Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

History-making Jamaican Olympian Toni-Ann Williams has expressed her excitement and optimism at being appointed Technical Director of the Jamaica Gymnastics Association. Nicole Grant, the association’s president made the announcement this past weekend about the appointment of Williams, who in 2016 became the first ever gymnast to represent the country at an Olympic Games.

In an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV, Williams detailed her vision for the future of the sport in Jamaica.

“Yeah, I'm really excited about the position,” Williams shared. “I think it's something we've not had before in the organization, especially when I started there. I want to be able to bring a level, a little more organization, a little more direction, put some values and some motives behind the organization.”

Williams, 28, is determined to leverage her extensive experience and educational background—including degrees in Legal Studies, Social Welfare, and a Master’s in Sports Ethics and Integrity—to enhance the structure and support within the association. “I think before, we've had really great representatives of the movement, but I think now we have more people supporting Jamaica gymnastics to be able to facilitate from the smallest things, helping to make sure they get to their hotel on time, and who's able to go to competitions and, you know, to the big things, like, you know, helping to find funding and things like that.”

Reflecting on her own journey, Williams is committed to giving back to the sport and aiding its development in Jamaica. “Being able to have a support system, especially from people who've been there, done that, is, I would have really appreciated as an athlete. And so this is my way of being able to give back to the athletes and being able to help Jamaica gymnastics get to the vision that we see.”

Adding to the excitement, the appointment of her former coach, Mladen Stefanov, a former Bulgarian Olympic gymnast, as Head Coach, promises to further elevate Jamaica’s gymnastics program. “Mladen has been the head coach on and off throughout the years, even since when I was a gymnast, and he always brings such a great energy. All the athletes from past and present love working with him,” said Williams.

Williams and Stefanov’s combined expertise is expected to drive significant advancements. “We already have a great foundation, so we communicate super well, and he understands, obviously, the technical coaching side, and I being able to bring my experience as an athlete, so both of our experiences come together really well, and being able to help the athletes and being able to figure out what's best for what competition should we go to, what skills work, what routines don't work and that's not something we've had before.”

  

Looking ahead, Williams is hopeful about the potential for growth despite the resource challenges. “Of course, we have a long way coming, and, of course, we need more resources, but being able to have people like myself being able to help Nicole Grant, being able to pilot these initiatives, I'm really excited about, and really, I think it's really great for the future of Jamaica Gymnastics.”

Williams believes this strategic leadership is a crucial step towards elevating Jamaica’s presence in the gymnastics world. “We have a lot of powerhouses like USA and Brazil; of course, they have the resources, but they also have people who know the sport really well and have people that support. And I think that's a great start for Jamaica, to start having people in the corner who understand the sport, understand what's needed, understand the athlete's point of view, to be able to support them, and hopefully that's a step forward towards more resources and more opportunities for the athletes,” she opined.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaican gymnasts Alana Walker and Isabelle David delivered strong performances at the 2024 Pan American Artistic Gymnastics Championships, finishing 15th and 17th, respectively, in Santa Marta, Colombia. The competition, held from May 22-26, marked a historic achievement for Jamaica as both gymnasts reached the all-around finals.

 Head coach Mladen Stefanov expressed his pride in the gymnasts’ achievements. “I am so happy with Isabelle David and Alana Walker’s performance at the Pan Am Games 2024. Both of them got through the qualifying round and made it to the top 24 in the final. This is the first time that Jamaica has had two athletes in the all-around final. Our gymnasts were able to do their skills with confidence and really show their potential, making us proud. It was a long week of competing, and they had to compete two times in three days, which is very hard, but somehow they were able to pull it off. They were trained well, and I am so happy that we were a part of the 2024 Pan Am Games and represented Jamaica in the best way possible.”

 Alana Walker

Alana Walker, who secured a top-15 finish with a combined score of 46.867, reflected positively on her performance despite some challenges. She achieved scores of 8.900 on the vault, 7.30 on the uneven bars, 6.51 on the balance beam, and 6.865 on the floor exercise. “Although the finals didn’t go exactly as I had hoped, it was a great end to my 2024 season. I am proud of my top-15 finish for team Jamaica and I also want to say thank you to coaches Mladen and Mary [Marylin Pretov] for helping me through this competition. I look forward to continuing my gymnastics career at Stanford University.”

Isabelle David 

Isabelle David, who finished 17th with a total score of 45.867, was also pleased with her performance. She scored 9.40 on the vault, 7.5 on the uneven bars, 6.5 on the balance beam, and 6.967 on the floor exercise. “Even though our all-around finals didn’t go exactly as planned, I am very proud I hit eight out of eight routines while at Pan Ams. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been here and represent Jamaica, and I am grateful to coaches Mary and Mladen for supporting everyone on the team during this competition. I am very happy with this end to my 2024 season and I am looking forward to opportunities to compete and represent Jamaica in the future.”

The success of Walker and David at the Pan American Championships underscores the progress of Jamaican gymnastics on the international stage, showcasing the nation’s potential and dedication to excellence in the sport.

 

 

 

 

West Indies white-ball coach Daren Sammy hailed his team’s performance after they passed their South Africa test with flying colours, culminating in a dominant eight-wicket victory at Sabina Park on Sunday. This win sealed a clean sweep of the three-match T20 International series, setting a positive tone for their final preparations ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup, which begins on June 1.

The West Indies secured their series victory with a comprehensive performance on Sunday, chasing down South Africa's target of 164 with 6.1 overs to spare. This win followed earlier victories on Thursday, May 23, by 28 runs and on Saturday, May 25, by 16 runs. The series was characterized by consistent team efforts, despite the absence of key players such as Rovman Powell, Nicholas Pooran, Shai Hope, Andre Russell, and Alzarri Joseph.

In the series finale, South Africa posted 163-8 from their 20 overs, with captain Rassie van der Dussen top-scoring with 51 off 36 balls. Debutant Wiann Mulder contributed a solid 36. The West Indies’ bowling attack was led by Player of the Series Gudakesh Motie, who took 2-21, supported by Shamar Joseph’s 2-26 and Obed McCoy’s 3-39.

The West Indies’ chase was spearheaded by an explosive opening partnership of 92 runs in just 6.4 overs between Johnson Charles and interim captain Brandon King. Charles, who was named Player of the Match for his blistering 69 off 26 balls, batted at a strike rate of 265, while King added 44 from 28 balls. Kyle Mayers (36 not out) and Alick Athanaze (6 not out) comfortably saw the hosts over the finish line.

Coach Darren Sammy, who led the West Indies to T20 World Cup victories in 2012 and 2016, praised his team’s all-around performance. "With the players that we had, we executed quite well,” he told Sportsmax.TV. “We were put under pressure in the Power Play in the second game but the way the guys responded and won convincingly; we got tested in the three departments – in the field, with the bat, and the ball – and the way the guys responded was just really good, so I would give them a nine (out of 10).”

Charles expressed satisfaction with his performance after struggling in the first two matches. “It was great. We have been working hard during the camp and in the series. Worked hard on our skills leading up to the World Cup, just enforcing the basics. Tried in the first two games, didn’t work out but came today (Sunday). It’s all about building confidence,” he said.

Stand-in captain Brandon King also shared his delight at leading the team to a commanding series win. “(I was) happy with my own performance,” he remarked. “Would’ve liked to carry my bat through to the end though. We understand each other’s games, playing a few years together. (This was) an important 3-0 win.”

St Lucia’s sprint sensation, Julien Alfred, has her sights set on refining her technique as she prepares for the upcoming Olympics this summer. Speaking post-race following her second-place finish in the women’s 100m at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting on Saturday, Alfred outlined her areas of focus.

Alfred clocked 10.93 seconds in the race, trailing American Sha’Carri Richardson, who won with a world-leading 10.83 seconds. Alfred’s training partner, Dina Asher-Smith, secured third place with a time of 10.98 seconds.

Reflecting on her performance, the World Indoor 60m champion expressed gratitude and acknowledged the need for improvement. “I’ll take it. I have to give God thanks, nevertheless, that I finished healthy. I did want the win, but I’ll take second for now,” she said.

Discussing her race strategy, Alfred noted, “I think I got out well. My finish, I think I sort of panicked a little at the end, panicked a little and fighting. I have to work on my ending.”

Alfred highlighted her progress over time, emphasizing a shift in focus towards better execution. “My strides are wider, I am not as choppy. Right now, I am just focusing on execution. I think before I would go out and just compete, but now it’s just focusing on execution and doing my best to prepare for the Olympics.”

When asked about what she intends to focus on with Coach Eldrick Floreal, Alfred pinpointed the final segment of her race as a key area for improvement. “The last part of my race. It has always been a struggle of mine where I can really stay upright in the last part of my race but it’s about going back to the drawing board and trying to stay upright the last 40/30m.”

Julien Alfred’s focus on refining her race finish and execution signals her commitment to achieving peak performance as she prepares for the Olympics. With her impressive second-place finish at the Prefontaine Classic, Alfred has demonstrated her potential to compete at the highest level and her readiness to take on the world’s best this summer.

Nickisha Pryce, the senior sprinter from the University of Arkansas, once again broke the 50-second barrier in the 400m, securing her place at the NCAA Division One Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Pryce clocked 49.93 seconds at the NCAA West Regionals on Saturday, ensuring her spot at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, from June 5-8.

Pryce, who recently ran an impressive 49.32 to become the second fastest Jamaican woman over 400m, continued to showcase her dominance in the event. Pryce was also a member of the Razorback 4x400m relay team that established a new championship record of 3:21.92 that also sees the team advancing to the finals in June.

Among the men, Shaemar Uter of Texas Tech also secured his place at the national championships with a solid time of 45.78 in the 400m.

In the sprints, Dejanea Oakley from the University of Texas at Austin ran 22.32 in the 200m to advance to the nationals. Her Texas teammate, Ackelia Smith, excelled in the triple jump with a 14.31m effort, ensuring her qualification.

Nebraska’s Rhianna Phipps joined the list of qualifiers in the triple jump, reaching 13.67m to secure her spot in the finals. Her performance reflects the depth of talent among Jamaican athletes in the field events.

In the 110m hurdles, Jerome Campbell of Northern Colorado ran an impressive 13.30 to book his place at the national championships. He will be joined by the 2023 NCAA champion, Phillip Lemonious, who qualified with a time of 13.43, adding to the formidable Jamaican contingent in the hurdles.

Texas A&M’s Abigail Martin also secured her place at the nationals in the women’s discus, throwing 56.11m to qualify.

Jamaica’s Brianna Lyston spearheaded an impressive contingent of Caribbean athletes into the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships following stellar performances at the NCAA East Regionals on Saturday.

Lyston, a sophomore at Louisiana State University, marked her 20th birthday on Friday with a standout performance, winning her 100m heat in a swift 10.99 seconds. She continued her impressive form by qualifying for the 200m with a time of 22.82 in her heat, securing her place at the national championships.

Joining Lyston is fellow Jamaican Shenese Walker from Florida State University, who clocked a personal best of 11.09 to finish third in the same 100m heat.

Antigua's Joella Lloyd also shone brightly, advancing to the national championships by finishing third in her 100m heat with a time of 11.06. Lloyd's qualification highlights the growing presence of Caribbean athletes in top-tier collegiate track and field competitions.

Clemson University’s Oneka Wilson delivered a personal best of 12.79 to win her 100m hurdles heat, showcasing her exceptional hurdling skills and securing her spot in the national championships.

Additionally, Onieka McAnuff of the University of Kentucky set a lifetime best of 51.70 in the 400m to qualify for nationals, demonstrating remarkable endurance and speed.

In the field events, Roschell Clayton of Villanova cleared 1.84 meters in the high jump, earning her place at the nationals with a strong performance.

These athletes will now compete at the NCAA Division I Outdoor National Track and Field Championships, set to be held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, from June 5-8, 2024. Their outstanding performances at the NCAA East Regionals highlight the Caribbean's rich track and field legacy and promise thrilling competition at the national championships.

 

At just 25 years old, Tyra Gittens has already etched her name in the annals of collegiate track and field as an 18-time NCAA Division 1 All-American and a three-time NCAA Champion. Her journey to the pinnacle of American collegiate sports was marked by triumphs in the heptathlon, long jump and high jump which showcased her versatility and athleticism.

However, Gittens' path has not been without its challenges. Following her successful collegiate career, which culminated in gold in the heptathlon despite an ankle injury, Gittens faced a setback in 2023 with a retroactive drug suspension due to an expired Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) certificate. This suspension not only affected her competitive results but also tested her resolve and commitment to the sport she loves.

In an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV, Gittens opened up about the hurdles she faced in recent years and her journey towards redemption as she prepares for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

“It has been a process, I will tell you,” Gittens shared when asked about her preparation. “I feel like this year has been a year of rebuilding. I’m in a new body and a new mindset. I’ve never been in this mindset, never been in this body, so I am excited to see what my limits are. I think something big is going to happen this year.”

Transitioning from the demanding heptathlon to specializing in the long jump has required adjustments in Gittens' training regimen. "My training has been different because I am no longer doing the heptathlon," she explained. "I've been learning different techniques in the long jump and also on the track, finally learning how to sprint. I feel like I’ve fallen into a very professional body, not just college."

Gittens’ post-collegiate journey was not without bumps in the road. The year 2023 began well enough with the USA-based Trinidadian signing a professional contract with Puma but barely a month later, things took a downward turn.

World Athletics’ Athletics Integrity United (AIU) ruled that she was ineligible to compete for six months after a sample she provided in June 2022 was found to contain methylphenidate/ritalinic acid, a prohibited substance that is an ingredient of the medication she takes for ADHD. At the time the sample was taken, Gittens’ TUE had expired.

 However, the AIU said it accepted that she had not realized that her previous TUE had expired by the time that the first sample was taken at the national Trinidad and Tobago championships on June 26, 2022.

“She was not advised that the TTO Sample was positive for methylphenidate, or that her TUE had expired for this purpose, until November 2022, after the sample collected from her at the World Championships on July 23, 2022,” the AIU said adding that they also accepted that Gittens had no information at the time of her second World Athletics sample that her TUE application was incomplete.

“The AIU also accepts that the medication was used for legitimate medical reasons and the athlete did not intend to cheat. Accordingly, the AIU accepts that the violation was not ‘intentional’.”

It was a blot on her resume that she could have done without and one that was hard for her to take.

Reflecting on the challenges of her suspension and the mental toll it took, Gittens likened it to one of the toughest periods of her life. "It was probably the hardest thing I ever had to deal with," she admitted. "I always compare it to the year I lost my brother. This period of my life, these last two years, that was definitely second."

"After college, I was burnt out physically and mentally. I don’t know how I went on to Tokyo (Olympics) because my body was completely done. Tokyo was sheer will," Gittens continued. "But after that, I crashed. I didn’t have the motivation for track anymore because I gave it my all that year. It was challenging, but in that challenge, I found some serious guidance. I found my system for success and have been using it religiously to push myself to new heights."

As she soars towards those new heights, 2024 has largely been good to her so far. With leaps of 6.56, 6.68 and a windy 6.72m, Gittens’ progress has been trending along an upward trajectory as she nears competing at her national championships next month.

She attributed her renewed focus and resilience to adopting a growth mindset. "The growth mindset is just a theory that all things can be achieved with hard work and effort," she explained. "It’s about how you handle failure, how you view fear. Instead of seeing failure as the end, I view it as a new opportunity to try a new way. With a growth mindset, I believe that everything I put my mind to and apply effort towards, I can improve."

Looking ahead to the Olympic Games, Tyra Gittens is determined to exceed her expectations and make her mark in the world of track and field. With a newfound perspective and a relentless work ethic, she is poised to inspire both on and off the track as she chases Olympic glory.

 

 

 

 

Jamaican quarter-miler Ackeem Bloomfield has announced his retirement from track and field at the age of 27, Sportsmax.TV has confirmed.

 The two-time World Championship 4x400m relay silver medalist has reportedly informed the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association of his decision and has also requested to be removed from the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) with the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO). Marie Tavares, Executive Board Member of the JAAA confirmed Bloomfield’s retirement on Thursday, saying “He has. I got confirmation yesterday, either yesterday of the day before.”

Tavares opined that it sounds as if Bloomfield, a former Kingston College star, will be concentrating on his academics but was otherwise uncertain about his motivations.

Bloomfield, who holds the distinction of being the second-fastest Jamaican ever over 400m with a personal best of 43.94 seconds, first burst onto the scene as a promising young talent. He became the first Jamaican schoolboy to break the 45-second barrier, a feat that heralded a bright future in athletics. However, his career trajectory was hindered by a series of prolonged injuries and personal challenges, including the emotional toll of his mother's death in 2021.

After a standout collegiate career at Auburn University, where he set his remarkable 400m time at the NCAA National Outdoor Championships in 2018, Bloomfield signed with Puma and joined the MVP International training group in Florida. His talent and potential were on full display at the 2019 World Athletics Championships, where he finished eighth in the 400m final with a time of 45.36 seconds.

In 2021, seeking a fresh start and recovery from a debilitating hamstring injury, Bloomfield moved to train with Rana Reider’s Tumbleweed group, where he reunited with high school rival and Calabar star athlete Christopher Taylor. Bloomfield declared himself fully recovered and expressed optimism about his future in the sport. “It was a really bad injury to my right hamstring. I did an intensive rehab process after I got injured. Even though I shut down my season I was still doing rehab. So, I can say for the most part, right now I’m 100 percent healthy,” he said in an interview with On Point.

Despite his determination, Bloomfield’s journey continued to be marked by transitions. In September 2022, he left Tumbleweed to train under former Jamaican Olympian Sanjay Ayre at Chase Athletics Track Club. However, he departed from Chase Athletics a year later, signaling the turbulence that characterized the latter part of his career.

Bloomfield’s last known competitive performance was at the Tom Jones Invitational in April 2023, where he ran 45.52 seconds to finish sixth. This race marked the end of a career that, despite its ups and downs, offered glimpses of what could have been.

Five-time Olympic gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah, the fastest woman alive, is poised to make her highly anticipated season debut in the 100m at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting in Eugene, Oregon, on May 25. This event promises to be a thrilling spectacle as Thompson-Herah faces off against reigning world champion ShaCarri Richardson.

Thompson-Herah's return to the Prefontaine Classic holds special significance. In August 2021, at this very meet, she clocked a blistering 10.54 seconds in the 100m, a performance that solidified her status as the fastest woman alive. Only Florence Griffith-Joyner's legendary world record of 10.49 seconds stands ahead of her on the all-time list.

The Prefontaine Classic will see Thompson-Herah and Richardson, two of the most electrifying sprinters in the world, go head-to-head. Richardson, who has already competed in two 200m races this season, will be running her first 100m of the year. This clash is eagerly awaited by athletics fans worldwide, as it brings together the fierce competition and star power of two dominant figures in women's sprinting.

Thompson-Herah's season opener at the Prefontaine Classic is just the beginning of what promises to be an exciting year. She is scheduled to run her second 100m of the season at the Grenada Invitational on June 6, at the Kirani James Stadium in Grenada. This continuous competition will help her build momentum as she eyes further successes and potentially more record-breaking performances.

The Eugene meet is set to be a highlight of the Diamond League series, with Thompson-Herah's participation adding to the event's prestige. Her remarkable career, highlighted by her Olympic triumphs and her record-setting performances, continues to inspire and captivate the athletics world. As she lines up against ShaCarri Richardson, all eyes will be on this epic showdown, anticipating another memorable chapter in the storied careers of these two sprinting superstars.

Shericka Jackson and Rushell Clayton showcased their class while being among the winners at Sunday’s Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco.

Jackson, who made her season debut in the 100m in Kingston on May 4 after a late start to her season, was not at her sharpest in Rabat but good enough to keep the field at bay as she sprinted to victory in 22.82 seconds while running into a headwind of -1.0m/s.

Maboundou Kone of the Ivory Coast was a close second in 22.96 with Helene Parisot of England in 23.02.

Earlier, Clayton was more impressive. Coming off an encouraging victory at the Jamaica Athletic Invitational on May 11 when she ran a world-leading 53.72, Clayton once again dominated the first 300m but was closed down by compatriot Shian Salmon along the home stretch. Still, she managed to hold on to win in 53.98. Salmon ran an enterprising race for second place clocking 54.27.

Anna Ryzhykova ran a commendable 55.09 for third place.

While fortune smiled on Jamaica’s women, the men were not as fortunate as Rohan Watson was edged out of a podium finish in the men’s 100m dash. The reigning Jamaican champion finished fifth in 10.26. He was credited with the same time as fourth-placed finisher Brandon Hicklin of the USA and was 0.01 behind Great Britain’s Jeremiah Azu, who took third in 10.25.

There was no doubt about the winner Emmanuel Eseme of Cameroon who crossed first in 10.11 with Canada’s Andre Degrasse finishing in second place in 10.19.

Yohan Blake ran a season’s best 10.41 while being eighth.

In the men’s discus, Travis Smikle once again exceeded 66m but missed out on a podium position. He finished fourth with his best throw of 66.03m. However, he was no match for winner Mykolas Anelka. The newly minted world record holder produced an impressive throw of 70.70m to win the contest.

Matthew Denny of Australia finished in the runner-up position with his throw of 67.74m. Olympic and World Champion Daniel Stahl threw 67.49m for third place.

Fedrick Dacres threw 65.05 for sixth place.

 

When Nikisha Pryce clocked a lifetime best of 49.32 seconds at the Southeastern Conference Championships in Gainesville, Florida on May 11, one of the keen observers was Shericka Williams. Now 38 years old and residing in the United States, Williams currently shares with Pryce the title of second-fastest Jamaican woman ever to run the 400m. Pryce's time sits just two-thousandths of a second shy of Lorraine Graham’s national record of 49.30, set in Monaco 22 years ago.

Williams, a three-time Olympic silver medalist who also won five silver medals at the World Championships, came agonizingly close to breaking the national record herself at the 2009 championships in Berlin, where she finished as runner-up to Jamaican-born American Sanya Richards.

Having closely followed Pryce’s progression over the years, Williams expressed her belief in the 23-year-old SEC champion’s potential to surpass Fenton’s longstanding record. In an exclusive chat with Sportsmax.TV, Williams shared her insights: “I have been watching her progress and how much she has grown in the event. I do believe she has the ability to break the national record if she remains focused, continues to stay healthy, and avoids overworking herself.”

Reflecting on Pryce’s athletic prowess, Williams continued, “We both share the joint second-fastest time. From observing her performances indoors and outdoors, she runs smoothly with apparent ease, and her 200m speed complements her 400m ability. Lorraine’s record has stood for years, and despite attempts from myself, Novelene (Williams), and others, it remains unbroken. I hope Nikisha can achieve this feat and also secure a spot on the Olympic team, reaching the final and delivering a performance worthy of a medal.”

Williams, who shares a similar physique to Pryce, believes that breaking the record is within reach. Recalling her near-miss in 2009, she noted, “I was in 48-second shape going into the championships based on my training. However, I didn’t execute my race properly; my third 100 meters was too slow. Breaking the record hinges on how well you manage each 100 meters, and with the leg speed I possessed, I truly believe I could have set a new record, but unfortunately, I couldn’t get my race strategy right.”

Despite her near-miss, Williams holds high hopes for Pryce, the current senior at the University of Arkansas. “I wish her all the best, and I will be cheering her on,” Williams concluded, expressing optimism that Pryce could achieve what she and many others have aimed for but fallen short of accomplishing.

The stage is set for a thrilling showcase of athletic prowess as the 2024 Grenada Invitational gears up to welcome a star-studded lineup of track and field talents. Hometown heroes Kirani James and Anderson Peters, alongside the incomparable Elaine Thompson-Herah, lead the pack of 100 athletes confirmed to compete at the prestigious event, slated to take place on Thursday, June 6, at the Kirani James Stadium in Grenada.

The excitement surrounding the meet was palpable as it was officially launched on Thursday at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort in St. George's. The presence of Olympic champions and world-class athletes promises an electrifying atmosphere for spectators and competitors alike.

Joining the illustrious lineup are Commonwealth Games 110m hurdles champion Rasheed Broadbell, set to make his season debut, and Olympic bronze medalist Megan Tapper. Their participation adds further depth and excitement to an already stacked field of competitors that will also include Grenada’s Olympic hopefuls quarter-miler Melenie Rodney, sprinter Halle Hazzard as well as decathletes Linden Victor and Kurt Felix. Both decathletes will participate in the long jump and 100m events.

The meet will also herald the celebration of a significant milestone—the 40th anniversary of Grenada's first participation in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984. To honor this occasion, all 51 athletes who have represented the country at the Olympics over the past four decades will be celebrated and honored at a special ceremony scheduled for 6:00 pm on the day of the event.

The festivities are set to kick off at 4:30 pm with national segments featuring local athletes across various age categories, from U13 to U20. This segment serves as a platform to showcase the budding talent within Grenada's track and field community and underscores the nation's commitment to nurturing the next generation of athletic stars.

As the sun sets and the international segment commences at 7:00 pm, spectators can expect nothing short of top-tier performances from some of the world's most elite athletes. From sprints to hurdles, jumps to throws, the Grenada Invitational promises a spectacle of athletic excellence that will captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression on the global track and field stage.

The meet organizers say the full cast of athletes competing at the meet will be revealed over the next two weeks.

Jamaican sprinter Jonielle Smith is on a determined path to overcome adversity as she sets her sights on qualifying for her first Olympic Games this summer.

The 28-year-old athlete, who tasted victory as part of Jamaica's gold-winning 4x100m relay team at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, has faced significant setbacks following a motor-vehicle accident later that year which left her battling injuries, particularly to her back.

After a challenging recovery, Smith's journey took her back to Jamaica, transitioning from Florida-based MVP International to the MVP Track Club, where she has been steadily rebuilding her form but it hasn’t been easy.

“Trust me. I don’t think anybody trains as hard as Jamaicans. Last year, when I tell you my body went through it, not only from injuries but as simple as the workouts being exhausting. It definitely hit me hard but this year I feel like it’s more just injuries that are my problem rather than the workouts. So that’s a plus. Now, we’re just trying to get back to where we were or even better than where we were.”

Despite enduring a tumultuous period with injuries limiting her appearances in 2021 and 2022, Smith remains optimistic about her prospects, especially with the Jamaican trials approaching at the end of June.

Reflecting on her current struggles, Smith emphasized the mental fortitude required to regain her form, both in practice and competition. "It’s rough. I think this part of it is mainly mental, trying to find back myself both in practice and now in competition," she said.

“The good thing is that practice is basically picking up so now I just have to work on continuing to be consistent and then translate that into competition.”

Regarding her race on Saturday, where she finished third in the Women's 100m B final, Smith admitted it wasn't up to her expectations but recognized it as a stepping stone in her comeback. "It wasn’t what I expected. I really wanted more but we have to take the good with the bad," she shared.

“Last week was my first month back so this one was like ‘alright we are we, what can we improve on. My execution wasn’t as good as last week, which I don’t like but hopefully whenever I compete again I will be much better.”

Despite the challenges, Smith has found encouragement in her progress, particularly with her back feeling more stable. However, new issues with her shoulder and neck have emerged this year, impacting her training and race readiness. Nevertheless, Smith remains steadfast, focusing on incremental improvements each day.

 

“Thankfully, that’s why I am even more positive now is that my back is actually now behaving. I feel like I have got stronger in those areas in terms of my glutes, hamstrings, and all those supporting areas but for some reason my shoulder and neck decided to go crazy on me this year and it’s a case where we are not really sure of what is going on but it really has affected both training and competition hence why I am basically just going at it (competition) again.

“But we’re slowly making progress. I still have a couple weeks to go, practice is picking up which I am extremely grateful for so I just need to continue racing and translate training into competition.”

Smith's coach and support team are working diligently to address her physical challenges and fine-tune her race execution in preparation for the upcoming trials. With just six weeks remaining, Smith is determined to translate her training efforts into competitive success and secure her spot on the Olympic team.

 

 

In a week highlighted by outstanding performances at the SEC Championships, Jamaican athletes, Brianna Lyston and Nickisha Pryce, have earned spots on the latest edition of The Bowerman Watch List, released on Wednesday. For Pryce, it marks a significant debut, while Lyston continues to solidify her presence among collegiate track and field's elite.

Nickisha Pryce's inclusion on the list comes on the heels of her standout performance at the SEC Championships in Florida. The senior at the University of Arkansas blazed through the 400m in a remarkable 49.32 seconds, making her the second-fastest Jamaican woman ever over the distance. This achievement places her just shy of the national record held by Lorraine Graham at 49.30 seconds. Pryce's sensational debut on the Watch List underscores her rising prominence within the collegiate sprinting scene.

Pryce, who hails from St. Mary, Jamaica, also became the No. 3 collegian all-time in a race that featured four sub-50 collegians for the first time. She followed with an outdoor PR 22.67 for seventh in 200m. In the winter, she was runner-up in the 400 at both the SEC Indoor and NCAA Indoor 400 with a best of 50.83 while also clocking an absolute PR of 22.62 in the 200. Pryce is the 13th Arkansas woman named to the Watch List, leaving the Razorbacks behind only Oregon (18) and Texas A&M (15) all-time in that regard.

Meanwhile, Brianna Lyston, representing LSU and her hometown of Portmore, Jamaica, delivered a series of impressive performances at the SEC Championships. Lyston claimed victory in the 100 meters with a personal record time of 10.91 seconds, propelling her to the ninth-fastest all-time collegiately in this event. Additionally, she showcased her versatility by finishing fourth in the 200 meters (22.37 seconds) and contributing a strong lead leg for LSU's third-place 4x100 relay team (42.49 seconds). Lyston's consistency and speed both indoors and outdoors have earned her a remarkable sixth appearance on The Bowerman Watch List.

Among other notable athletes recognized on the latest edition of the Watch List are JaMeesia Ford from South Carolina (Sprints), Rachel Glenn from Arkansas (Hurdles/Jumps), and Jasmine Jones from Southern California (Sprints/Hurdles), highlighting the exceptional talent across various disciplines in collegiate track and field.

As Lyston and Pryce continue to push boundaries and raise the bar in their respective events, their achievements at the SEC Championships have rightfully secured their places on The Bowerman Watch List, a testament to their outstanding performances and potential in the world of track and field.

 

 

 

 

Jamaican sprint hurdlers Omar McLeod and Britany Anderson delivered strong performances at the 13th Savona International Meeting in Savona, Italy on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old McLeod, the 2016 Rio Olympics champion in the 110m hurdles, marked an encouraging start to his season with a thrilling victory. The 2017 world champion clocked a winning time of 13.37 seconds in his first competitive race in the event since April 2023 at the LSU Invitational in the United States. Despite facing challenges with rhythm and hitting hurdles during the race, he held off Great Britain's Joshua Zeller (13.42) and Spain's Enrique Llopis (13.43) to secure the victory.

Anderson, meanwhile, the 2022 World Championship silver medalist in the 100m hurdles, continued her impressive form by winning her event with a season-best time of 12.88 seconds. Anderson engaged in a tight battle with Ireland's Zarah Lavin (12.92) and Italy's Eliza Maria Di Lazzaro (12.99), ultimately crossing the line first to claim victory.

Anderson's performance marked a significant improvement from her previous outing, where she clocked 13.23 seconds for victory at the X Athletic Elite Meeting in Milan earlier in April.

With the national championships in Jamaica approaching in just six weeks, the success of both McLeod and Anderson signals promising prospects as they aim to excel and secure coveted spots in Jamaica's Olympic team for the upcoming Games in Paris.

 

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