Jamaica's treble Tokyo Olympic Games gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah has been named the AIPS Best Female Athlete of 2021.

This follows a poll by the International Sports Press Association, where a panel of 529 journalists from 114 countries voted for the champions of 2021. Joining Thompson-Herah in receiving the top honour is Polish footballer Robert Lewandowski, who has been named the AIPS Best Male Athlete of 2021.

The former Manchester High School student, who was named the World Female Athlete of the Year at the World Athletics Awards 2021 earlier this month, retained her Olympic 100m and 200m titles in Tokyo and added a third gold medal in the 4x100m relay. She also ran world-leading times of 10.54 and 21.53 over 100m and 200m respectively, moving to second on the world all-time lists for each discipline.

She topped the AIPS poll with 605 points, ahead of Spanish footballer Alexia Putellas (490 points) and Venezuela's world triple jump record-holder and Olympic champion Yulimar Rojas (346 points).

Other athletics stars joining Thompson-Herah and Rojas in the top 10 are Kenya's Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, who claimed 5000m and 10,000m titles in Tokyo as well as 1500m bronze.

Joining Lewandowski in the top 10 for the men's award are Norway's Karsten Warholm, who was named the World Athletics Male Athlete of the Year, plus his fellow world record-holders and Olympic champions Mondo Duplantis of Sweden and Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya.

Thompson-Herah has also been named Athletics Weekly’s Female Athlete of the Year, NACAC Female Athlete of the Year and Diamond League Athletics’ Most Consistent Athlete in women’s sprints for 2021.

 

Jamaican double-double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah was named by Diamond League Most Consistent Athlete in the women’s sprints for the 2021 season on Monday.

Thompson-Herah won four races on the Diamond League circuit for the year, in addition to her three gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics in July.

She ran times of 10.54 and 10.72 to win the 100m at the Eugene and Paris Diamond League meets on August 21st and August 28th, respectively, before winning the event at the Diamond League Final in Zurich in 10.65 on September 9th.

The former Manchester High School student also finished second in the 100m, at the Lausanne Diamond League, in 10.64 on August 26th.

Her only 200m win on the Diamond League circuit this year came in Gateshead where she ran 22.43 on July 13th.

The honour follows the trend of a trophy-filled festive period for the sprinter as she has already been named World Female Athlete of the Year by World Athletics, Athletics Weekly’s Female Athlete of the Year, and the NACAC Female Athlete of the Year in the month of December.

She is also widely favored to be named the RJR Sportswoman of the Year for 2021.

 

The communities of Paradise and Norwood, in Montego Bay, experienced some Christmas cheer as the destinations for Jamaican sprinter Briana Williams’ 2nd annual Christmas Treat on Thursday.

300 children in the communities were gifted toys and food items from her sponsors Digicel and Grace Foods.

Transportation for the gifts was provided by KIG Jamaica.

The 19-year-old was a member of Jamaica’s gold medal-winning Women’s 4x100 team at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, running a blistering first leg to help the team achieve a national record of 41.02.

Williams also won the sprint double at the 2018 World Junior Championships in Tampere, Finland with times of 11.16 in the 100m and 22.50 in the 200m, her current personal best.

Her 100m personal best stands at 10.97 done in Florida in June this year.

Olympic double sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah has roped in another award on the back of her stellar 2021 season.

The 29-year-old sprinter was on Wednesday named the Track and Field News Female Athlete of the Year.

Thompson-Herah was voted the winner of the award by a 35-member international voting panel of the highly-respected track and field magazine, narrowly edging Venezuela's Olympic triple jump gold medalist and world-record holder, Yulimar Rojas.

The remainder of the top-five in voting included Dutch distance runner Sifan Hassan, American 400m Hurdler Sydney McLaughlin and Kenyan middle-distance runner Faith Kipyegon.

During her history-making season, Thompson-Herah became the first woman to win the 100m, 200m sprint double at consecutive Olympics, winning the 100m in a time of 10.61, an Olympic record, and the 200m in 21.53 in Tokyo in July.

She would go even faster in the 100m at the Prefontaine Classic in August, recording a 10.54-second clocking, the second-fastest time in history.

Thompson-Herah was also named World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year and the British Journal Athletics Weekly’s Female Athlete of the Year this month. She was also named NACAC Female Athlete of the Year and is favoured to be the RJR Sportswoman of the Year for 2021.

MVP coach Stephen Francis is confident 2019 Long Jump World Champion Tajay Gayle is set to make a serious foray into the sprints in the upcoming season.

The 25-year-old, who has completely recovered from an injury that negatively impacted his performance at Olympics, showed off some good ability in the 100m sprints last year.

Despite specializing in the jumps, Gayle showed plenty of speed over the distance after clocking 10.18 in May of last year.  The athlete’s best time over double the distance is 21.18.

“I think Tajay will be in the position to do a lot more sprinting this year and I suspect that he will be in the position to challenge for the title of fastest Jamaican,” Francis said in an interview with SportsMax.Tv.

“As well as be able to defend his title as the best long jumper in the world,” he added.

Gayle had been hoping to add the Olympic title to the World title this summer and advanced to the final but injured his left knee in the process.  He was a result unable to secure a position in the final eight.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ran her seventh sub-10.8 100m time this season, smashing Merlene Ottey’s 25-year-old meet record as she brought the curtain down on her season at the Gala del Castelli Meeting in Switzerland on Tuesday.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ran a new lifetime best to turn the tables on Elaine Thompson-Herah and win the 100m dash at the Diamond League meeting in Lausanne on Thursday.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce concedes that Elaine Thompson-Herah is much closer to the 100m world record than she is but says that it good that women are now able to challenge the 33-year-old standard set by American Florence Griffith-Joyner.

The Tokyo Olympics 100m silver medalist was speaking at a press conference Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s Diamond League meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she, Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson will once again line up for the 100m in a field that also includes local talents Mujinga Kamnundji, Ajla del Ponte and Marie Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast.

Talk of the world record heated up last weekend when Thompson-Herah sped to a world-leading and personal best 10.54 while winning the blue-riband dash at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon. The time is only 0.05s off the world record of 10.49.

Fraser-Pryce, who ran a personal best of 10.63 in June, believes that the world record is now being challenged is a boon for the sport and women’s sprinting.

“As for running the world record, Elaine is much, much closer than I am so it’s good to be able to challenge a record that for women that for a long time we thought was impossible,” she told media gathered for the press conference,” and it speaks to the evolution of sprinting and what mechanics can do to sprinting and the different things that are involved in sprinting, so to be able to be in that conversation or to have that conversation is truly remarkable.”

Fraser-Pryce, who ran 10.73 while finishing second to Thompson-Herah in Eugene, expressed optimism that fast times – maybe even the world record - can be achieved on the track in Lausanne on Thursday.

“I know that Lausanne has a very good track; I ran 10.7 here in 2019 after coming off a plane, so I know it’s a very good track. So, hopefully, tomorrow the ladies will have a superb race and we will see how it goes at the end.”

 

 

 

Olympic gold medalist Briana Williams is aiming for a brand new personal best when she lines up against the world’s fastest women over 100m at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday.

Seventeen-year-old Tina Clayton ran a personal best 11.09 to win the 100m at the 2021 World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya this morning.

Jamaica looks set to qualify a men’s 4x100m relay team for the Tokyo Olympics this summer after running the second-fastest time in the world this year at a time trials meet at GC Foster yesterday.

Baylor University’s Ackera Nugent continued her impressive freshman season on Saturday with a pair of wins at the Aggie Invitational at Bryan-College Station in Texas.

Despite the intense rivalry they shared on the track during the 1990s, two-time Olympic 100m champion Gail Devers said she always admired and respected Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey for her talent and longevity.

The rivals met in a number of major finals that were talked about for years, especially the epic 1993 World Championships 100m finals in Stuttgart, Germany and the Olympic Games in Atlanta, three years later.

Prior to those two years, Devers and Ottey met in the finals of the 100m finals at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992 when Devers won her first Olympic 100 title in 10.80s. Ottey was fifth in 10.88 in one of the closest finals in history. 0.08 seconds separated the first five places.

That race marked the beginning of a tense rivalry between Devers and Ottey that would only intensify over the next four years.

In Stuttgart, Devers got off to a flyer and was ahead midway the race but she was being reeled in by a fast-closing Ottey, who with her final strides appeared to have caught the diminutive American as they crossed the line together.

Unsure of who won, the finalists stood around looking up at the scoreboard for what seemed like an eternity. Officials eventually announced that Devers had been awarded the victory even though both she and the Jamaican icon were given the same time of 10.82.

Jamaican protested the result but the decision upheld, handing the American.

By 1996, the 36-year-old Ottey was at her fifth Olympics, Devers her third, and once again they came face to face in the 100m finals and once again, history repeated itself. Devers got off to a great start only to be reeled in by Ottey and sure enough, they crossed the finish line together.

Both were timed in 10.94 but like in Stuttgart, the American was given the nod. The circumstances created tensions between the two countries and their athletes. However, Devers said those tensions were simply about competition.

“You just get caught up in ‘this is competition and you got coaches who say we’re going to protest this,” Devers told Ato Boldon on his Athletics Live show on Instagram last week.

She said she had no idea why things turned out the way they did, why it always seemed to come down to her and Ottey.

“It keeps coming up that it’s these two every time. I don’t know why it was always us but we were always willing to go to the wire,” she said.

Devers explained that in the early days' everyone kind of kept to themselves, leaving little to interact with her rivals.

“When we were competing, it was (Irina) Privalova, it was me, it was Gwen Torrence, it was that four that you could not pick who was going to win on that day,” she said.

“And we can’t duck each other, we gotta go, we gotta run, gotta bring you’re A-plus game because they’re bringing their A-game. So with Merlene, I always knew she was a great athlete and I would always tell her ‘You still running, shoot…”

She said that as time passed, they both got the chance to get to know each other and the tensions cooled.

“While you’re competing everybody is in their own camp, you don’t sit there and socialize anyway, but as we got older, going to awards ceremonies or even with social media, we were able to talk to each other,” she said.

“She knows that I have always admired her because I don’t care at what age, if she steps out there now I am concerned. You might want to be worried because if she is in the lane, she is ready to go.”

Focus on details helped Kemba Nelson run a personal best 100m time and a decent 200m at last weekend’s West Coast Classic in Tucson.

Nelson, a junior at the University of Oregon, clocked 11.18 to win the 100m well clear of teammate Jasmine Reed who stopped the clock at 11:48. California’s Ezzine Abba ran 11.52 for third.

An hour later, Nelson would finish second in the 200m, beaten by UCLA’s Shae Anderson who clocked 22.96 for the win. Nelson ran a creditable 23.03, sandwiched by Anderson’s teammate Makenzy Pierre-Webster, who clocked 23.51.

Nelson expressed her satisfaction afterwards.

“I am happy with races! Big PR for me. Great opener as well,” said the former UTech sprinter, whose previous best was 11.49 in Kingston in June 2019.

“In the 100, I was more focused on execution. Staying patient with the drive phase and not rushing the race.”

She wasn’t too perturbed by her 200m loss seeing that her time was also a personal best.

“Though it was an hour after the 100 it was a good race too. I definitely have a lot to work on. But it’s a part of the sport. You win some, you lose some. Just have to get back to work.”

Nelson is having an outstanding first year on the US Collegiate circuit. In March she was the NCAA 60m Indoor title in a personal best 7.05s, a time that made her the fifth-fastest Jamaican woman indoors behind Merlene Ottey, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce

Natalliah Whyte was well pleased with her 100m outing at the Miramar South Florida Invitational on Saturday but she is hoping that she will go much faster as the season progresses. Whyte was third in 11.16 behind runaway winner Sha’ Carri Richardson, who ran a jaw-dropping 10.72s, the fastest time in the world this year.

The 23-year-old Jamaican, who ran the lead-off leg for Jamaica’s gold medal-winning 4x100 relay team at the World Championships in Doha in 2019, had run even faster in the preliminary round clocking 11.07s, her season-best.

However, taking the two races together, Whyte said she was happy with the overall performance.

“The first 100 metres of the season after not competing or doing much due to Covid this time last year, and with a time of 11.07 in the heats and 11.16 in the finals, I am satisfied,” she told Sportsmax.TV following her race.

She explained that the races were meant to provide her and her coach with indicators of what her progress is this season.

“It’s really just taking each race at a time and finding out my weak points and working on those so I can put everything together to get that perfect race,” said Whyte, who trains with Puma MVP International at their base at the Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

“I was hoping to go faster in the final run but, as I said, the race wasn’t perfect but there is still room for improvement. It’s the first race of the season and I think everything will come together as I move forward.”

Whyte did not compete indoors during the winter but does not believe it had any impact on her performances outdoors where she has run two 200m races recording times of 22.88 and 23.28 on March 20 and April 4, respectively.

“Not competing indoors doesn’t give you that early push that pushes you into outdoor. So basically, just training doesn’t give you a true benchmark of where you would want to be,” she explained.

“Competing with world-class athletes is what really sets the standard for what to work on and to just see where you are in your progress. So this meet was a great meet. It had a lot of world-class athletes so it was a true test of progress.”

Having run both short sprints so far this season begs the question, does she plan to compete at both at the Olympic this summer should she qualify at her national championships set for June? Whyte said it’s too early to say.

“Both events complement each other so at the moment I am using each event to get better at the other. The 200m really helps with speed endurance but eventually, when it gets closer to that time, my coach and I will decide based on how the season progresses, what will be best,” she said.

“At the moment, I am delighted for the opportunity to compete. I haven’t run the 200 consistently for the past few years so I am just trying to familiarize myself with the event again. So it’s really a learning process as I go along.  I am also trying to stay injury-free, which is my number one goal.”

Commenting on Richardson's phenomenal time, Whyte said: "Richardson's run was spectacular, she’s a very talented athlete."

 

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