimes when you get a kid from a new coach he has to get used to the program and then you do things a little differently."

In Evans’ training group McMaster trains with the likes of Steven Gardiner, an Olympic and World Champion, Matthew Hudson-Smith, a World Championship bronze medallist as well as Michael Cherry, a 400m standout. Working with them has helped McMaster get settled and improve. He just now needs to focus on the task at hand.

"Kyron studies hard, studies very, very hard and I told him, sometimes you're doing too much studying. You're trying to do my job, the agent's job. I just need you to run," the veteran coach said.

Speaking about the training plan to get McMaster to this stage before the World Championships, Coach Evans explained, "We worked on what we had to work on the track and when we step out on the track, just run... know that I got to run 400 metres but I got 10 sticks. That's one of the 10 items that's going to interrupt me and that's how we look at it now."

In Budapest, McMaster will face Warholm, American champion Rai Benjamin and the world champion, Alison dos Santos, all of whom have run 46 seconds for the 400m hurdles. For McMaster to get onto the podium, he has to be capable to dipping below 47 seconds.

Evans believes he is ready to do just that.

“[I] already told him to get ready to get a new tattoo (of his new personal best). I have a few goals when I'm coaching; two goals, we are going to win a medal and when we step on that track at the end of the season, we going to know we ran our PB."

Regarding McMaster's competitors, Coach Evans noted, "You got the big three; you got Santos back, you got Warholm, and you got Rai Benjamin, somebody's going to choke, somebody's going to make a mistake.

“Somebody's going to take a step back. One of them hurdlers is going to step back and do a 47. You got to be ready to say, ‘Okay, I need to make sure I step forward. It's like I told Matthew Hudson Smith last year when Stevie (Gardiner) stepped out the picture. Matthew Hudson, this is your time to go get your medal.”

Coach Evans further expressed his confidence in McMaster's potential to succeed, saying, "I think we got a good game plan that we're going come up with when we get there. Kyron, it's your time to step in the picture... You got to stay in front of them... Your foot on the gas. You got to be on the gas now."

McMaster races next at the Eddie Murphy Classic in Memphis, Tennessee on August 4. It will be his final race before departing for his medal hunt in Budapest.

“My objective is for him to run in Memphis where it'll be a great. It'll be a great field. You know CJ Allen that ran 47.8 and two other guys. A lot of people are going to use that Memphis race. For our people, that's their last race and then they're going across [to Budapest],” Evans concluded.

 

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