Anguillan-born British sprinter Zharnel Hughes will take aim at the longstanding national 100m record of Linford Christie, at this weekend’s British Championships in Birmingham.

Hughes seems to be approaching close to his best form after clocking his personal best 9.95 at the London Olympic Stadium last month.  With the meet expected to act as the trials to make the British team for the World Championships, the athlete is also eager to make history.

Christie’s record of 9.87 was set 26 years ago, with Hughes’ personal best standing at 9.91.  The young sprinter is convinced the time remains very much in reach.

‘I’m definitely thinking 9.7 is possible. I’m not putting pressure on myself,” Hughes told Metro News.

 “I’m not putting any targets on anyone, I’m just focusing on myself and then fast times will come.  I’d love to get it [the British record]. I ran 9.96 in London at the Anniversary Games in the heats which was quite easy and I shut down from far out,” he added.

“I believe I can run 9.8, possibly a 9.7, but we’ll see. I’m not predicting for it to be this weekend, because I don’t know what the weather looks like and you have to take into consideration the way you execute.”

  

Jamaica World Champion Yohan Blake is increasingly confident of hitting his best form in time for the Doha World Championships, following a narrow win to claim the men’s 100m title, at the Birmingham Diamond League meet on Sunday.

Blake just got the better of Britain's Adam Gemili, who erased a comfortable early lead by the Jamaican to ensure a photo finish.  Both athletes were clocked at 10.07 seconds but Blake was declared the winner.  The United States’ Mike Rodgers was third with a time of 10.09.  Another Jamaican in the race Tyquendo Tracey was 6th in 10.14.

  It wasn’t the fastest time, considering a barely legal +2.0 seconds but the Jamaican athlete was pleased with the result nonetheless.

"It was coming," said Blake, who suffered a career-threatening hamstring injury in 2013.

"The weather wasn't great but I'm saving the big day for the world championships and the Diamond League finals in Zurich," said Blake. "I can run faster."

Despite holding the second-fastest times ever run over both the 100m and 200m, Blake has been overshadowed by the American trio of Christian Coleman, Justin Gatlin and Noah Lyles so far this year.  Coleman was expected to take part in the Birmingham Diamond League but had withdrawn from the race earlier in the week.

 

Rising Jamaican sprint phenom Briana Williams has admitted the country’s reverence for the sport of track and field made it an easy decision to choose the tiny Caribbean island over the United States.

The 17-year-old Williams is considered one of the brightest up and coming prospects in the sport of athletics. In fact, the sprinter is expected to follow a long line of exceptional Jamaican sprinters, the likes of which include Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson and the legendary Usain Bolt. 

Williams was, however, born in the United States, a country that has a proud track and field legacy of its own.  For the diminutive young sprinter, however, the choice between the track and field rivals was always a straight forward one.

“I was grown up in the Jamaica tradition way.  All the time when I was watching the Olympics, I would see Bolt and Shelly-Ann winning and think I want to be like them,” Williams said recently, in a podcast with the Olympic Channel.

“America has football, baseball they are more fans of that. In Jamaica, they show support to their track athletes and I like that.  In America, there is track but it's not at the same level.  When the Jamaica athletes are at the Olympics or World Championships, there is screaming in the middle of the streets and people cheering them on.  I like that culture more,” she added.  

Boldon, the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic bronze medalist, was in complete agreement.  Like Williams, Boldon could also have represented Jamaica as he was born in Port of Spain to a Jamaican mother.

“Even me being from Trinidad and Tobago, sometimes track and field athletes, despite us having the bulk of our Olympic medals, are not as revered in Trinidad and Tobago, like it is in Jamaica,” Boldon said.

“Many times during my career, when I saw the support for Jamaican athletes, I used to saw wow maybe Jamaica should have been the place I ran for because it just matters more," he added.

Williams, the World U-20 sprint double Champion, will represent Jamaica at the Doha World Championships later this year.   

Rising United States sprinting talent Noah Lyles has admitted legendary Jamaica sprinter Usain Bolt was right to question his championship mettle but hopes to silence all doubters at the upcoming IAAF World Championships.

The 22-year-old Lyles has recently featured prominently among the handful of names labeled as potentially next in line to inherit the throne vacated by the big Jamaican.

 To add fuel to the fire, Lyles recently clocked an impressive 19.50, the fourth-fastest time in the event’s history, in Lausanne, Switzerland last month.  While admitting that Lyles was unquestionably a huge talent, Bolt insisted he was waiting to see such performances replicated on the big stage.

“Yeah, I’ve seen him run, I’ve seen him compete,” Bolt told the New York Times.

“Last season he was doing a lot of good things, this season he has started off good. But as I said, it all comes down to the championship. Is he confident to come into a race after running three races and show up? For me, he has shown that he has talent, but when the championship comes, we will see what happens,” he added.

Lyles is yet to compete at a major championship and is also a threat over 100m but dropped the event from his schedule at the United States national championship to ensure full focus on the 200m.

“Sounds about right to me, sounds like my thoughts exactly,” Lyles said when shown the Bolt’s comments.

“It’s why I decided to run one event this year.”

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