Jackson, Lyles, van Niekerk shine on a night of electrifying performances at Racers Grand Prix

By June 04, 2023
Jackson, van Niekerk and Lyles dropped impressive runs at Racers Grand Prix in Kingston on Saturday, June 3. Jackson, van Niekerk and Lyles dropped impressive runs at Racers Grand Prix in Kingston on Saturday, June 3.

Shericka Jackson and Noah Lyles unleashed jaw-dropping runs at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday night during the revival of the Racers Grand Prix where world-record holder Wayde van Niekerk set a new stadium record in the 400m and Tyler Mason electrified the thousands who braved the heavy rain that threatened to dampen proceedings.

Earlier, on Saturday afternoon, Jackson, the World 200m champion, wrote in her notebook that she wanted to run between 10.75 and 10.78 in the 100m later that evening. She duly delivered speeding to a season-best 10.78 to win the race by some distance over the ever-improving Anthonique Strachan, who ran a season-best 10.99.

Sasha Lee Forbes, who ran a lifetime best of 10.98 in Bermuda on May 21, produced another solid performance while finishing third in 11.07, her second fastest time ever.

The withdrawal of Oblique Seville and Ackeem Blake from the men’s 100m final, took much of the sheen off what was expected to be a barn-burner that also featured American Christian Coleman. Nonetheless, the race delivered an exciting finish with the American holding off the challenge of Kadrian Goldson, who produced a lifetime best of 10.08 for second place.

Emmanuel Archibald of Guyana ran 10.23 to take the final podium spot.

The ‘B’ finals were also good value for money.

In September 2017, 20-year-old Michael Campbell suffered life-threatening injuries in a motor-vehicle accident that claimed the life of his friend and fellow athlete Jordon Scott. That same year, Campbell, a promising young prospect ran a lifetime best of 10.07 at a meet in Kingston.

On Saturday night, almost six years later, Campbell was back to his best winning the 100m in a season-best 10.08. He pumped his fist in elation when he looked across at the clock and noticed the winning time that had him well clear of Tyquendo Tracey, who ran 10.26 for second place and Kuron Griffith of Barbados, who ran a personal best of 10.30.

Remona Burchell, 2014 NCAA champion, clocked a season-best 11.17 to win the women’s race ahead of a fast-finishing Tia Clayton, who delivered a personal best of 11.23 and Briana Williams, who finished third in 11.30.

Lyles promised to do something special in Jamaica and he delivered. The super-confident American scorched the damp track to win in a meet record 19.67. Zharnel Hughes finished second in 20.14 while Rasheed Dwyer clocked a season’s best time of 20.53 for third.

The last time Wayde van Niekerk was in Jamaica, it was in 2017 to honour the retirement of his friend Usain Bolt, who had announced that he would walk away from her stellar career that year after a decade of dominance.

Later that same year, during a charity rugby match, the Olympic champion and world-record holder tore both the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus cartilage in his right leg bringing his track career to a screaming stop.

The past few years saw him struggle to regain the form that made him one of the best quarter-milers in history. By all indications, he is now back near to his best. After a 44.17 season best at the South African Championships in April, the now 30-year-old sprinter cruised to victory in 44.21, a new meet record.

Zandrian Barnes finished second in a new lifetime best of 44.90, making him the third Jamaican to break 45 seconds this season. Jamaica’s national record holder, Rusheen McDonald was third in 45.24.

Antonio Watson was the second Jamaican to break 45 seconds this season when he won the ‘B’ final in a lifetime best of 44.75 that had the thousands in attendance cheering wildly.

Promising 400m hurdler Roshawn Clarke also ran a lifetime best of 45.24 for second place with Assinie Wilson finishing third also in a personal best of 45.51.

Charokee Young took control of the women’s race with about 120m to go and held off a strong field to win in 51.10 over Stacey-Ann Williams who ran a decent 51.34 for second place. The USA’s Kendall Ellis was third in a season-best 51.37.

Tobi Amusan arrived in Jamaica coming off a disappointing last-place finish in the 100m hurdles at the LA Grand Prix a week ago. The 12.69 she ran then was well off the Nigerian’s world record of 12.12 set in Eugene, Oregon last year. However, a week later she was much better, hurdling to victory in 12.57, a season’s best time and a marked improvement over a week ago.

Tia Jones, the 2018 World U20 champion, finished second in 12.72 while holding off Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper, who finished third in 12.80.

The 110m further confirmed the resurrection of the career of Tyler Mason, the once promising Jamaica College high school hurdler. After running 13.32 in Costa Rica in 2015, Mason, because of injury and poor form, struggled to fulfill his immense potential and many pundits saw his career as being on life support, especially after a season-best 14.12 in 2021.

There were signs of life in 2022 when he ran 13.34 in Tennessee and again earlier this year when he ran 13.32 at the National Stadium in April. On Saturday night, the 27-year-old Mason, told the world that news of his career’s demise were greatly exaggerated when he ran a slightly wind-aided 13.14 (2.3m/s) to win a close race over Orlando Bennett (13.18) and Damion Thomas 13.29.

Shian Salmon was impressive in victory to open proceedings in the 400m hurdles, winning in 55.10 over Rhonda Whyte 55.55 and Cassandra Tate of the USA, who took third in 55.62.

Two-time World Championships silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts won the triple jump over rival and friend Thea LaFond of Dominica in less than ideal conditions. The cool temperatures and negative headwind notwithstanding, Ricketts’ 14.32m to was enough to secure the victory ahead of LaFond’s 14.15m.

Imani Oliver of the USA could only muster 12.97m for third place.

Samoa’s Alex Rose won the men’s discus with a throw of 65.86m with Traves Smikle taking second place with 65.15m. Kai Change threw 63.19m for third place.

Lushane Wilson cleared 2.20m to win the high jump over Raymond Richards (2.15m) and Christoff Bryan (2.10m).

 

 

 

 

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.

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