Track & Field fans around the world will be treated to an exciting clash in the women’s 100m hurdles at the season’s opening Diamond League meet in Xiamen on Saturday.

Jamaica’s two-time World champion, Danielle Williams, will take on newly crowned World Indoor 60m champion and record holder, Devynne Charlton, as well as 2021 Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper.

World record holder Tobi Amusan and reigning Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn are also set to line up on Saturday along with Americans Alaysha Johnson and Masai Russell.

The field is completed by Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji, 2022 World Indoor champion Cyrena Samba-Mayela and China’s Yanni Wu.

Reigning Olympic champion Hansle Parchment will compete alongside countryman Orlando Bennett in the 110mm hurdles.

Bajan two-time World Championship bronze medallist Sada Williams will line up in the 400m alongside Guyana’s Aliyah Abrams.

Bahamian Anthonique Strachan will take on some of the world’s best in the 200m.

Finally, Jamaica’s World Indoor 60m bronze medallist Ackeem Blake, 2011 World 100m champion Yohan Blake and reigning national 100m champion Rohan Watson will all line up in the 100m against a stacked field including the likes of American world champions Christian Coleman and Fred Kerley.

 

Day one at the 2024 Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Friday saw a number of Caribbean athletes producing excellent performances.

Perhaps the best performance on the day came from 2022 Commonwealth 110m hurdles champion Rasheed Broadbell.

The 23-year-old produced a personal best 7.56 to take the men’s 60m hurdles ahead of countryman Tyler Mason who ran a personal best 7.65 in second. LSU Sophomore Matthew Sophia was third in 7.67, also a personal best.

The women’s 60m Open saw a Caribbean top three as Tina Clayton won ahead of twin sister Tia with Bahamian Anthonique Strachan finishing third. Tina’s winning time was a season’s best 7.25 while Tia’s time in second was 7.28 and Strachan’s in third was 7.30.

The men’s equivalent saw reigning Jamaican National 100m champion Rohan Watson run 6.76 to finish as runner up behind American Lawrence Johnson who ran 6.70. Another American, Tony Brown, ran a personal best 6.78 in third while Jamaica’s Michael Campbell ran 6.80 in fourth.

The College men’s 60m saw Bahamian Florida Sophomore Wanya McCoy produce a personal best 6.65 to finish second behind LSU Sophomore Myles Thomas (6.62). Thomas’s teammate, Godson Oghenebrume, also ran 6.65 in third.

The women’s College 400m saw Jamaican National champion Nickisha Pryce produce a personal best 51.04 to take the win. Her time also puts her #3 on the all-time Jamaican indoor list.

The Arkansas Junior finished ahead of her schoolmate Kaylyn Brown who ran a personal best 51.49 for second while Rosey Effiong completed the Arkansas 1-2-3 with 51.65 in third.

The women’s Open 400m saw Lanae-Tava Thomas and Stacey Ann Williams run 51.88 and 52.33 for second and third, respectively. American Alexis Holmes won in a meet record 50.80. Another Jamaican, Andrenette Knight, ran 52.68 in fourth.

In the field, 2019 World champion and national record holder, Tajay Gayle, opened his season with 8.15m to finish second in the men’s long jump. Gayle, who also took bronze at the World Championships in Budapest last year, also produced a 7.99m effort in his series on Friday.

The event was won by Florida Senior Malcolm Clemons with 8.17m while Bahamian Laquan Nairn produced 7.93m for third.

 

 

Bahamian sprinter Anthonique Strachan was the only Caribbean winner at the Astana Indoor Meet for Amin Tuyakov Prizes-a World Athletics Indoor Tour-Gold meet, in Kazakhstan on Saturday.

The 2012 double sprint World Junior champion ran 7.21 for victory in the women’s 60m. She finished just ahead of Poland’s Magdalena Stefanovicz (7.22) and Iran’s Farzaneh Fasihi (7.23). Jamaica's Tina Clayton ran 7.28 in sixth.

Reigning Jamaican National 100m champion Rohan Watson ran 6.65 for fifth in the male equivalent won by the USA’s Demek Kemp in 6.55. The Japanese pair of Shuhei Tada and Akihiro Higashida ran 6.58 and 6.59 for second and third, respectively.

The meet’s most impressive performance came in the women’s 60m hurdles where Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan, coached by Jamaican Lacena Golding-Clarke, produced an African record 7.77 to win ahead of two-time World Indoor champion Nia Ali (7.89) and Ireland’s Sarah Lavin (7.91). Jamaica’s Megan Tapper and Amoi Brown were fifth and eighth with times of 8.03 and 8.11, respectively.

The women’s 400m saw Jamaica’s Stephenie Ann McPherson finish second overall with a time of 54.66. The event was won by Portugal’s Catia Azevedo in 52.64 while Japan’s Nanako Matsumoto was third overall with 54.79.

MVP Track Club’s Tia Clayton and Rohan Watson emerged as winners of the women’s and men’s 60m, respectively, at the JAAA Puma Fuller/Anderson Development Meet held on Saturday at the GC Foster College.

Clayton, a two-time World U-20 champion, ran 7.22 to take the win over twin sister Tina (7.27) and their MVP teammate, Bajan Commonwealth Games 400m champion and two-time World championships bronze medallist, Sada Williams (7.30).

“I decided to be more disciplined with what I eat and I have seen the results,” Clayton said in an interview after her race.

“I have lost a lot of weight and I can say everybody is proud because they didn’t believe that I could lose it,” she added.

Two-time World 200m champion Shericka Jackson was also expected to open her season in the 60m but withdrew from the meet.

On the men’s side, reigning National 100m champion Rohan Watson opened his season with a 6.67 effort to take top spot ahead of clubmate Nishion Ebanks (6.68) and GC Foster’s Jevaughn Whyte (6.69).

“It has been good. No serious injuries so, so far, no problems,” Watson said about his preparation for this season.

 

Jamaica’s Kishane Thompson clocked a new lifetime best 9.85s for second in the men’s 100m, behind American Christian Coleman, who equalled the World Leading time of 9.83s at the Wanda Diamond League in Xiamen, China on Saturday.

Thompson, who has been holding good form since his first sub-10 second clocking at Jamaica’s National Championships in July, produced a top performance, which not only shattered his previous personal best of 9.91s, but also makes him the fastest Jamaican this year. He overtook Oblique Seville at 9.86s.

Additionally, the 22-year-old Thompson’s time also makes him the sixth-fastest Jamaican of all time. Only Usain Bolt (9.58s), Yohan Blake (9.69s), Asafa Powell (9.72s), Nesta Carter (9.78s) and Steve Mullings (9.80s), have gone faster.

While Thompson’s achievement, which makes him the 22nd fastest man of all time and also earned him a spot in the Diamond League final, may come as a surprise to many, his coach Stephen Francis did indicate that there was more to come after his one-round run at the national championships.

“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. Our plan is to ensure that next year, in the Olympic year, he will have the necessary race experience and a different attitude to tackle the full program,” Francis said then in an interview with Sportsmax.tv.

Thompson just failed to get back to Coleman, who equalled Noah Lyles World leading time, as they competed in a slight tailwind of 0.4 metres per second. American Fred Kerley (9.96s) was third.

Meanwhile, the other Jamaicans, Yohan Blake (10.04s), Rohan Watson (10.18s), were sixth and ninth respectively, while Ackeem Blake, who seemingly picked up an injury finished at the back of the pack in well over 25 seconds.

After three electrifying semi-final rounds of the 100m on Sunday, Oblique Seville announced himself as a possible contender for the gold medal in the blue-ribbon sprint at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday.

Seville will be joined by compatriot Ryiem Forde in the event that will crown a new champion this year, as defending champion  Fred Kerley was eliminated after finishing third in Seville’s heat.

Seville exploded from the blocks in the last of the three heats and took control mid-race before easing across the line in 9.90 and looking like he had much more in the tank. Letsile Tebogo of Botswana clinched the other automatic qualifying spot when he finished second on 9.98.

The big surprise was Kerley, the 2022 champion, who looked out of sorts while finishing third in 10.02 and will take no further part in the competition.

Noah Lyles, the brash American, who said he was going to win the gold medal in 9.65, stormed to victory in his semi-final heat in 9.87 punching the air as he crossed the line as he booked his place in the final. Japan’s Abdul Sani-Brown ran a personal best 9.97 to book his spot.

Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala who was third in 10.01 and who was on the bubble and dependent on how the other heats unfolded, celebrated his spot in the final as his time was 0.01 faster than Kerley’s.

Jamaica’s champion Rohan Watson missed out on a berth in the final when he finished fifth in the heat in 10.07.

Christian Coleman raced to a time of 9.88 to win the second semi-final heat comfortably ahead of Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, who clocked 9.93 for second place. Forde ran a personal best 9.95 for third place and a spot in the final.

 

 

There were no surprises, as Jamaica’s trio of Oblique Seville, Rohan Watson and Ryiem Forde all secured their spot in the men’s 100 metres semi-finals, along with Guyana’s Emanuel Archibald, after all safely navigated their respective heats on the opening day of the World Athletic Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Saturday.

After a series of delays and false starts, Seville, who just missed the podium in Eugene, ran a comfortable race from lane seven in heat five and stopped the clock in 9.86s, which equalled his personal best.

The 22-year-old, who was the fastest qualifier across all seven heats, won ahead of one of the gold medal favourites in American Fred Kerley, who cruised to 9.99s. Belize’s Brandon Jones, who was also in the heat, placed seventh in 10.95s.

Seville pointed out that he had no concerns about the delays, as the experience gained over the years prepared him for what transpired.

“It is something that happens often in Jamaica, so it actually prepared me for now on the big stage. It was just for me to go out and execute and run a good time, I didn’t expect it but my coach did because he told me I am in the best of shape, so it was just for me to go out there and do what I have to,” Seville said shortly after performance.

Jamaica’s national championship Watson recovered from a slight stumble at the start to place second in the following heat.

He clocked 10.11s, behind Japan’s Sani Brown, who clocked a season’s best 10.07s, with Italy’s Lamonth Jacobs, also finishing in a season’s best 10.15s, as he continues to work his way back to form.

British Virgin Islands Rikkoi Brathwaite (10.18s) and Terrence Jones (10.32s) of Bahamas, fifth and sixth respectively in the same heat.

Earlier, another Jamaican Forde, also comfortably secured his spot, clocking 10.01s for second behind Great Britain’s Zharnel Hughes, who clocked a flat 10.00s in winning heat one.

Favourite Noah Lyles was the second fastest in qualifying, as he stormed to 9.95s in heat two, with the powerfully built Kenyan Ferdinand Omanyala (9.97s), joining him.

Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda’s Cejhae Greene (10.23s) missed out on the semi-finals after placing sixth in heat four, which was won by Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo in 10.11s.

Guyana’s Emanuel Archibald, who ran earlier this morning to progress to the heats, successfully went one step further as he booked his spot in the semi-finals.

Archibald was given joint third with a time of 10.20s, along with Japan’s Hiroki Yanagita, behind South Africa’s Akani Simbine, who won the final heat in 9.97s, just edging American Cristian Coleman (9.98s).

The semi-finals are scheduled for Sunday at 9:35am Jamaica time.

 

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

Not since Paris in 2003 has the men’s 100m title been claimed by a sprinter from outside the US or Jamaica. Could 2023 in Budapest be the time and place for someone to follow in the footsteps of Kim Collins by bringing an end to the 20-year-old duopoly?

The event appears to be as open as it was in the French capital two decades ago, when Collins put St Kitts and Nevis on the global track and field map. No-one stands out as a clear favourite, though Fred Kerley perhaps ought to be considered the main contender.

The 6ft 3in Texan is the reigning champion, having led a US medal sweep on home soil in Oregon last year ahead of Marvin Bracy-Williams and Trayvon Bromell. US sprinters have won the last three golds and Kerley will lead the starred and striped challenge in Budapest, supported this time by Cravont Charleston, the 2019 world champion Christian Coleman and two-time world 200m champion Noah Lyles, a potential ‘surprise’ packet.

Kerley has contested just five 100m races this season, two of them in the Seiko Golden Grand Prix in Yokohama in May, where he clocked a season’s best of 9.88. He registered comfortable victories on the Diamond League circuit in Rabat and Florence, both in 9.94, but was edged out in a tight finish in Silesia on 16 July, South Africa’s Akani Simbine taking the win in 9.97 with Kerley and Cameroon’s Emmanuel Eseme clocking 9.98 in second and third, and the newly-crowned US champion Charleston fourth in 9.99.

Ahead of Kerley on the 2023 world list stand two potential challengers in Britain’s Zharnel Hughes (9.83) and Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala (9.84).

When Hughes, a qualified pilot, flew to his 9.83 clocking in New York on 24 June, he sliced 0.04 off the ancient national record held by the only British sprinter to have claimed the world 100m title, Linford Christie, who triumphed in Stuttgart 30 years ago. Should he strike gold in Budapest, the native Anguillan would make it five wins in the event for his Jamaican coach, Glen Mills, the sprint guru who guided Usain Bolt to victory in 2009, 2013 and 2015, and also Yohan Blake in 2011.

“Obviously people are going to target the time I’ve run,” said Hughes, who won the European 200m title last year, “but I don’t put pressure on myself. That’s when things can go topsy turvy.”

Hughes, who false started in the Olympic final two years ago, has no other official sub-10 to his name in 2023, although he won the British title in 10.03 in monsoon conditions and smashed John Regis’ 30-year-old national 200m record with 19.73 for third place behind Lyles (19.47) and Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo (19.50) in the London Diamond League meeting on 23 July.

Omanyala is the only man who has dipped under 9.90 twice this year, the Commonwealth champion backing up his 9.84 from the Kip Keino Classic in May with 9.85 in the Kenyan trials on 8 July. The former rugby player has yet to make a global 100m final but has been a consistent performer on the Diamond League stage, placing third in Rabat, second in Florence and Paris and first in Monaco, and is not lacking in confidence.

Simbine’s victory ahead of Kerley in Silesia will have raised his hopes of finally making a global podium – and winning the race to become Africa’s first medal winner in the event. The 29-year-old South African has long been the ‘nearly’ man of the 100m: fifth in London in 2017, fourth in Doha in 2019 and fifth in Oregon last year, as well as fourth and fifth in the last two Olympic finals. With four successive wins behind him (in Kladno, Ostrava, Stockholm and Silesia), he heads to Hungary with serious momentum.

The African challenge promises to be fierce. Like Simbine and Omanyala, Eseme and Tebogo have also notched top three finishes on the Diamond League circuit, while Simbine’s South African teammate Shaun Maswanganyi has a 9.91 clocking to his name.

A place on the podium might not be beyond the scope of all four US sprinters – including Lyles, who beat Omanyala and Tebogo to win the 100m at the Paris Diamond League and was recovering from Covid when he took third place in the US Championships. He boasts a PB of 9.86.

A new kid on the senior international block, the 20-year-old Bahamian Terrence Jones who won the NCAA indoor 60m title in March, has run 9.91.

The Jamaican challenge will be led by Oblique Seville, who finished fourth in Oregon last year, and the emerging Rohan Watson, who started the year with a best of 10.41 but won the Jamaican title in 9.91. Ackeem Blake stands fourth on the world list with 9.89 but, having placed fourth in the trials, is on the entry list as a reserve.

Newly minted men’s 100m champion Rohan Watson and defending world champions Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Shericka Jackson headline a powerful Jamaican team named Wednesday to represent the country at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Watson, the surprise winner of the men’s 100m will campaign alongside Ryiem Forde and 2022 World Championship finalist Oblique Seville. Ackeem Blake who just missed out on the top three spots in the 100m has been listed as an alternate but he will be a member of the 4x100m squad that will also include Tyquendo Tracey and Michael Campbell.

Fraser-Pryce will be going for her sixth world title with Shericka Jackson, the reigning national champion in both 100m and 200m, campaigning alongside her. Also down to contest the 100m is Sashalee Forbes and Natasha Morrison.

Briana Williams and Elaine Thompson-Herah have been selected as members of the 4x100m relay team.

Andrew Hudson and Rasheed Dwyer will contest the men’s 200m while Jackson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Natalliah Whyte and Kevona Davis will take on the 200m. Sashalee Forbes has been named as an alternate for the 200m, presumably on the likelihood that Fraser-Pryce will not go in the half-lap sprint.

The Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) put to rest the likelihood of Rusheen McDonald, who is the fastest Jamaican in the world this year over 400m, contesting the one-lap sprint. McDonald, who has run 44.03 this year, the third fastest time ever run over 400m by a Jamaican man, failed to show up for the semi-finals of the national championships.

Zandrian Barnes has been given the nod, who failed to finish in the top three at the national championships in early July, but has met the qualifying entry standard of 45.00. He will contest the 400m along with national champion Sean Bailey and runner-up Antonio Watson.

Jevaughn Powell, Malik James-King and Demish Gaye will make up the 4x400m relay squad.

Nickisha Price, Candice McLeod and Charokee Young will compete in the 400m for women with Joanne Reid named as an alternate. Janieve Russell, Rhonda Whyte and Shian Salmon will make up the 4x400m relay squad.

Reid, meanwhile, will contest the 4x400m Mixed Relay along with Stacy-Ann Williams, Rusheen McDonald and D’Andre Anderson.

Navasky Anderson, who dramatically met the entry standard of 1:44.70 on the final day for qualification on Sunday, is only male 800m runner named on the team while Natoya Goule and Adelle Tracey will take on the women’s event. Tracey will also compete in the 1500m.

An area of great strength for Jamaica is the sprint hurdles. World leader Rasheed Broadbell, the 2022 Commonwealth Games champion, will lead Jamaica’s hunt for medals along with Olympic champion Hansle Parchment and the fast-rising Orlando Bennett. Tyler Mason has been named as an alternate.

 Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper will lead the charge for the Jamaican women in the 100m hurdles alongside NCAA champion Ackera Nugent, who is making her debut on the senior team, and 2015 World Champion Danielle Williams, who is also the 2019 bronze medallist.

Amoi Brown is selected as the alternate.

Newly crowned senior national champion and World U20 record holder Roshawn Clarke will take on the world’s best in the 400m hurdles along with Jaheel Hyde and Assinie Wilson while Russell, Andrenette Knight and Rushell Clayton, the 2019 bronze medallist, will go in the women’s race.

Salmon is the alternate.

Romaine Beckford is to represent the black, gold and green in the high jump for men with Lamara Distin and Kimberly Williamson set to take on the women’s event.

The impressive teenager Jaydon Hibbert, the world leader in the triple jump, will try to add world title to his World U20, Carifta, NCAA Indoor and Outdoor titles. Two-time World championship silver medalist Shanieka Ricketts will go for a third medal in the women’s event and will be accompanied by NCAA silver medallist Ackelia Smith and Kimberly Williams.

Jamaica’s strength in the field events is further bolstered by the selection of Carey McLeod, Wayne Pinnock and the 2019 World Champion Tajay Gayle for the long jump while Tissana Hickling and Smith will contest the event among the women.

Newly crowned national record holder Rajindra Campbell and Danniel Thomas-Dodd will throw the shot put in their respective events.

Fedrick Dacres, the 2019 silver medalist, national champion Traves Smith and NCAA silver medallist will throw the discus in Budapest with Samantha Hall set to take on the women’s event. Last but certainly not least is the impressive Nyoka Clunis who will throw the hammer at the prestigious event where the world’s best athletes will congregate on August 19, 2023.

 

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce got her 100m season to a blazing start with a dominating victory at the Top Athletics Lucerne meeting in Switzerland on Thursday.

Having missed out on her first 100m race in Botswana and Kenya earlier in the season, the five-time world champion, ran her first competitive races over 200m at the Jamaican national championships in early July.

However, with those races out of the way, the Pocket Rocket lined up for her first blue-ribbon dash of the season and she did not disappoint. After recovering from a poor start, Fraser-Pryce tore through the field to win a new meet record of 10.82.

She was well clear of New Zealand’s Zoe Hobbs, who took the runner-up spot in 11.08 with the USA’s Kennedy Blackmon close behind in 11.11.

The Men’s A final was also a Jamaica affair with Julian Forte breaking 10 seconds for the first time this season while edging newly minted Jamaican champion Rohan Watson.

Forte took the lead early and held on to win in 9.99 over the fast-finishing Watson, who clocked in at 10.03 for second place. The USA’s Brandon Carnes was third in 10.06.

The 110m hurdles featured another thrilling battle between the Jamaican duo of Tyler Mason and Orlando Bennett. On the final day of the Jamaican national championships earlier this month, Bennett nipped Mason at the line to deny the former Jamaica College standout of a place on Jamaica’s team to the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.

On that Sunday, Bennett finished third in 13.19 to Mason who was fourth in 13.22. On Thursday, Mason turned the tables on his compatriot winning a hard-fought race in 13.19 with Bennett finishing second in 13.22.

Eric Edwards of the USA was a close third in 13.24.

Jamaican champion, Janieve Russell ran a new season’s best and meet record of 53.65 to record a comfortable victory in the 400m hurdles over Dalilah Mohammed of the USA who clocked in at 54.01 just ahead of Andrenette Knight, who finished in 54.13.

On Sunday, Rusheen McDonald ran the third-fastest time ever run by a Jamaican when he raced to a season-best 44.03 to finish behind Bahamian Steven Gardiner’s who ran a world-leading 43.74.

On Thursday, he proved it was no fluke as he stormed to a commanding victory in 44.80. He was metres clear of Botswana’s Collen Kebinatshipi who ran 45.15 for second place. Germany’s Manuel Sanders was third in 45.28.

 

 

The Gyulai Istvan Memorial in Hungary on Tuesday proved to be an excellent day for Caribbean athletes.

The star of the day, however, was reigning Olympic 400m champion, Steven Gardiner.

The Bahamian, unbeaten since 2017, produced a world-leading 43.74, the second-fastest time of his career, to win ahead of Jamaica’s Rusheen McDonald and American Vernon Norwood.

McDonald ran a massive season’s best 44.03 in second while Norwood’s time in third was 44.63.

In the women’s equivalent, Commonwealth champion Sada Williams ran a season’s best-equaling 50.34 to take the win ahead of Romania’s Andrea Miklos (50.80) and Austria’s Susanne Gogl-Walli (50.87). Charokee Young was sixth in 51.35.

Moving to the 100m where NCAA champion Julien Alfred, on her professional debut, got her usual good start and held her nerve to maintain her unbeaten record this season with a 10.89 effort. The former Texas star handed Sha’Carri Richardson (10.97) her first loss of the season while Tamari Davis was third with 11.02.

It was a Jamaican sweep in the men’s equivalent, with Yohan Blake producing his second consecutive good performance since a disappointing Jamaican Championships last week.

The 2011 World Champion ran 10.04 to win ahead of Ackeem Blake (10.09) while Rohan Watson, Jamaica’s national champion, was third in 10.10.

Defending World Champion and fastest woman alive in the 200m, Shericka Jackson, bounced back from a 100m defeat at the Silesia Diamond League on Sunday to run 22.03 to take the 200m ahead of Ireland’s Rhasidat Adeleke (22.36) and Bahamian Anthonique Strachan (22.45).

The men’s equivalent produced an upset as the Dominican Republic’s Alexander Ogando ran 19.99 to take the event ahead of American teenage sensation, Erriyon Knighton (20.05) and Jamaican national champion, Andrew Hudson, who ran 20.36 in third. Julian Forte was fourth in 20.41.

Reigning Olympic 110m hurdles champion, Hansle Parchment, was narrowly beaten by American Daniel Roberts in the men’s sprint hurdles.

Roberts’ winning time was 13.12, just .02 seconds faster than Parchment in second and Tyler Mason in third.

Andrenette Knight led a Jamaican 1-2-3-4 sweep in the women’s 400m hurdles.

Knight, who lost to Janieve Russell at the Jamaican National Championships last week, turned the tables this time around with a near flawless race to win in a new personal best 53.26.

Russell ran a season’s best 53.72 in second while Rushell Clayton, who will also be on Jamaica’s team in Budapest, ran a season’s best 53.79 for third. Shiann Salmon ensured that Jamaicans occupied the first four places with 55.04 in fourth.

In the field, 2019 World Champion and Jamaica’s national record holder, Tajay Gayle, finished second in the long jump.

Gayle’s best distance, 8.24m, had him in the lead until the final round when Greek Olympic Champion, Miltiadis Tentoglu, produced a winning jump of 8.29m. The USA’s Jarrion Lawson was third with 7.97m.

 

In a jaw-dropping turn of events last Friday night at the National Senior and Junior Championships held at Jamaica's National Stadium, Rohan Watson, a rising star from MVP Track Club, emerged as the surprise victor in the highly anticipated men's 100m race.

Watson, a relative unknown in the sprinting world, delivered an exceptional performance, crossing the finish line with a new personal best time of 9.91 seconds.

The shocking upset saw Watson triumph over Ryiem Forde, who secured second place with a personal best time of 9.96 seconds, and the renowned Oblique Seville, a fourth-place finisher at last year's World Athletics Championships, who finished in third place with a time of 10.00 seconds.

The unexpected triumph of Watson sent shockwaves through the athletics community, capturing the attention of fans and experts alike. However, the discovery of this "diamond in the rough" was no accident. Coach Stephen Francis, renowned for his ability to identify and nurture talent, was instrumental in Watson's development and guided him to this remarkable victory.

While speaking exclusively to Sportsmax.TV about Watson's journey, Francis revealed the challenges they faced in finding promising sprinters who were willing to join MVP Track Club.

"None of the so-called brand name sprinters in high school wanted to come to us," Francis explained candidly.

“They said the training is too hard, if your girl up there we can’t do what we want, we can’t buy big cars, we can’t go out at night. They shy away from us.”

Faced with those challenges, Francis said he instructed his team to find him a sprinter who could run 10.5 or 10.4.

“We’ll work with them because a lot of people who have done well with us that’s what times they run. We don’t get people who run 10.1, 10.2 or 10.3.”

It was during a race at Jamaica College (JC) last year that Francis first spotted Watson, who demonstrated promising speed and determination.

Watson, who had completed his high school education at York Castle, displayed enthusiasm when approached by Francis and eagerly joined the MVP Track Club. Despite initially appearing smaller in stature than his counterparts, Watson's dedication and positive attitude set him apart.

“He was very interested and he came but even when I saw him in September for the first time on the training field I thought he was very small. We have had very good success with small sprinters but he looked small.”

However, Francis emphasized the importance of attitude and commitment over raw talent. "It is all about what you do, how you learn, and your willingness to sacrifice," he explained.

Watson exemplified these qualities, showcasing steady progress throughout the year. Observing his discipline and dedication, Francis became increasingly confident in Watson's abilities, foreseeing the potential for a sub-10-second performance.

Watson's victory at the national championships affirmed Francis' belief in his athlete's capabilities. As they approach the World Championships in Budapest, scheduled for August, Francis envisions Watson as a genuine medal contender.

The coach noted that the track conditions during the national championships were not particularly fast, indicating that Watson's time could improve further in more favorable circumstances.

Assessing the global sprinting landscape, Francis acknowledged that the field is wide open, with a few key contenders such as British champion, Zharnel Hughes and potentially Fred Kerley, the reigning world champion. However, he expressed confidence in Watson's prospects, given his impressive performance in a championship setting and his ability to maintain his form over multiple rounds.

“I don’t know what Fred Kerley is looking like and Zharnel is looking looks very, very good but apart (from those two), I think he has as good a shot as everybody else.”

 

After a pair of scintillating 100m finals on day two of the JAAA/Puma National Senior and Junior Athletics Championships, Shericka Jackson and Rohan Watson emerged as the champions.

Jackson, already the second fastest woman ever in the 200m, became the joint-fifth fastest woman of all-time in the 100m with a magnificent, world-leading 10.65 to defend her national title.

Sashalee Forbes was second in a personal best 10.96 while Natasha Morrison ran 10.98 for third.

Briana Williams ran a season’s best 11.01 for fourth while double Olympic sprint champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah, was fifth in 11.06.

In the men’s equivalent, Rohan Watson, the 21-year-old who turned heads when he ran a then-personal best 9.98 in the heats on Thursday, proved that was no fluke as he held his nerve to stun the field, and the National Stadium crowd. His winning time was 9.91, another personal best.

Ryiem Forde dipped under 10 seconds for the first time, running 9.96 for second while Oblique Seville ran 10.00 for third, narrowly finishing ahead of Jamaica’s leader in the event this year, Ackeem Blake, who ran 10.01 in fourth.

 

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