Noah Lyles sprints to victory at USA National Championships, secures spot in 2024 Paris Olympics

By Sports Desk June 24, 2024

Noah Lyles, the reigning world champion, secured his place at the 2024 Paris Olympics with a stunning victory in the 100m dash at the USA National Championships on Sunday. Clocking in at a blistering 9.83 seconds (0.4), Lyles dominated the field at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, demonstrating his readiness to chase Olympic gold.

Lyles only previous Olympic medal was a 200m bronze from Tokyo, but he heads to Paris bolstered by his remarkable achievements at the World Championships in Budapest last year, where he won gold in the 100m, 200m, and the 4x100m relay.

Lyles was followed by Kenny Bednarek, primarily known for his prowess in the 200m, who finished with a personal best of 9.87 seconds. The 2022 world champion, Fred Kerley, took third place with a time of 9.88 seconds. Just missing out on the Olympic team, world indoor champion and 2019 world 100m gold medallist Christian Coleman finished fourth, clocking 9.93 seconds.

The day was also marked by an extraordinary performance from 16-year-old Quincy Wilson. In the 400m semi-finals, Wilson shattered his own under-18 world record, lowering it from 44.66 seconds to an impressive 44.59 seconds, demonstrating his prodigious talent and setting the stage for an exciting future in athletics.

In the women’s 400m, Kendall Ellis emerged victorious with a time of 49.46 seconds, followed closely by Aaliyah Butler (49.71) and Alexis Holmes (49.78), both of whom secured their places on the Olympic team.

 

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  • 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."

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