Alfred says transition from college to professional ranks has been smooth; dreams of being St. Lucia’s first Olympic medallist

By February 15, 2024

Julien Alfred’s transition to the professional ranks of track & field has gotten off to about as good a start as anyone could’ve ever imagined.

The 22-year-old St. Lucian standout, fresh off a dominant 2023 collegiate season for the Texas Longhorns that saw her claim the Bowerman award, has started the 2024 indoor season brilliantly.

Alfred, a 100m silver medallist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, opened her season with a pair of wins at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic in Albuquerque from February 2-3.

She first won the 200m on February 2 with a world leading 22.16, the fifth fastest indoor 200m time ever. Alfred also has the second fastest time ever with 22.01 done during her dominant 2023 season at Texas.

A day later, she won her heat of the 60m in 7.15 before returning to run 7.04 to win the final, a world-lead at the time.

At the Millrose Games on February 11, Alfred became the first woman to dip below the 7-second mark this season with a world-leading 6.99 for a dominant victory.

“I feel very pleased. I feel like I could’ve executed better but overall, I feel good. My body feels good and mentally I’m there,” Alfred said in a post-race interview.

She says that despite some difficulty having to adjust to a new routine, her transition from the collegiate ranks to the pro ranks has been smooth.

“Training has been really good. The fall was a bit difficult for me adjusting to having no school and no routine but I’m getting used to it now. I did take some time off and it was really needed so the transition has been really smooth,” she said.

Alfred is also joint-second on the all-time list in the 60m with 6.94, also done in 2023, and, after her performance on Sunday, feels like she is ready to challenge Irina Privalova’s world record 6.92 done all the way back in 1993.

“I feel really good about the performance to be honest and I really felt like I was ready to go after the world record but I’m just going to go out there and keep training and see what I can do at World Indoors,” she said.

The World Indoor Championships are set for March 1-3 in Glasgow and Alfred says that, despite some obvious goals for the upcoming outdoor season, this is all she is focused on right now.

“I’m just thinking about World Indoors and not down the line. When the time comes for that I’ll think about it but for now I’m taking it one race at a time,” she said.

When the time does come to move her focus to the Paris Olympics, Alfred says her goal is to be St. Lucia’s first ever Olympic medallist.

“I don’t have a time in mind at all but I definitely want to medal in Paris. That’s my biggest goal as of now. I’d be happy just to get a medal for my country because my country has never gotten a medal at the Olympics so I would love to be the first,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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    The much-anticipated season openers for St Lucia’s Julien Alfred and Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah, turned in contrasting results as both were left in the wake of American Sha’Carri Richardson at the end of the women’s 100m at the Diamond League Prefontaine Classics in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

    Given the quality nature of the field, the event was expected to prove a close affair, but no real clash materialized as Richardson, the reigning World champion, opened her 100m account in impressive fashion with a brisk 10.83 seconds.

    Alfred, the World Indoor 60m champion, placed second in 10.93s as she utilised her quick start to good effect and led for most of the way, before being caught by Richardson, while Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith (10.98s), who was also opening her account in the event, placed third.

    Meanwhile, Thompson-Herah, the double Olympic champion, is still yet to rekindle her outstanding form of old, as she got up well from lane four, but quickly faded to the back of the field in 11.30s.

    American Christian Coleman also won the men’s 100m in a season’s best 9.95s, with runner-up Ferdinand Omanyala (9.98s), also clocking a season’s best. Another American Brandon Hicklin (10.08s) was third. Jamaica’s Ackeem Blake (10.12s) and Sandrey Davison with a personal best 10.13s, were fourth and fifth, while British Virgin Islands’ Rikkoi Brathwaite (10.19s) was sixth.

    In the field, Cuba’s World Indoor silver medallist Leyanis Perez Hernandez, topped the women’s triple jump event, as her 14.73m first effort was not to be denied. Try as they did, Dominica’s World Indoor champion and current world number one Thea Lafond (14.62m), and Jamaican Shanieka Ricketts, with a season’s best 14.55m, had to settle for the runners-up positions.

    Another Jamaica Kimberly Williams (13.74m) was seventh.

    Elsewhere on the track, the men’s 200m was won by current world leader Kenny Bednarek, who continued his rich early season form to again lead an American sweep. Bednarek won in 19.89s, ahead of Courtney Lindsey (20.09s) and Kyree King (20.15s).

    Caribbean athletes Alexander Ogando (20.27s) of Dominican Republic and Ian Kerr (20.87s) of Bahamas, finished fifth and ninth respectively.

    Grant Holloway also continued his good knick with another world lead performance of 13.03s to win the men’s 110m hurdles, which was also swept by the Americans. Daniel Roberts (13.13s) and Freddie Crittenden (13.16s) were second and third, while Jamaica’s Olympic champion Hansle Parchment (13.28s) recovered from a horrible start to finish fourth.

    The women’s event was won by Frenchwoman Cyrena Samba-Mayela, who equalled her National Record of 12.52s. Her training partner Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (12.54s) of Puerto Rico and American Tonea Marshall (12.55s). Bahamian World Indoor champion Devynne Charlton (12.63s) and Jamaica’s World champion Danielle Williams (12.65s), were fourth and sixth respectively.