It almost went unnoticed among Jamaican track and field fans when Jazeel Murphy ran 10.17 in the preliminary round of the 100m at the American Track League meeting in California on Sunday. He would run a wind-aided 10.15 in the final while finishing sixth.

The performance prompted TITANS International Coach Michael Frater to express his pride in the achievement. “Proudest moment as a coach, so far. @JazeelMurphy finally lowering his PB after almost 10 years,” Frater posted on Instagram.

It was some achievement indeed and a long road back for one of the more promising talents from just over a decade ago.

Murphy was once a standout high school sprinter at Bridgeport High School. Blessed with raw speed and electric acceleration, he was among a talented group of young sprinters like Odean Skeen and Kemar Bailey-Cole from the era of the early 2000s, who seemed destined for greater things.

“Jazeel, as a youngster was on several junior teams and ran sub 21 at Carifta,” recalled David Riley, one of the top coaches in the country. “He was one of more the more promising athletes from that era but he had some lingering issues due to differences in his leg length (but) definitely the ability was always there.”

Murphy won the U17 sprint double at the Carifta Games in St Lucia in 2009 in 10.41 and 20.97, respectively, the latter a championship record. He won the U20 100m title in Jamaica in 2011 in 10.27.

Building on his momentum and rising status as perhaps the next great sprinter from Jamaica, the former Bridgeport High School athlete, won another Carifta U20 title in Bermuda in 2012 in a very windy 10.31 (5.7m/s). He later ran 10.29s for fifth place at the World U20 Championships in Barcelona, Spain, that same year.

The future loomed bright for Murphy, who would later join the Racer’s Track Club where it was hoped he would follow in the footsteps of Usain Bolt, who by then had won his sixth Olympic gold medal. However, in the years that followed, through injury and other related issues, Murphy failed to live up to expectations and began a steady decline.

After 2012, when he ran his personal best 10.25 into a headwind of -1.2m/s in Barcelona, Murphy seemed to get slower over time. Between 2013 and 2020, Murphy ran season-best time of 10.25 in 2013, 10.65 in 2014, 10.39 in 2015, 10.50 in 2016, 10.61 in 2017, 10.51 in 2018 and 10.85 in 2020. After almost a decade, no one remembered Murphy or even cared. He had become a statistic. Another of Jamaica's talented athletes who had fallen through the cracks.

Last summer, all that began to change.

Murphy, now 27, joined TITANS International in June 2020, weighing in at a whopping 260 pounds, Coach Gregory Little revealed to Sportsmax. TV. The first order of business, Little said, was to get his weight down under a two-year plan that will see him running even faster in 2022.

“This year was about conditioning and we want to get him up and running next year, getting him back to the feeling of running fast,” said Little, who believes Murphy, now down to about 185 pounds, should be running 9.9s by 2022.

“Hopefully, he can. He is just starting to learn everything about track and field.”

The first signs of Murphy’s revival came at the Olympic Destiny meet on May 22 when he ran 10.35. The following week he ran 10.28 just off his personal best at the time. Another 10.28 followed on June 5.

At the national championships, he ran 10.34 in the preliminary round but only after coming to an almost complete stop after emerging from the blocks thinking there was a false start. Realizing his mistake, he sped down the track but ran out of room and placed fifth.

His next stop was Mission Viejo in California on Sunday where he made the breakthrough, clocking a lifetime best of 10.17.

Little is hopeful that this is just the beginning of a revival for the ages, one that could see Jazeel Murphy take a major step forward in fulfilling his true potential.

Yohan Blake and Megan Tapper scored impressive victories in their respective events at the American Track League meeting in California on Sunday.

After three consecutive second-place finishes, Danniel Thomas-Dodd got her second win of the season when she threw a season-best 19.26m at the American Track League meet in Tennessee on Sunday.

It was her first win and first mark over 19m since she threw 19.17m on April 10 in Miramar, Florida. In her three, previous outings she had marks of 18.46m, 18.91m and 18.46, respectively. In Tennessee, she got the better of a quality field of athletes like Jessica Ramsay of the USA, who threw 18.78m.

Raven Saunders put 18.50m for third.

Fourth-place was taken by young Jamaican thrower Lloydricia Cameron, who managed a best effort of 17.57m.

Meanwhile, Christopher Taylor, also produced a season-best in the 400m, clocking 45.67 to finish behind Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas who cruised to victory in 45.06.  Quintaveon Poole was third in 45.92.

Leah Nugent also produced a season-best 55.34 while chasing World Championship silver medalist Sydney McLaughlin. The second-fastest woman of all time over the distance clocked a world-leading 52.83 in her first race in the event this season.

Sage Watson of Canada was third in 56.04. Sparkle McKnight of Trinidad and Tobago also ran a season-best 56.06 for fourth.

The USA’s Andre Hudson ran 10.27 to win the 100m dash in which Jevaughn Minzie finished fourth in 10.41.

Saudi Arabia’s Abdullah Mohammed (10.32) and Canada’s Bismark Boateng (10.35) took the other podium spots.

 

Olympic champion Omar McLeod and Britany Anderson won in impressive fashion at the American Track League meet in California on Saturday.

Danielle Williams won the 60mh hurdles at the final American Track League meeting this evening in the third-fastest time in the world this year.

Omar McLeod was a winner in the 60m hurdles at the American Track League meeting in Arkansas earlier today but his win was among several standout performances from several Caribbean athletes, who produced personal best or season-best times.

The 2016 Olympic champion ran 7.53 while holding off the challenge of American Michael Dickson who crossed in 7.58. Trinidad and Tobago’s Ruebin Walters was third in 7.68.

In the women’s equivalent, Great Britain’s Tiffany Porter won in 7.95 just managing to hold off a fast-finishing Brittany Anderson, who was 0.02 behind in 7.97. Gabbi Cunningham was third in 8.08. Rushelle Burton returning to competition from injury was fourth in 8.20.

For the second week running Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare managed to hold off Christania Williams in the 60m dash. This time, however, the Nigerian ran a personal best of 7.10 after separating from the Jamaican who equalled her personal best of 7.14.

Teahna Daniels of the USA was third in a season-best 7.17.

The winner of the Women’s 400m was determined over two heats by time trial and Shamier Little was easily the fastest winning Heat One in a personal best 51.33. Shakima Wimbley also of the US took second after winning Heat Two in 52.12.

Jamaica’s Shian Salmon ran a personal best of 52.85 for second in Heat One but was third overall.

In the men's event, Michael Cherry of the USA won heat one in a personal best 45.24 for the win. Second and third were determined by a battle between Deon Lendore of Trinidad and Tobago and Christopher Taylor of Jamaica. Lendore emerged as the second-place finisher after winning Heat 2 in 46.08 to Taylor' 46.09, which was good enough for third overall.

Laquan Nairn jumped a personal best and national record 8.16m in the Men’s Long Jump but had to settle for second as the USA’s Marquis Dendy won the event with a world-leading 8.21m on his final jump of the competition.

Charles Brown of the USA was third with a jump of 7.81m.

 

 

 

Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Jereem Richards pulled off impressive victories at the second meet of the American Track League this season in Fayetteville, Arkansas earlier today.

Odean Skeen intends to open his campaign towards this summer’s Olympic Games with a 60m dash in the second American Track League meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas this weekend.

2015 World 100m hurdles gold medallist, Danielle Williams, is expected to open her season in the United States, at the American Track League Indoor Series, next month.

The upcoming appearance will be the first for the 28-year-old sprinter since she pulled the plug on her 2020 season, in May, when the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the international track and field schedule.

The American Track League, which is part of the World Athletics Silver Tour, gives professional athletes an opportunity to return to competition as preparations begin for an Olympic year. 

The meet, which is staged in four-parts, ran off in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Sunday.  2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 110m hurdles, Omar McLeod, who raced in the 60 metres, was one of several Jamaicans who took part on the opening weekend.  The list also included the likes of Tyquendo Tracey, Senoj-Jay Givans, and Christopher Taylor.  The meet will continue with the next three installments on January 31st, February 7th, and February 14th.

Williams, the 2019 Diamond League champion, is based in South Carolina in the USA where she trains with coach Lennox Graham at Clemson University.

Christopher Taylor says he is glad to have got the chance to prove himself to the world once more following his impressive indoor debut in Arkansas on Sunday.

Christopher Taylor and Christania Williams copped second-place finishes in the 400m and 60m races, respectively at the opening meet on the American Track League circuit in Fayetteville, Arkansas earlier today.

Andre Ewers, meanwhile, finished third in the men’s 60 dash that ended in a dominant win for American Trayvon Brommell.

Taylor, who was making his debut indoors, ran 45.73 in the 400m that was won impressively by American Fred Kerley in 45.03. Kerley said afterwards that he would have gone faster had he been pressed.

The 45.73, however, would have been an encouraging start for Taylor, who spent much of the past two seasons recovering from injury after he made the move to Florida to train with Rana Reider at Tumbleweed Track Club.

Travean Caldwell was third in 46.25.

Williams, the 2018 Commonwealth Games 100m silver medalist, ended up second in a blanket-finish with Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare who won in 7.17s. Williams’ 7.18 mirrored the time she ran in the preliminaries earlier. Kayla White was third in 7.20.

Ewers ran 6.74 in the preliminaries to advance along with Omar McLeod whose 6.73 made him the fastest Jamaican going into the finals. Neither of them was as impressive as Bromell, who ran 6.58 easing down as he made his way into the final.

In the final, he let it all hang out winning handsomely in 6.48. The rest of the field finished under a blanket with Nigeria’s Divine Oduduru given second in 6.65 with Ewers third in 6.67. McLeod was a further 0.03 seconds back in sixth.

Brittany Anderson, who set the U20 world record in the 100m hurdles in Finland in July 2019,  found the going at the senior level a little tougher today finishing fourth in the 60m hurdles.

Her time of 8.06s was the fastest for a Jamaican this year but Tiffany Porter (7.89), Christina Clemons (7.88), and, winner, Tonea Marshall (7.86) were that much faster.

 

Jamaica’s Christopher Taylor is set to make his indoor debut on Sunday as the American Track League gets underway this season, meet organizer Paul Doyle has confirmed.

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