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.

 

Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah has been unveiled as one of the five finalists for female athlete of the year.

Thompson-Herah has been nominated on the back of a phenomenal season on the track which saw her achieve new heights in the sport.

She ran 10.61 to win the 100 metres in Tokyo and followed that up with 21.53 to win the 200 metres, becoming the only woman to win the Olympic sprint double on two occasions after also doing so in Rio five years ago.

She was also a part of Jamaica’s victorious Women’s 4x100 metres relay team.

After the Olympics, Thompson-Herah went on to achieve even more success.

At the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon on August 21st, Thompson sped to a personal best and national record time of 10.54 seconds, the second-fastest time ever in the women’s 100 metres.

She broke 10.7 seconds four times this season, including in the Diamond League final in Zurich where she ran 10.65 to win.

Thompson-Herah has been nominated for the award alongside Dutch distance runner, Sifan Hassan, American hurdler, Sydney McLaughlin, Venezuelan Triple Jumper, Yulimar Rojas and Kenyan middle-distance specialist, Faith Kipyegon.

Hassan won the 5000, 10,000 metres double in Tokyo and also broke the 10,000 metres world record this season.

McLaughlin set two new world records in the women’s 400 metres hurdles on her way to winning gold in Tokyo.

Rojas set a new triple jump world record to win gold in Tokyo, and Kipyegon set a new Kenyan record in the women’s 1500 metres while also winning gold in Tokyo.

The winner will be announced at the World Athletics Awards to be held virtually on December 1st.

 

 

Olympic bronze medallist, Candice McLeod, says her success on the track this season was due mainly to getting more rest and a proper diet during the pre-season.

Jamaican 400-metre sprinter, Candice McLeod, says her dip in form on the athletics circuit after the Olympics was due to fatigue and cold weather.

“The weather wasn’t me at all. I’m not used to competing in the cold because I’m always in Jamaica and Japan was just perfect. I did not know how to get my legs to feel normal again. They felt really tight I was not recovering the way I should be,” said McLeod while speaking on Sportsmax.TV’s On Point.

The Olympic Bronze medallist competed in 15 400-metre races this season, including eight before the Tokyo Olympics, three in Tokyo, and four on the circuit after the Games ended.

At the Tokyo Olympics, McLeod ran a personal best 49.51 in her semi-final and followed that up with a 49.87 clocking in the final.

In her four races after the Olympics, McLeod ran times of 51.26 to finish 5th at the Lausanne Diamond League, 51.41 to finish 7th at the Paris Diamond League, 51.88 to finish 3rd at the World Athletics meet in Chorzow and 50.96 to finish 5th at the Diamond League Final in Zurich.

McLeod explained that the short time between meets on the Diamond League circuit was also difficult to manage.

“It is definitely challenging. When I finished the first Diamond League and had to travel within the next day to compete the other day, I’m not used to it. I tried my best to stay within the reigns but at some point, I decided, well, I think this year is definitely for the experience.”

The former Vere Technical and Papine High student said her fatigue in the first Diamond League meet after the Olympics took the biggest toll on her.

“My first meet I literally cried tears from my eyes because I was so cold. I saw people walking and asked myself; Am I in the same place as them? I was so cold. I was definitely not prepared for that.”

McLeod praised athletes who are able to still perform near their best on the circuit despite the quick turnaround between meets and the difficult conditions.

“I don’t know how they do it but if this is what I want to be doing every year I need to get a grip of this because I was fatigued to the point that I was frustrated. I didn’t feel like I was giving my best.”

She also said she expects the experience to make her better in the future.

“Next year, now that I know that I have a lot of things to do while traveling, then I think it will be better.”

The full interview with Candice McLeod can be seen on the Sportsmax YouTube channel.

 

Jamaica’s Olympic 100m and 200m champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah and the USA’s Ryan Crouser have been named 2021 Female and Male Athletes of the Year for the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association.

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the three-time gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan in August, is to be rewarded with a Jamaican diplomatic passport, Minister Olivia Grange announced on Wednesday.

Elaine Thompson-Herah was the only Caribbean athlete to win on the final day of the Diamond League season in Zurich on Thursday but a few others came very close.

As she looks forward to what could be her final race this season on the final day of the Diamond League season in Zurich on Thursday, double, double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah said she kind of surprised herself with the incredible success she has experienced this year.

Since she won her first sprint double in 2016, the first woman to do so since Florence Griffith-Joyner at the Seoul Games in 1988, Thompson-Herah failed to win a medal at the 2017 and 2019 World Championships. However, at the Toyko 2020 Olympics this past summer, Thompson-Herah became the first woman in Olympic history to win back-to-back sprint doubles.

She set a new Olympic record of 10.51 in the 100m and set a lifetime best of 21.53 to win the 200m titles. She added a third gold medal as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m relay team that set a new national record of 41.02, the third-fastest time in history.

Weeks later she won the 100m at the Prefontaine Classic in 10.54, the second-fastest time ever run and then followed up with 10.64 to finish second to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in Lausanne and then 10.72 in Paris.

Speaking at a press conference this morning before she takes to the track on Thursday, the history-making Olympic champion said she has not yet had time to take it all in.

“It hasn’t sunk it as yet. I think because I knew I had a long season I don’t want to get too carried away, too excited and the focus is still continuing the season for next year and the years to come. After the season ends I can say hurrah, hooray and I watch back my videos and see what I have done and say yes, I did it,” she said.

“Being the fastest woman alive, I think I still haven’t known what I have done yet. Because I have put in all the work and I have achieved, it is not something I never expect myself to do but my expectations were not high but I think I surprised myself this entire season with everything that I have done so far.”

On Thursday, Thompson-Herah will line up against Dina Asher-Smith, Natasha Morrison, Javianne Oliver, Daryll Neita, Marie Jose Ta Lou and the Swiss pair of Ajla Del Ponte and Mujinga Kambundji in the 100m.

 

Eighteen-year-old Christine Mboma topped a talented field of women over 200m at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday when Natoya Goule closed out the action on the track by winning the 800m.

The marquee event, however, was the 200m and it lived up to expectations.

The Namibian, the Olympic silver medalist and World U20 champion, running on from behind, surged past Shericka Jackson with 30m to go and won in 21.84. Jackson was again under 22 seconds, clocking 21.95 while Dina Asher-Smith finished third in a season-best 22.03.

The much-talked-about Sha’Carri Richardson was never a factor. She trailed off the curve and was passed down the stretch by Mboma and Asher-Smith to finish fourth in 22.45.

Mboma was elated at getting her first Diamond League win.

“I was really excited to run here in Brussels. It was my first Diamond League experience and to be able to win in such a strong field is great,” she said.

“It has been a very tough and busy season with the Olympics and the World junior championships, but I'm still in good shape. I ran almost a personal best today, so that pleases me. I still have one race to go in Zurich and after that, I will take some rest.”

Jackson, meantime, was disappointed at not winning enjoyed the competition.

“I´m happy with my race but I really wanted to win today,” she said.

“I had a good start so I´m happy with that but there´s still room for improvement. I was able to accelerate towards the end but couldn´t get the win. I loved to race here and the feeling was good.”

Similarly, Asher-Smith was happy with her season-best.

“I´m so happy with my race! I ran a season's best and had a good feeling. It felt so good to be here and to be able to run this fast,” said the Brit, who was unable to compete in the 200m because of a hamstring injury.

“I worked so hard after my injury to return and feel strong again. I really love to run here in Brussels. I still have a few races to go so I hope I can improve myself and feel good. The relaxed feeling is back so I´m very happy with that.”

Goule, a finalist at the Tokyo Olympics, ran a strategic race behind the pacemaker but then assumed the lead with 300m to go.

She would hold that lead until the end to win her first Diamond League race in 1:58.09, holding off Great Britain’s Keely Hodgkinson, who clocked 1:58.16 for second place. Jemma Reekie also of Great Britain was third in 1:58.77.

´I’m extremely happy with my win today! I´m just so excited and happy to win my first Diamond League race,” she said.

“I have to thank God and my coach for believing in me. To race here today, especially against these girls. They are all so strong. I have a lot of respect for Keely Hodgkinson. She´s so good and humble, a very good athlete and still so young. So I´m very happy I could still sprint and take the win. The big crowd today definitely helped with that. You just feel everyone´s excitement for today. I hope I can win in Zurich as well but it will be hard.”

Earlier, Megan Tapper was third in the 100m hurdles but there was misfortune for Danielle Williams, who appeared to suffer an injury and limped across the line in eighth. She was eventually disqualified.

Tapper, the Olympic bronze medalist, got off to a fast start but was eventually caught by Tobi Amusan and Nadine Visser, who crossed the line together and were credited with 12.69. Tapper clocked 12.77 for her second podium finish in the Diamond League this season.

There was no Karsten Warholm or Rai Benjamin in the 400m hurdles but it was no less dramatic as Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos and the British Virgin Islands’ Kyron McMaster engaged in a stirring battle that the latter looked like winning after seven hurdles.

However, the Brazilian eased into the lead over the final hurdle and held it to win in 48.24. McMaster finished second in 48.31.

Jaheel Hyde was in position to finish on the podium but seemed to run out of steam down the stretch and was unable to hold off a fast-finishing Yasmani Copello of Turkey, who took third in 48.45. Hyde had to settle for fourth in 48.91.

The men’s 400m was won by American Michael Cherry in a new personal best and meet record 44.03 leaving Kirani James (44.51) and Isaac Makwala (44.83) in his wake.

 

 

 

 

 

The Women’s 200m at the Diamond League meeting in Brussels on Friday promises to be an electric affair as it features a few of the fastest women in the event in the world this year.

The world’s fastest woman Elaine Thompson (21.53) is a late withdrawal but the field is still stacked.

It features firebrand American Sha’Carri Richardson,  Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson as well as Olympic silver medalist and World U20 champion Christine Mboma of Namibia, both of whom have run faster over the half-lap sprint than the upstart American.

 The 18-year-old Mboma ran a lifetime best 21.81 for the silver medal in Tokyo and 21.82 to win the World U20 title in Kenya last month. She will prove to be a handful not just for the American but also for the Olympic 100m silver medalist Shericka Jackson, who ran a personal best 21.82 in June.

However, in a pre-meet media conference on Friday, Richardson, who will be running on fresher legs, said she hopes to go below her previous best.

“I feel like a baby in such a company because a lot of ladies have a time of 21 seconds behind their name. I get into the starting blocks with the same eagerness for a 200m as I do for a 100m, so hopefully, I can prove that with a fast chrono. My coach and I are also working very hard to excel in both distances, so I'm really looking forward to diving under 22 seconds,” said Richardson whose personal best is 22.00 but has a season-best time of 22.11 run in Gainesville, Florida in April.

She might very well need to, if she is to win, because also included in the line-up is the reigning European champion Dina Asher-Smith, who hampered by a hamstring injury, was forced to withdraw from the event at the Tokyo Olympics last month.

However, the Briton, who is gradually returning to full health, ran a season-best 22.06 in Italy in June and will be hoping to get close to that time after a promising 22.19 for third in Eugene, Oregon on August 21.

Olympic finalist Beatrice Masilingi is also included in the line-up. The Namibian teenager, the sixth-place finisher at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, ran a personal best 22.18 for the silver medal behind at the World U20 Championships in Kenya last month.

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.

Jamaica double Olympic champion, Elaine Thompson-Herah, had no comment regarding the pre-race comments of Sha’Carri Richardson after handing the American a crushing defeat at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday.

Thompson-Herah clocked a new personal best of 10.54 in the women’s 100m, just outside of the longstanding world record set by Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988.  Similar to the finish at the Olympics a few weeks ago, her compatriots Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (10.73) and Shericka Jackson (10.76) we second and third.

Heading into the race, however, the focus had been on the return to the sprints of American Sha’Carri Richardson.  Richardson had run 10.72 in April and won the US trials to set up the prospect of an intriguing match-up at the Olympics.  The 21-year-old was, however, suspended ahead of Tokyo after returning a positive test for marijuana.

Ahead of the Wanda Diamond League, many framed the race as an Olympic do-over for the American, who certainly headed into the event sky-high on confidence with plenty of pre-race chatter to boot.  It did not go to plan.  Richardson finished last in 11.14, and at the end of the race, the Olympic do-over had the same three medallists as the original.  On Richardson’s placing and pre-race chatter, the decorated sprint queens had no comment.

“I wasn’t watching Sha’Carri to be honest,” Fraser-Pryce, who went viral for a cheeky post-race smirk as she passed by the American being interviewed, said.

“No, you shouldn’t have,” Fraser-Pryce replied when anyone should have really been surprised by another Jamaican sweep.

Fraser-Pryce may well have a point, perhaps expecting Richardson, who is yet to win a major medal, to match up to the in-form Jamaican 100m medallist, who in total have 8 Olympic medals between them and three of the four fastest times in history, might have been a stretch.

“I didn’t hear much of that,” Thompson-Herah said when quizzed on the American's pre-race comments.

 “No comment on that,” the athlete added when asked for her assessment of Richardson’s performance.

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.

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic triple gold medalist, will take on American upstart Sha ‘Carri Richardson and a stacked field that includes the Olympic 100m silver and bronze medalists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Shericka Jackson, respectively, in a blue-ribbon showdown at the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meet on Saturday, August 21 in Eugene, Oregon.

Thompson-Herah, who won the 100/200m double at the 2016 Rio Olympics, created history in Tokyo earlier this month when she became the first woman to successfully defend both titles at the same Olympics.

She won the 100m in an Olympic record of 10.61, eclipsing the 10.62 set by Florence Griffith-Joyner at Seoul in 1988 and followed up by winning the 200m in a personal best of 21.53, which made her the second-fastest woman in history.

She then added a third gold medal as a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m sprint relay team that established a new national record of 41.02.

The 21-year-old Richardson, who ran a personal best 10.72 in April, won the 100m at US trials in July in 10.86. However, she was subsequently banned for a month after testing positive for THC, a derivative of marijuana. Her omission triggered a debate about whether she would have won had she been allowed to compete in Tokyo.

However, the much-touted American will not only be facing the Olympic champion in the blue-ribbon sprint. She is also facing a motivated Fraser-Pryce, the second-fastest woman in the world this year and the third fastest all time, who is likely to be still smarting from her loss in the Olympic 100m final.

The 34-year-old two-time Olympic champion (2008, 2012) was considered the overwhelming favourite to land a third 100m Olympic title following her 10.63s run at the National Stadium in Kingston on June 5. However, she finished second to Thompson-Herah in 10.74.

The Olympic 100m bronze medalist Jackson, who ran a personal best 10.76 in Tokyo, has also been included in the line-up that will also feature, Tokyo relay gold medalist Briana Williams (10.97), Teahna Daniels (10.98), Javiane Oliver (10.96) and Marie Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, who ran a personal best 10.78 in Tokyo.

Switzerland’s Mujinga Kambundji who has run a season-best 10.96, is also listed for the clash that is perhaps the fastest field ever assembled.

 

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