Following an impressive season-best run over 400m at the second JAAA/SDF Jubilee Saturday night, Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Candice McLeod revealed that she has been working on a new race plan that she believes could make even faster than she was in 2021.

Inside the National Stadium in Kingston, the well-chiselled McLeod exploded at the 250m mark and pulled away from the field to win handsomely in 50.58. In her devastating wake were the Sprintec pair of Tiffany James and Ashley Williams, who ran 52.10 and 53.40 for second and third, respectively.

McLeod’s winning time was the third-fastest by a Jamaican woman behind Charokee Young (49.87) and Stacey-Ann Williams (50.21).

Surprisingly, she was pleased but not overly impressed with the performance.

 “I feel okay but I feel like I have a little more (to give). I feel like I was just working on what we have been working on in training,” she said following the victory.

The new race plan that she and coach Fitz Coleman has been putting together is intended to take her to the next level because despite running a massive personal best of 49.51 at the Olympics last summer, McLeod feels as if she needs to suffer to get the best out of her body.

“Honestly, even when I ran 49.5, I never felt like I gave it my all. I didn’t feel the leg pain, the headaches and whatever so I feel like I didn’t do enough,” she explained.

“I have always wanted to feel at my maximum regardless of what it feels like. I want to feel like I am dying so I felt like I needed to switch it up a bit to get that dying feeling. Today wasn’t bad, it still wasn’t there but it’s getting there.”

That plan has been coming together since the outdoor season began earlier this year when she opened with 51.78 at the MVP Velocity Fest meet in Kingston on April 2 before flying off to Bermuda where in extremely windy conditions on April 9, she clocked a solid 51.57. She was second in both races to the 2019 World Championship 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson.

The University of the West Indies accounting graduate followed up on April 23 with what was then a season-best 51.20 in Kingston.

However, just over a week ago, on May 13, the 25-year-old Olympic finalist ran her worst race of the season clocking 52.37 in a fifth place finish at the Doha Diamond League meeting. Despite the poor showing, McLeod said that race was important to her plans for this season even if things didn’t work out as planned.

“I needed Doha because after the 51.2 here, I needed to see if I could get it (the race plan) in play but, unfortunately, I didn’t do what I wanted to, so I came today even though it wasn’t part of the schedule to run,” she said while explaining what went wrong in Doha.

“It was the wind. It was bad execution by me too. Bad judgement of the wind and as for recovery, I am not too keen or known to recover well after travel but I am working on that. It takes time.”

She expressed confidence that most, if not everything, will fall into place by the time Jamaica’s National Championships roll around in late June when she believes a new lifetime best is probable as she heads into the World Championships in Oregon just over two weeks later.

“With practise comes improvement,” she said. “Everybody wants to be better than they were before so if I get that (below 49.51) then, wow. If I get 49.5, then wow again, but I am working towards just bettering myself,” said McLeod who is relishing the prospect of going up against the best that Jamaica has to offer, namely Young, Williams and defending national champion, Stephenie-Ann McPherson.

“I am very confident in my preparation, my conditioning and everything. I love competition. It’s all fun for me because I love what I do, so regardless, competition or not, I am here for it,” she said.

 

 

 

Several Jamaican Olympians will be on show this weekend at the next staging of the Velocity Fest Series at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Chief among them are the likes of Olympic medalists Hansle Parchment, Shericka Jackson and Stephenie-Ann McPherson.

Parchment, who is set to compete at the 2022 Drake Relays next week, will shake off some rust in the 110m hurdles where he will line up against rising star Rasheed Broadbell, Tyler Mason and Michael O’Hara, who is returning from an injury that ended derailed him last season.

Jackson, who has run a couple of 400m races this season, steps down to the half-lap sprint where she will match times with McPherson, who will also step down to the 200m for this meet along with fellow quarter-miler Tiffany James.

Also down for the 200m is the speedy Natasha Morrison, Anthonique Strachan and Sasha Lee Forbes.

2014 NCAA 100m champion Remona Burchell is in the line-up for the 100m along with long jumper Tissana Hickling, Kashieka Cameron as well as 2008 Olympic 400m hurdles gold medallist Melaine Walker.

The men’s 100m will feature Julian Forte, Tajay Gayle as well as Waseem Williams, Yohan Blake, Chadic Hinds and Antonio Watson.

The Women’s 400m event promises to be compelling as it should have Janieve Russell, Candice McLeod, Anastassia Le-Roy, James, Junelle Bromfield and the veteran Christine Day among the participants.

 

Holy Thursday was an extra special day for Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Candice McLeod, who was presented with the University of the West Indies Premier Award for Sports at the university's Mona campus

Olympic bronze medallist, Candice McLeod, says her success on the track this season was due mainly to getting more rest and a proper diet during the pre-season.

Jamaican 400-metre sprinter, Candice McLeod, says her dip in form on the athletics circuit after the Olympics was due to fatigue and cold weather.

“The weather wasn’t me at all. I’m not used to competing in the cold because I’m always in Jamaica and Japan was just perfect. I did not know how to get my legs to feel normal again. They felt really tight I was not recovering the way I should be,” said McLeod while speaking on Sportsmax.TV’s On Point.

The Olympic Bronze medallist competed in 15 400-metre races this season, including eight before the Tokyo Olympics, three in Tokyo, and four on the circuit after the Games ended.

At the Tokyo Olympics, McLeod ran a personal best 49.51 in her semi-final and followed that up with a 49.87 clocking in the final.

In her four races after the Olympics, McLeod ran times of 51.26 to finish 5th at the Lausanne Diamond League, 51.41 to finish 7th at the Paris Diamond League, 51.88 to finish 3rd at the World Athletics meet in Chorzow and 50.96 to finish 5th at the Diamond League Final in Zurich.

McLeod explained that the short time between meets on the Diamond League circuit was also difficult to manage.

“It is definitely challenging. When I finished the first Diamond League and had to travel within the next day to compete the other day, I’m not used to it. I tried my best to stay within the reigns but at some point, I decided, well, I think this year is definitely for the experience.”

The former Vere Technical and Papine High student said her fatigue in the first Diamond League meet after the Olympics took the biggest toll on her.

“My first meet I literally cried tears from my eyes because I was so cold. I saw people walking and asked myself; Am I in the same place as them? I was so cold. I was definitely not prepared for that.”

McLeod praised athletes who are able to still perform near their best on the circuit despite the quick turnaround between meets and the difficult conditions.

“I don’t know how they do it but if this is what I want to be doing every year I need to get a grip of this because I was fatigued to the point that I was frustrated. I didn’t feel like I was giving my best.”

She also said she expects the experience to make her better in the future.

“Next year, now that I know that I have a lot of things to do while traveling, then I think it will be better.”

The full interview with Candice McLeod can be seen on the Sportsmax YouTube channel.

 

Olympic bronze medalist, Candice McLeod, has opened up on her friendship with fellow Olympian Shericka Jackson, whom she describes as the driving force behind her athletic success.

McLeod, who returned from the Tokyo Olympics with her first Olympic medal as a member of Jamaica's 4x400m relay team revealed that her friendship with Jackson started 12 years ago while they were both students at Vere Technical High School where Jackson, who was one of the older students at the time, took her under her wing.

Speaking on Sportsmax.TV's On Point published on YouTube last Friday, McLeod said Jackson saw something in her that she didn’t see in herself.

“Shericka has been a very supportive friend. I was at Vere Technical, on the dorms for my first half of high school and the older students would choose one of the new ones to mentor. She chose me and stuck by me ever since,” she said.

McLeod opened up about Jackson always finding time to motivate her despite the gap in performance throughout high school.

"In high school, she was running 52 and I was running 63. I've been running 63 for three years and she'd get up every day and motivate me the same way she did every single day knowing she's running 52 and I'm running 63. That's a very special friendship," she said. 

The now 25-year-old McLeod, (November 15 is her birthday) who ran a personal best 49.51 in her Olympic semi-final said that in addition to her goal to win an Olympic medal in mile way, was to ensure that Jackson got a third medal after her mentor and friend failed to advance in the Olympic 200m after badly mistiming her run in the preliminary round and was eliminated on time.

“I was her roommate (in Tokyo) and missing out in the 200 definitely took a toll on her. I did not go out there with the aim of getting myself a medal because it was a team event,” she said.

The former Papine High student said the key to their friendship is being able to hold each other accountable.

 “She has someone who’s going to tell her she’s wrong when she’s wrong or right when she’s right and that she needs to work harder. We both want the same thing for each other, regardless of if we’re in the same race.”

 You can watch the full interview with Candice McLeod on the Sportsmax YouTube channel.

 

 

Following her exploits at the Tokyo Olympic Games in August, Jamaica’s 4x400m bronze medallist Candice McLeod has signed a deal with Sunshine Snacks.

Under the sponsorship agreement, Sunshine Snacks will support McLeod with funds to offset her training expenses along with a healthy supply of Sun Mix fruits and nuts as she prepares for the World Championships in Oregon next summer.

The 24-year-old McLeod, a recent graduate of the University of the West Indies, ran a personal best of 49.51s to make the final of the Women’s 400m. She finished fifth.  She was also a member of the mile-relay quartet that won the bronze medal.

McLeod expressed her gratitude to Sunshine Snacks for the support.

“This motivates me a lot as I  gear up for my 2022 season,” she said.

“It is an honour to have Sunshine Snacks on board as I have always enjoyed Sun Mix and even took some along with me to Tokyo. For the upcoming season, look out for a ray of sunshine every time I’m on the track!”

McLeod was also presented with a commemorative plaque in recognition of her exploits in Tokyo and she will enjoy a spa day at Excellence Oyster Bay courtesy of Sunshine Snacks.

“We’re extremely proud of our athletes’ achievements in Tokyo, and we wanted to pledge our support in a meaningful way,” said Shantell Hill-Afonso, Brand Manager for Sunshine Snacks.

“Candice was the perfect choice as we’ve seen videos of her consuming Sun Mix. We are happy to help on her journey as she prepares for Oregon. Apart from our financial pledge, she will also have our delicious Sun Mix snacks in her gym bag.”

The Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the Honourable Olivia Grange has said that every arriving athlete from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be greeted by her on arrival.

Women’s 4x400 Metres Relay

 Jamaica secured a bronze medal in the women’s 4x400 metres relay as the track and field portion of the Tokyo Olympics ended today.

The team of Roniesha McGregor, Janieve Russell, Shericka Jackson and Candice McLeod combined to run 3:21.24 to finish 3rd behind the USA and Poland.

Sydney McLaughlin, Allyson Felix, Dalilah Muhammad and Athing Mu came together to win gold for the US in 3:16.85 and Poland’s Natalia Kaczmarek, Iga Baumgart-Wittan, Malgorzata Holub-Kowalik and Justyna Swiety-Ersetic won silver in a national record 3:20.53.

 

Men’s 4x400 Metres Relay

 Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago both failed to secure medals in the men’s 4x400 metres relay.

The Jamaican team of Demish Gaye, Christopher Taylor, Jaheel Hyde and Nathon Allen ran 2:58.76 to finish 6th while the Trinidadian team of Deon Lendore, Jereem Richards, Dwight St. Hillaire and Machel Cedenio finished 8th in 3:00.85.

 Michael Cherry, Michael Norman, Bryce Deadmon and Rai Benjamin combined to win gold for the USA in 2:55.70.

The silver medal went to the Dutch quartet of Liemarvin Bonevacia, Terrence Agard, Tony van Diepen and Ramsey Angela who ran 2:57.18, a national record.

The Botswana team of Isaac Makwala, Baboloki Thebe, Zibane Ngozi and Bayapo Ndori combined to run 2:57.27 for bronze, breaking their own African record in the process.

Women’s 400 Metres

 Five Caribbean women advanced to the final.

Marileidy Paulino of The Dominican Republic won semi-final 1 in a national record of 49.38 to advance.

Jamaica’s Candice McLeod and Cuba’s Roxana Gomez also progressed from semi-final 1.

McLeod ran a personal best of 49.51 to finish second and advance automatically while Gomez finished third in a personal best 49.71 and advanced in a fastest loser spot.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo advanced by running 49.60 to win the second semi-final.

Jamaica’s Roniesha McGregor and Guyana’s Aliyah Abrams were also in semi-final 2 but failed to advance, finishing third in 50.34 and seventh in 51.46 respectively.

Stephenie Ann McPherson won semi-final 3 in a personal best 49.34 to qualify.

Sada Williams finished third in that race in a national record of 50.11 but that wasn’t enough to get her into the final.

 

Men’s 200 Metres

 Canadian Andre DeGrasse ran a Canadian record 19.62 to take gold.

DeGrasse, silver medalist behind Usain Bolt at the 2016 Rio games, will be joined on the podium by Americans Kenny Bednarek and Noah Lyles.

Bednarek ran a personal best 19.68 for silver and Lyles ran a season’s best 19.74 for bronze.

Jamaica’s Rasheed Dwyer finished 7th in 20.21 and Jereem Richards of Trinidad & Tobago finished 8th in 20.39.

 

Women’s High Jump

 St. Lucian Levern Spencer finished 22nd in qualifying.

 

Women’s 4x100 Metres Relay

 The Jamaican team consisting of Briana Williams, Natasha Morrison, Remona Burchell and Shericka Jackson ran 42.15 to finish third in heat 1 and advance to the final.

 

Men’s 4x100 Metres Relay

 Jamaica qualified for the final after running the fastest time in the heats.

The team of Jevaughn Minzie, Julian Forte, Yohan Blake and Oblique Seville ran a time of 37.82 to win heat 1.

Trinidad & Tobago were also in heat 1 and finished 6th with a time of 38.63.

Their team consisted of Kion Benjamin, Eric Harrison, Akanni Hislop and Richard Thompson, silver medalist from the 2008 Beijing games.

 

Men’s 110 Metres Hurdles

 Jamaica secured two medals in the final of the men’s 110 metres hurdles.

Hansle Parchment, a bronze medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, ran a season’s best of 13.04 to win gold ahead of the prohibitive favourite, Grant Holloway of the USA, who took silver in 13.09.

 Ronald Levy ran 13.10 for bronze, his first Olympic medal.

 

 

 

Living like a sprinter and improving on her speed and strength have resulted in Stephenie-Ann McPherson running her 400m lifetime best at the Jamaica National Championships on Sunday.

Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, Olympic and World Championships 400m bronze medalist and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell have been named to a Jamaican selection that has named to participate in the World Relays set for May 1-2 in Chorzow, Poland.

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