Organizing Committee Chairman expects this year’s National Championships to be “best ever”

By June 24, 2024

Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the JAAA National Senior and Junior Championships, Ludlow Watts, expects this year’s edition of the championships to be the “best ever” in terms of competitiveness.

This year’s championships are set to get underway on Thursday, June 27 at the National Stadium in Kingston and run until Sunday, June 30.

According to Watts, over 680 athletes in both the junior and senior categories have entered ahead of Thursday’s start.

The days, start times and end times (Jamaica time) are as follows:

Thursday, June 27 9:00am-8:45pm, Friday, June 28 9:30am-9:58pm, Saturday, June 29 9:48am-7:45pm, Sunday, June 30 10:01am-8:05pm.

The opening ceremony will be held at 6:00pm on Friday.

“We expect to have tremendous support,” Watts said at a press conference on Monday hosted by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA).

He also acknowledged concerns fans may have about a number of Jamaica’s top athletes ahead of the meet but noted that, as of now, nobody of note has pulled out.

“A number of people have been having concerns about some of our star athletes. We are not aware of any withdrawals as yet,” he said.

“People must try not to miss these championships because they will probably be the best ever in terms of competitiveness. A number of young stars are emerging and I think it makes it interesting,” Watts added.

 Among the events expected to be the most competitive are the men's and women's 100m finals. On the men's side, while Oblique Seville is the only Jamaican to run below 10 seconds this year with his 9.82 at the Racers Grand Prix, 18 Jamaican men have already run faster than 10.20 this season heading into the championships.

The women's side is also expected to be more competitive than it's been in a long time due to some questions about the readiness of Jamaica's big three- Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah- coming into the championships.

Fraser-Pryce is coming off a knee procedure and made her season debut just nine days ago at the JAAA Olympic French Foray with 11.15. Jackson has looked far from her best so far this season. She has had a pair of wins on the Diamond league circuit in the 200m with times of 22.82 in Marrakech and 22.69 in Stockholm as well as a fifth place finish in 22.97 in Oslo. In her only 100m of the season, Jackson ran 11.03 at the JAAA All Comers meet on May 4.

Thompson-Herah, the reigning double Olympic champion, is the biggest question mark coming into the championships. In her two races this season, she has finished last both times with 11.30 at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene and 11.48 at the USATF New York Grand Prix. After the race in New York, sha had to be carried off the track with an Achilles injury, the same injury that hampered her 2023 season as well.

With the big three seeming as vulnerable as ever, a number of contenders will fancy themselves to knock them off the podium at these championships and secure their spot on the team to the Paris Olympics.

Bradley Jacks

Bradley Jacks is a budding journalist and an avid sports fan. His love of research and sports has led him to SportsMax.tv, a place where those passions work hand in hand to allow him to produce content.

Related items

  • After making first Olympic team, world champion Danielle Williams to focus on improvement for Paris After making first Olympic team, world champion Danielle Williams to focus on improvement for Paris

    On June 30, at the final day of the Jamaica National Championships held at the National Stadium in Kingston, reigning world 100m hurdles champion Danielle Williams secured her place on her first-ever Olympic team with a second-place finish in 12.53 seconds. This achievement comes at the age of 31, after two previous unsuccessful attempts, marking a significant milestone in her illustrious career.

    Williams, who had set the previous national record of 12.32 seconds in 2019, finished behind Ackera Nugent, who won the event with a new national record of 12.28 seconds. Janeek Brown, who previously held the record before Williams, finished third in a season’s best 12.61 seconds.

    When asked by Sportsmax.TV about her emotions on making the Jamaica Olympic team for the first time, Williams expressed her gratitude and humility.

    "To be honest, I don’t feel any different. I am happy, I’m blessed to be on the team this time around. God is an on-time God. It is His will for me to be on the team this time; the other two times it wasn’t His will, so I’m just giving Him thanks, staying in the moment, staying grounded; going back to work and gearing up for Paris."

    Williams had aimed for a faster time, and her second-place finish in 12.53 seconds was a bit surprising given her current form and expectations.

    "I felt I would have gone 12.3 or low 12.4, so 12.53 was a bit surprising given the shape I am in and how I felt, but again, God’s time and not my time, and the time will come. I am just happy to finish in the top three."

    Reflecting on her world title victory in Budapest last year, Williams emphasized that her confidence heading into the Jamaican championships came from her ability to trust her body rather than her previous win.

    "I have always been confident; winning last year didn’t affect my confidence for this year. The confidence I get is that I can trust my body; my body is not failing me this year. I have been able to stay injury-free, and that is all the confidence I need."

    Williams' coach, Lennox Graham, acknowledged that there were areas needing improvement for Williams to perform at her best in Paris. Despite her solid performance, Graham saw room for technical refinement.

    "You know me; I will always say yes because I am always striving to get better. She ran 12.46 there earlier in the season with a lot of load, and so I could see why she would believe; she would be running well in practice and running 12.46 loaded when she came for the Jamaica Athletic Invitational, there is no way we wouldn’t believe she would run faster."

    Graham pinpointed specific issues during the race that need to be addressed.

    "She didn’t have a technically good race and she picked a good time to do it because usually in Jamaica you have a technically bad race you run fourth or fifth so it was fortunate for us that she was 12.53 and second. Ackera Nugent ran a great race, 12.28, anywhere you go and run 12.2 (you do well), so we are not taking anything away from her, but I believe Ants was in shape to run faster than 12.5 for sure."

     The coach identified the final hurdles as a critical area needing improvement.

    "She was not happy with the last three hurdles I was not happy with the last five because that was where it started going wrong. It’s not something that is unfixable, it’s something that can be adjusted. At the end of the day, the athlete has to go out there and race. We can see the progress being made in practice, but then you have to go out there and race."

    Graham elaborated on the technical aspects that need correction.

    "Over the last five hurdles, she was just running. The hurdles is a rhythm race, it’s not just running, so you just have to embrace that and make the necessary corrections to make sure that she stays in rhythm because she went out of rhythm, totally out of rhythm. But it’s a good problem to have; you’re on the team because we have gone in 2016 and 2020 and not made the team."

    Reflecting on past disappointments, Graham emphasized the significance of Williams making the team at age 31.

    "2016, we were leading and then ran into a hurdle, jumped over it and out of the race. 2020, we ran hard and was fourth. So we missed it twice and to get it at 31 years old is a blessing. We are holding it with both hands and with both legs wrapped around it. Now we are going to try and show up and make ourselves and Jamaica proud. That is our plan."

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Williams headlines four-member Barbados team for Paris Olympics Williams headlines four-member Barbados team for Paris Olympics

    As expected, Sada Williams headlines a four-member Barbados team to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

    The 26-year-old World Bronze medallist is one of two track and field athletes who will compete for Barbados at the July 26-August 12 event.

    Williams, who trains in Jamaica, will contest the Women's 400 metres, while sprinter Tristan Evelyn is set to take part in the Women's 100 metres.

    Matthew Wright is the lone Triathlete while the other competitor is swimmer Jack Kirby, who gained a Universality Place.

  • '92 Olympic silver medallist Winthrop Graham excited about Jamaica's “long overdue” rise in the 400m hurdles '92 Olympic silver medallist Winthrop Graham excited about Jamaica's “long overdue” rise in the 400m hurdles

    In the world of track and field, the 400m hurdles is an event that combines speed, stamina, and precision. For Jamaica, a nation renowned for its sprinting prowess, achieving excellence in this gruelling discipline has been a long journey.

    Winthrop Graham, the former national record holder and Olympic silver medallist, recently expressed his delight and satisfaction in seeing two young Jamaican athletes finally break the 48-second barrier in the 400m hurdles—a milestone he believes was long overdue.

    Graham's illustrious career includes setting a national record of 47.63 seconds at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, where he secured a silver medal behind Kevin Young's world record-breaking performance of 46.78 seconds. A year later, at the World Championships in Helsinki, Graham slightly improved his record to 47.60 seconds, earning another silver medal. This record stood unchallenged for three decades, a testament to Graham's remarkable talent and perseverance.

    However, the 2023 World Championships in Budapest marked a turning point for Jamaican hurdling. During the semi-finals, Roshawn Clarke smashed Graham's long-standing record, heralding a new era for Jamaica in the event. Less than a year later, Malik James-King joined the elite club of 47-second hurdlers, delivering a stunning lifetime best of 47.42 seconds at the national championships, dethroning Clarke as the reigning champion.

    Witnessing these historic performances from the sidelines, Graham was overwhelmed with joy. "I was sitting watching with a big smile," Graham told Sportsmax.TV. "Because, more than anyone else probably, I am absolutely excited to see them performing like that. This was way overdue."

    While Clarke finished second to James-King with a time of 48.04 seconds with Jaheel Hyde knocking at the door with a season’s best 48.35, Graham remains confident in Clarke's potential. "For sure, I watched his races last year and I watched his races now and I can tell he is not where he should be but he will get there. I mean, it is still early in the season. Usually, this is the time you start fine-tuning your steps and I can tell he is not exactly where he was last year but you can tell his strength and speed are there, it's just about getting the technique together."

    Graham's insights reflect his deep understanding of the sport and his faith in the next generation of Jamaican hurdlers. He believes the fierce competition between James-King and Clarke will drive both athletes to new heights. "It was an absolutely unbelievable finish from Malik James-King to run the time he ran but it is good to have two athletes to push each other. I wish I had that."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.