A change of environment in the offseason seems to be paying off for Natalliah Whyte, Jamaica’s 2019 World Championships gold medallist, who last weekend ran a brand new lifetime best in the 100m, which signalled that good things could be in store for the remainder of the season.

In 2019, Whyte who was then training at MVP International in Florida ran a blistering lead-off leg before handing off to 100m gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce as Jamaica sped to a gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Notwithstanding the intervening ‘pandemic year’, 2020, when Covid-19 shut the world down; her confidence boosted by the gold-medal performance in Doha, Whyte began 2021 in fine form running a lifetime best of 11.04 at the Pure Athletics Sprint Elite Meet in Miramar, Florida on May 2. However, for reasons that she is yet to comprehend, Whyte failed to make Jamaica's team to the Tokyo Olympic Games after finishing seventh in the 100m semi-finals at the National Championships last June in a disappointing 11.52.

“I don’t know what happened to be honest. I started the season well but didn’t progress,” she said while revealing that the disappointment of not making the team to Tokyo was hard to take.

“I took not making the team really hard but sometimes we rise, sometimes we fall but you have to know how to turn negatives into positives.”

During the season break, Whyte took the decision to leave the MVP International training group for the Rana Reider-led Tumbleweed group in Jacksonville, hoping that a change of environment might bring about the change she needed.

“I eventually started to take the positives from last season and knew that eventually, I had to leave the past in the past because it already happened and there was nothing I could do but work on the future. So this is a new chapter and I am just trying to work even harder, stay healthy and apply what I’m learning,” she said.

So far, it seems to be working well.

On April 30, in her first 100m of the season at the UNF Invitational in Jacksonville, she ran a lifetime best of 10.97 to follow up on the 22.57 she ran over 200m two weeks before at the Tom Jones Memorial Invitational in Gainesville.

“I’m really happy with the results as much as you would imagine,” she told Sportsmax.TV afterwards. “I just want to stay patient, continue to work on the many things I can improve on and see what else God has in store for me.”

She does admit, however, that despite the early success, making the move to Tumbleweed to work with Reider was not an easy decision but she believes it was the correct one.

“I have to say making changes is hard but sometimes changes can be good,” she said.

“I have been working on a lot of things and also learning a lot of new things so hopefully putting the new knowledge together will help me reach the goals I have made for myself for this season.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tokyo Olympics triple gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah has won the Laureus Sportswoman Award for 2022. In doing so, she became the first Jamaican female athlete to win the coveted award that began in 2000.

The 29-year-old Thompson-Herah created history in Tokyo last year when she became the first woman in Olympic history to win the 100m and 200m titles at consecutive Olympic Games. She won the 100m in 10.61, breaking the previous record of 10.62 set by American Florence Griffith Joyner at the Seoul Games in 1988.

She then won the 200m in a lifetime best of 21.53, the second-fastest time in history. She won a third gold medal as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team that set a national record of 41.02, the third-fastest time in history.

However, she was only getting started. Following the Olympics, she ran 10.54, the second-fastest time in history, to win the 100m at the Diamond League meeting in Oregon and then ran times of 10.64 and 10.65 to become the only woman in the history of the sport to run the 100m in under 10.70 four times.

“I really don’t think I can really express how it feels to be nominated amongst these wonderful and super talented ladies across their respective disciplines but to think that I could come out as the chosen winner of this prestigious award is just mind-blowing for me,” Thompson-Herah posted on Instagram in reaction to the news beneath a photograph of her holding her award.

“I would like to thank the Laureus Sports Academy for this wonderful recognition. I want to thank all my friends and family who have continuously supported me throughout my journey.”

She also thanked her sponsors Flow Jamaica, NCB Jamaica and Nike as well as her many fans.

“My fans, my fans! I love you guys so much, continue to motivate and pray for me as I set out to continuously rewrite the record books.”

Only one other Jamaican athlete has ever won the Laureus Sports Award. Usain Bolt won the Sportsman of the Year Award in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2017.

Formula One driver Max Verstappen won the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award after winning his first title albeit under controversial circumstances.

 

Tokyo Olympics 110m hurdles gold medalist is set to make his debut this season at the Drake Relays set for the Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa from April 27-30.

Tokyo Olympics relay gold medallist Briana Williams got her birthday celebrations off to an early start this week.

On August 1, 2021, Britany Anderson lined up in lane seven of the final of the Tokyo Olympics 100m hurdles. Having run 12.40, a personal best and the second-fastest time going into the final, only Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, who set an Olympic record of 12.26 in her semi-final, was faster.

Expectations of a medal were high for the 20-year-old Jamaican but it was not to be. She hit the sixth hurdle, managed to clear the seventh but then stumbled, lost her momentum and with it any chance of a place on the podium and making history as the first woman from the Caribbean to win an Olympic medal in the event.

That honour went to her compatriot, Megan Tapper, who finished third behind world record holder Kendra Harrison of the United States, who won silver and Camacho-Quinn, who created history of her own becoming the first Puerto Rican woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

During a recent sit-down with Sportsmax.TV where she talks about her improvement this season, how her training group and her faith in God, have helped her successfully transition to senior competition, Anderson revealed that running her personal best in the semi-final impacted her in a way that she did not expect.

“My emotions were all over the place. I was crying. I was excited, I was overwhelmed,” she said about what caused her to lose her focus after running her lifetime best in the semi-final.

“In the final, I don’t know what…it was like, something went wrong, not just with the hurdles, but because I was so overwhelmed and it was my first senior games, everything was just all over the place.”

Nevertheless, she said she was not disappointed at the eventual outcome saying that she felt like she had won just to make the finals at the Olympic Games.

It is with that mindset that Anderson has approached the start of the new season wherein the span of three weeks she ran three-lifetime bests in the indoors 60m hurdles. Starting at the Millrose Games on January 29, Anderson, who turned 21 in January, ran a lifetime best of 7.91 to defeat a field that included Kendra Harrison.

Just about a week later, she lowered that time to 7.88 while finishing second to Danielle Williams, who ran a then-personal best 7.83 at the New Balance Grand Prix in New York.

Six days later, at the American Track League Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, Anderson would go even faster clocking 7.82, the fourth-fastest time in the world. Only Williams (7.75), Harrison (7.81) and Alia Armstrong of the USA (7.81) have been faster.

According to the former Vere and Camperdown athlete, her success this season comes down to the change in mindset bolstered by improving confidence.

“I feel like it was just the mindset that changed from last season to this season. Last season was just something to show me what I could do this season and I bring all of that to this season, worked on what I had to work on in practice and just bring it out there on the track,” she said.

It wasn’t that long ago that Anderson set the World U20 record in the 100m hurdles, 12.71, in July 2019 in Finland. She is the World U18 champion and the silver medallist at the World U20 Championships in Finland in 2018.

Since that time, her transition to the senior ranks has been relatively painless as evidenced by her qualifying for her first Olympic final eight months after she turned 20.

She credits her training partners at Tumbleweed, the training group she joined in 2019, for helping her make the transition to the senior ranks.

“Most parts of it was the people I had around me, like my training partners, they helped me throughout everything, off the track and on the track so the transition from a junior to a senior wasn’t really hard,” she said, adding that having fellow Jamaicans Christopher Taylor, Christania Williams and fellow hurdler Omar McLeod, played their part in helping her make a smooth transition.

Transitioning to the senior ranks comes with its own challenges because before she can conquer the world, she has to first overcome perhaps the deepest pool of talent currently at Jamaica's disposal with the likes of Danielle Williams, Tapper, Ackera Nugent, perhaps Janeek Brown and Yanique Thompson among others. Asked about where she sees herself among Jamaica's world-class hurdlers, Anderson confidently indicated that she knows what she is capable of.

"I know what I can do. I know what I am going to do. At the trials, I know what I am going there for, so I will just let all of that play out in God's way," she said.

As for this year, Anderson is focused on the World Championships in Oregon in July but as it relates to World Indoors next month and the Commonwealth Games, no decision has yet been made. Her agent Mario Bassani said those decisions will be made at a later date and will be as a result of discussions with her coach Rana Reider, whom she describes as a really great coach.

“The lesson I take from him is I can do whatever I can put my mind to,” she said.

So far, that advice seems to be working well for Britany Anderson.

 As Bassani tells it, whichever championships she decides to compete at this year, she will be ready.

 

 

 

Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper has signed a three-year deal to become the newest brand ambassador for TruShake.

Tapper, the first woman from the Caribbean to win a medal in an Olympic 100m hurdles final, today formalized the agreement which takes effect from October 2021 and will run through to September 2024. Tapper finished third behind Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and the USA's Kendra Harrison in her history-making run in Tokyo in August.

“It means the world to me that I was chosen to represent the brand. It’s a great partnership. TruShake is a fairly new product in Jamaica and I am entering a new phase in my journey as an Olympic athlete. I am looking forward to us growing together,” said an excited Tapper after putting her signature to the deal at Funland Jamaica.

TruSHAKE is Trade Winds Citrus Limited’s locally manufactured milk-based nutrition shake developed for all ages and lifestyles. Tapper admits that TruShake is a great addition to her meal plan.

“Sometimes I do not feel like eating a heavy meal; it feels good to be able to have an affordable option that is healthy and tasty,” she said. “At times, I feel like whenever I eat healthily, I am sacrificing taste but that’s not the case with TruShake. So, it’s a great addition to my meal plan.”

Marketing Manager of Tradewinds Citrus, Lauren Mahfood explained that Tapper is a perfect fit for their brand. “Like most Jamaicans, we witnessed Megan’s outstanding talent at the Olympics this year and we were extremely proud of her performance on the world stage,” she said.

“Her infectious energy and incredible character made it clear that she was an all-around winner – a perfect fit for the TruShake brand.”

Tapper, who is also a motivational speaker, uses her platform to inspire young girls and women to seize the moment and to dream big. She explained that she will use this opportunity as TruShake’s brand ambassador, to continue her work to motivate and encourage Jamaicans to eat and live healthy so they can achieve their optimum physical goals.

 “Megan is an incredible ambassador for Jamaica and as a Jamaican brand, we look forward to seeing her compete locally and internationally, representing with passion and focus as always,” said Mahfood.

Tapper will be looking to be on the podium once more at the 2022 and 2023 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, and Budapest, Hungary, respectively as well as the lucrative Diamond League circuit before she aims for another Olympic medal in Paris in 2024.

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