Jamaica double Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah, had no comment regarding the pre-race comments of Sha’Carri Richardson after handing the American a crushing defeat at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday.

Thompson-Herah clocked a new personal best of 10.54 in the women’s 100m, just outside of the longstanding world record set by Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988.  Similar to the finish at the Olympics a few weeks ago, her compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.73) and Shericka Jackson (10.76) we second and third.

Heading into the race, however, the focus had been on the return to the sprints of American Sha’Carri Richardson.  Richardson had run 10.72 in April and won the US trials to set up the prospect of an intriguing match-up at the Olympics.  The 21-year-old was, however, suspended ahead of Tokyo after returning a positive test for marijuana.

Ahead of the Wanda Diamond League, many framed the race as an Olympic do-over for the American, who certainly headed into the event sky-high on confidence with plenty of pre-race chatter to boot.  It did not go to plan.  Richardson finished last in 11.14, and at the end of the race, the Olympic do-over had the same three medallists as the original.  On Richardson’s placing and pre-race chatter, the decorated sprint queens had no comment.

“I wasn’t watching Sha’Carri to be honest,” Fraser-Pryce, who went viral for a cheeky post-race smirk as she passed by the American being interviewed, said.

“No, you shouldn’t have,” Fraser-Pryce replied when anyone should have really been surprised by another Jamaican sweep.

Fraser-Pryce may well have a point, perhaps expecting Richardson, who is yet to win a major medal, to match up to the in-form Jamaican 100m medallist, who in total have 8 Olympic medals between them and three of the four fastest times in history, might have been a stretch.

“I didn’t hear much of that,” Thompson-Herah said when quizzed on the American's pre-race comments.

 “No comment on that,” the athlete added when asked for her assessment of Richardson’s performance.

Jamaica double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah put away a top-quality field to massively improve an already impressive personal best, at the Prefontaine Classic, Wanda Diamond League meet in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

Fresh off an impressive triumph at the Tokyo Games, Thompson-Herah was in no mood to slow down, and in fact, went considerably faster.  The Jamaican pulled away from compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in the final metres of the race to stop the clock at 10.54, just .05 second outside of the world record set by the United States' Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988.

In almost identical fashion to Tokyo, Fraser-Pryce was second in 10.73, with Shericka Jackson third in 10.76.

Prior to the race, a lot of the attention was focussed on the return of flamboyant United States sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson who missed out on a match-up with the Jamaica trio at the Olympics, after serving a brief suspension for testing positive for marijuana. 

Expectations had been heightened for the sprinter’s return after emphatically winning the US trials before the Games.  In Eugene, however, she was nowhere to be found.  Richardson got away slowly and never got into the race, ending at the back of the field in a pedestrian 11.14.  Thompson-Herah now has the two fastest times outside of the longstanding world record set by Griffith-Joyner.

 

Jamaica’s Ackera Nugent put in a dominant performance to claim the women’s 100m hurdles title at the World Athletics U20 Championships, in Nairobi, Kenya on Saturday.

The event itself was filled with on-track carnage as Switzerland’s Ditaji Kambundji, who was stride for stride with Nugent early on, clipped the fourth hurdle before crashing into the fifth.

The accident put off Poland’s Weronika Barcz who was also out of the race after hitting the fifth hurdle and perhaps also Slovakia’s Viktória Forster who failed to navigate the seventh obstacle.

Nugent, however, held her nerve to finish comfortably ahead of the field, stopping the clock at 12.95.  Estonia’s Anna Millend was second in 13.45 with Hungary's Anna Tóth third in 13.58.

In the men’s equivalent, Vashaun Vascianna hit the second to last hurdle but still managed to make his way onto the medal podium after finishing second behind France’s Sasha Zhoya.  The Frenchman clocked a world U-20 record 12.72 over the distance, with the Jamaican trailing behind in a personal best 13.25.  Poland’s Jakub Szymański also clocked a personal best, 13.43, to secure the bronze medal.

In the women’s 200m the Jamaicans missed out on the medal spots after Briana Lyston, who crossed the line fourth, was disqualified.  The other Jamaican in the event, Aalliyah Francis finished 7th in 23.96.  The event was won by Namibia’s Christine Mboma, in a championship record 21.84, with her compatriot Beatrice Masilingi second in 22.18, Nigeria’s Favour Ofili was third in 22.23.

 

Venerated Jamaica sprinter, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, insists she remains motivated by tough competition from her fellow Jamaicans, despite routinely being faced with the challenge of trying to secure a spot on one of the most difficult teams in the world to make.

For basketball there's the United States Dream Team, for football, it’s Brazil for track and field, surely the Jamaica women’s sprint team has to be right up there.

At the country’s national trials, Fraser-Pryce (10.71), Shericka Jackson (10.82), and Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.84) were the three athletes to secure an automatic spot.  In Tokyo, as many predicted a few weeks later, the places were different, with Thompson-Herah taking gold, Fraser-Pryce silver, and Jackson bronze but the trio remained the same.

At the Jamaica trials, Briana Williams, the 2018 world junior champion, found herself with only a relay spot after clocking 11.01, a time that would have been good enough to win most national championships around the globe let alone make the team.

In such a competitive field, there is certainly very little room for error and a bad day could mean the difference between first and third or missing out entirely.  Fraser-Pryce wouldn’t have it any other way.

“For me, I’m kind of glad that we have that competition because when you are in practice you have to always make sure that you are giving 100 percent at all times,” Fraser-Pryce told members of the media ahead of Saturday’s Diamond League meet in Eugene.

,“You don’t have room for any errors or any time for slacking off because there are so many other ladies who are behind, who are coming.  So, it definitely forces you to be on your A-game and I think that’s good for me as an athlete.”

Fraser-Pryce will face off against Thompson-Herah, Jackson, and American Sha’Carri Richardson in the 100m today.

Jamaica Olympic 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson has admitted that she is yet to decide what distance to compete over in the future, with the 400m remaining near and dear to her heart.

Jackson, who began her senior career as a quarter-miler, and in fact has an Olympic bronze medal in the event from the 2016 Olympics, surprised many with her decision to drop to the 100m and 200m sprints ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

The results, however, speak for themselves. Jackson achieved personal bests of 10.76 and 21.82, times which undoubtedly put her among the elite echelons of the events.  In addition to that, the athlete claimed a bronze medal behind compatriots Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in Tokyo.

“As a quarter-miler stepping down a lot of people would have said, oh you can’t do it but a lot of quarter-milers have stepped down and shown it is possible.  When you show up at the line, you give your best, my best was good enough, I got a medal,” Jackson told members of the media ahead of Saturday'ss Diamond League meet in Eugene Oregon.

With the World Championships expected to get underway in just around a year’s time, the sprinter will have a decision to make, stick to the 100m, 200m, attempt the 200m, 400m or return to just the 400m.  She, however, believes there is plenty of time to sort that out.

“The good thing about this is that I can switch the events at any time.  I can run all three.  It has to be a decision me and my coach will make.  I still have a lot of love for the 400m, it’s not that I stopped running the 400m.  I just took a break and the break was really good for me.”

Jamaica World U20 Championships 100m metres gold medalist Tina Clayton has expressed delight at hitting the ceiling for a junior athlete after taking the title in emphatic fashion on Thursday.

Clayton put on a dominant performance that left the rest of the field drifting in her dust, eventually stopping the clock at a new personal best 11.09.  Namibia’s Beatrice Masilingi was a distant second in 11.39, with Switzerland’s Melissa Gutschmidt third in 11.51.

Clayton’s win follows in the footsteps of legendary compatriot Veronica Campbell-Brown and Briana Williams who claimed the sprint double at the 2018 edition.

“Winning was a dream come true because I always wanted a medal at this level.  This is the highest level that you can reach as a junior and once you are at this level you know you have been recognized by a lot of persons,” Clayton said following the race.

“Jamaica has a very good sprint team.  Coming out here and retaining the title as a Jamaican, it feels really great.  I know a lot of Jamaicans back at home are very excited.”

Unlike Williams and Campbell-Brown, however, Clayton will not be doubling at the event. Brianna Lyston and Aalliyah Francis are the athletes registered to compete in the 200m event, which gets underway on Friday.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has hailed the contribution of allrounder and former captain Jason Holder as the team looks to secure its first Test series win over Pakistan in almost two decades.

Holder crafted a crucial second-innings knock of 58 and took 4 wickets as the team held on for a nail-biting one-wicket win to take the lead.

However, the top allrounder has also gained plenty of attention for his actions off the field, particularly for the mentorship shown to young fast-bowler Jayden Seales.  Seales was one of the highlights of the first match for the Windies after claiming an impressive five-wicket second innings haul.

“Obviously, Jason is the number one all-rounder in the world.  He is very crucial, and he has done a fantastic job, obviously with Jayden.  I see them having a lot of chats,” Brathwaite told members of the media via an online press conference on Thursday.

“All the guys are doing a good job, they all came together but obviously Jason is the number one all-rounder in the world so obviously he brings a lot of value.”

Brathwaite replaced Holder as captain of the team in February, following a successful tour of Bangladesh, the team has since drawn with Sri Lanka and lost to South Africa.

West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood is confident the team is on the way to providing more consistent performances at the crease, despite recent displays of inconsistent form.

The Windies scored a  dramatic win over Pakistan to take a 1-0 lead in the ongoing two-Test series.  The match featured typically robust performances from the team’s bowlers with Jayden Seales ending with 125 for 8 and Kemar Roach 5 for 77.

With the bat, there were solid performances from captain Kraigg Brathwaite, Jason Holder, and Blackwood but elsewhere in the batting order, the concentration and execution on display from the line-up sparked cause for concern.  For Blackwood, however, it remains a work in progress and a hurdle that the unit will get over sooner or later.

“We are making improvements, baby steps.  It’s just the process, we are working hard as a batting unit, even though we did not get the scores we wanted,” Blackwood told members of the media on Wednesday.

"I see this unit is in a good place and on pace to do well for all the people of the West Indies, themselves and their families, and every day that we go to train we put in 150 percent,” he added.

Since the start of the year, Blackwood has himself struggled with the bat, averaging 22.92 in 7 Test matches played.  So far, he has a high score of 68.

 

 

 

The Jamaica duo of Tina Clayton and Kerrica Hill advanced to the final of the women’s 100m, in contrasting fashion, at the World Athletics U20 Championships, in Nairobi, Kenya, on Tuesday.

In semifinal 1 Clayton put on a dominant display of sprinting to easily clear the rest of the field before stopping the clock at 11.34.  Serbia’s Ivana Ilic was second in 11.50 and secured the other qualifying spot.  Romania’s Maria Mihalache was third in 11.64 but did not advance.

Hill has a much more difficult time of things in semifinal 2.  It was Namibia’s Beatrice Masilingi who put away that field, claiming the top spot in 11.35.  Switzerland’s Melissa Gutschmidt was second in 11.50 and Viktória Forster third in 11.54.  Hill was third in 11.60 but still managed to advance as one of the fastest losers.

Semifinal three was won by Nigeria’s Praise Ofoku in 11.57, with Czech Republic’s Eva Kubíčková securing the second automatic qualifying spot after finishing second in 11.64.  The Bahamas’ Camille Rutherford took third spot in Trinidad and Tobago’s in 11.72, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Leah Bertrand was fourth in 11.80.

In the men’s equivalent, Cuba’s Shainer Rengifo was one of two Caribbean athletes to advance to the final, after finishing second in semifinal 3.  The event was won by Nigeria’s Godson Oke Oghenebrume who claimed first place in 10.22.  Bahamian athlete Carlos Brown was fourth.  Jamaica’s Brian Levell faced the starter for semifinal 2 but was disqualified after a false start. 

The race was won by Oman's Ali Anwar Ali AL Balushi who won the event in a new national record of 10.27.  Italy’s Matteo Melluzzo was second in 10.29, with South Africa’s Benjamin Richardson third in 10.30.  Grenada’s Nazzio John was fourth in a personal best 10.32.  John and Melluzzo secured qualifying positions as the fastest losers.

Botswana’s Letsile Tebogo was the winner of semifinal 1 in a quick 10.11, with Poland’s Oliwer Wdowik also securing a spot after finishing second in 10.37.  Jamaica’s Alicke Cranston finished last in 10.94.

Talented up and coming West Indies fast bowler Jayden Seales has vowed to continue focusing on development as he does not believe himself to be the finished product.

Seales played a leading role in the team’s one wicket over Pakistan earlier this week, in the process of securing his first-ever five-wicket haul.  In the process, he also made history by becoming the youngest West Indies bowler to achieve the feat at 19 years and 336 days.

With many already predicting a big future for the young player, however,  Seales himself believes it is important to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground.  Over the last few years, several young fast bowlers have threatened to make the breakthrough for the Caribbean team but have seen their development stalled at various points.

“It’s just for me to stay in the moment.  I will ride the fame and everything, but for me, it’s about continuing to work on my game.  I’m not where I want it to be.  I’m not the finished product.  I know I can be better,” Seales told members of the media on Tuesday.

“It’s just for me to work on my game a little more, build on the things I want to improve on, build from there and eventually become better.”

In three matches so far Seales has claimed a total of 13 wickets.

The second match of the two-Test series will begin on Friday at Jamaica’s Sabina Park.

 

Three-time Tokyo Olympics medallist Shericka Jackson impressed plenty of onlookers with her speed at the recently concluded Games, but many were left even more astonished by the superb conditioning that saw her take part in four events.

Jackson claimed a bronze medal in the 100m, competed in the first round of the 200m, and claimed gold in the 4x100m, before being part of a bronze medal-winning team in the grueling 4x400m relays.

A remarkable achievement, particularly considering that only a year ago a troublesome injury threatened to seriously curtail her participation in the Tokyo Games.  Jackson suffered from severe shin splints a condition that affects the tibia and produces sharp and razor-like pain along the bone.

With the heavy demand placed on the legs by track athletes, the condition can, at worst, be debilitating enough to require surgery or at the other end of the spectrum certainly prevent the runner from delivering their full potential on the track.

When the athlete showed up at the offices of physiotherapist and performance enhancement specialist Yael Jagbir, in September of last year, her condition was much closer to needing surgery.

“It was pretty severe because if I even touched the area it was painful and she was unable to continue her season because of the pain she was in.  She would have trouble warming up and things like that, so it was very severe initially,” Jagbir told SportsMax.TV.

“I’ve seen stress fractures that you definitely need surgery.  If hers wasn’t treated properly it could have led to her needing to do surgery on her shins.  It was right on the cusp of that point that she would have needed surgery,” she added.

After months of highly specialized treatment from Jagbir, however, the athlete slowly began to see improvement and the painstaking work really paid off in April, with the Olympic qualifiers just a few months away.

“Three months between September to November we were doing some very intense work, some pool therapy, land-based therapy.  I was also doing treatment modalities to promote healing for the stress fractures,” Jagbir explained.

“When November came, she went back to training, we continued working with some modifications.  In December, she did an x-ray and the x-ray showed that they were seeing signs of healing and that was the first time she was seeing healing in the shin from when it first started in 2019.”

“We just kept working, her work ethic is impeccable, so it was a good team effort.  In April, when she did another x-ray, by that time the pain in the shin had really started to subside, she was able to train and able to sprint.  When she went for the repeat x-ray, in April, it showed no signs of fractures.  That was amazing, that was a miracle, for those fractures to heal while she was actually training is really amazing.”

Typically, a 400m runner, Jackson dropped down to the sprints for Jamaica’s national championships, where she surprised many by placing second in both the 100m and 200m sprints.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Atapharoy Bygrave scored arguably the goal of the season that earned Dunbeholden FC a fortunate 1-1 draw with Tivoli Gardens in the feature match of the Jamaica Premier League at the UWI-JFF Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on Tuesday.

Romaine Bowers had given Tivoli Gardens a 9th-minute lead, slotting home from close range after William Benjamin parried Devroy Grey’s fierce shot into his path in the ninth minute.

But Bygrave picked up a ball just below halfline and unleashed a ferocious shot that sailed past the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Davin Watkins on the stroke of halftime in the 45+2 minute.

It was a wonder strike by Bygrave and it was just as impressive as his celebration where he

would have been given a 10 out of 10 for his somersault and perfect landing.

Bygrave’s goal was worthy of a share of the points although, in truth, Tivoli Gardens should

have won comfortably as they wasted a number of chances.

Jamaica international and Preston North End midfielder Daniel Johnson has reflected positively on his time at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and believes it was good background preparation for the upcoming English Championship season.

The 28-year-old was part of the Jamaica Reggae Boyz squad that bowed out of the competition following a 1-0 loss to the United States in the quarterfinals.  Johnson, who made his debut last year in a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, played all four games for the team at the tournament and was named Jamaica’s man-of-match against Costa Rica.

“It was my first experience of a tournament and was lovely to be part of.  It was a different experience playing against international players and the games had a different feel than league games over here,” Johnson told the Lancashire Post.

“The first two games in the group which we won against Suriname and Guadeloupe, we controlled.  In terms of building up my fitness ready for this season, the tournament was brilliant,” he added.

 “I played 90 minutes in the first two games, 85 in the third, and then 90 minutes in the quarter-finals. That was a big boost having missed the back end of last season.”

Preston will kick off its English Football League (EFL) against Reading on Saturday.

 

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