Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah legitimately feared missing out on a chance to defend her Olympic titles because of a longstanding, ongoing injury issue.

The athlete finished third in both the 100m and 200m at last month’s Jamaica National Championships but admits for a few weeks leading up to the event she was not sure she could have taken part.

The 29-year-old said that leading up to the national trials, she suffered from an Achilles injury that earlier forced her to withdraw from the Gateshead Diamond League event that she was scheduled to compete in on the 23rd of May.

“It’s that same Achilles injury, it’s been bothering me for almost five years now…it’s not that bad for surgery but it’s overworked I guess, so I have to monitor it properly, Thompson-Herah revealed.

The athlete put in a dominant performance at the Rio Olympics five years ago, where she won gold in both sprint events and silver in the women’s 4x100m relay.

The result at the national trials might not have been exactly what she wanted, but Thompson-Herah maintains she is grateful that she managed to at least finish third in both events, and with that securing the chance to win back-to-back Olympic titles.

“It’s been a challenging month, over the last month I have been in a lot of pain. I drew God closer and said God I am talking to you now, help me to do this at the trials,” Thompson said.

“I spoke to my coach and asked coach ‘will I be able to go to the trials?’ because I was in so much pain. But, I can’t complain, I am not frowning I am smiling through my pain, I have made my second Olympics and I am super excited, the work has to go on.”

Despite the fact that she was hampered by the injury, Thompson-Herah knows that she had to work that much harder, as the competition to secure spots on the team remains fierce.

“A lot of females are out here, and they are hungry for the Olympics, it’s the Olympics, everybody wants to go to the Olympics. I am the reigning Olympic champion, so everybody wants to get to that line (first), myself included.”

As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games inches closer, quizzed about her expectations, Thompson-Herah insisted she would not be placing any pressure unnecessary expectations on herself, as she focuses on herself and her well-being.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t put any pressure on myself, my main focus is me and my health, I just put in some more work, reset and refocus.”

 

 

Living like a sprinter and improving on her speed and strength have resulted in Stephenie-Ann McPherson running her 400m lifetime best at the Jamaica National Championships on Sunday.

Winning her second national title was like a miracle for Megan Tapper who was the surprise winner on Sunday morning, the final day of the 2021 Jamaica National Championships to select a team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

Running in lane eight, Tapper upset pre-race favourites Britany Anderson and Danielle Williams to take top spot in a season-best 12.68. Yanique Thompson, the Commonwealth Games bronze medalist ran 12.73, a season-best for second place while Anderson was third in 12.75.

“It was like experiencing a miracle right in front of my face,” she said after realizing she had crossed the line first. “I expected it but it is a different feeling when it actually happens.”

Tapper was not in the best of form coming in having run times ranging from 12.87-13.72 in eight races heading into the championships. However, in the semi-finals, she ran a season-best 12.86 for second place in her semifinal that was won by Anderson in 12.65.

She revealed afterwards that patience was the key to her success and understanding what works for her.

“I just had to understand that it takes a while to get into the groove, getting into running to get my mindset right,” she explained afterwards.

“I was patient, my coach and my husband were patient with me and they kept me motivated and at the end of the day I asked God to show up for me and he did and I am grateful.”

She believes running in the outside lane actually helped her avoid the intense battle for places that was unfolding in the lanes inside her.

“I was on the end. I was in lane eight and I guess that worked in my favour,” she said.

“Before I went out, my coach and husband told me to stay focused and to just execute. Once I executed a proper race I would have been close to the top or at the top and that’s what I did.”

Now that she has secured a place on the team to Tokyo Tapper says she knows she has work to do to be ready for competition in Japan.

“I need to remain focused and realize that the job isn’t finished and it is going to take a little than what I had today,” she said.

 

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce described herself as a warrior Sunday after she completed the sprint double on the final day of the 2021 Jamaica National Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston. The 34-year-old Fraser-Pryce ran a lifetime best of 21.79 to add the 200m to the 100m she won in 10.71 on Friday night.

She held a fast-finishing Shericka Jackson, who also produced a lifetime best of 21.82 for the runner-up spot. Elaine Thompson-Herah, the 2016 Olympic champion, finished third in a season-best 22.02.

It was a seminal moment for Fraser-Pryce, who won a silver medal over 200m at the 2012 London Games and gold a year later at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow.

“I am excited because, look at me, for everything I have achieved over the years, I’ve never taken it for granted. I always knew what I was capable of and I am glad I never gave up and I stuck to what I believed in and kept close to the persons who believed in me and continued to work hard for that dream and I am glad to finally break the 22-second barrier,” she said.

The improvements this season that allowed her to run lifetime bests of 10.63 and 21.79, she said, was the result of the hard work Coach Reynaldo Walcott put her through during the off-season as well as her own resolve to continue to strive for excellence despite whatever challenges life throws at her.

“The key part of the preparation was just the endurance part in making sure I was strong to manage all the rounds, I think that was very important,” she said.

“I am grateful that I was able to put together the work and I give God thanks because I have had struggles, especially with my toe, but I am a warrior so whatever it is, I am always going to show up and do my best and as long as I do that then I am always satisfied.”

She also praised Coach Walcott, the head coach at Elite Performance, with whom she has enjoyed a harmonious relationship ever since her early days at the MVP track club.

“Mr Walcott has always been a friend. He was part of the MVP track club, we started UTech (University of Technology) at the same time so I have always had that belief in him,” she said, also taking time to praise her former coach Stephen Francis.

“I think what’s also important is that we have always had a foundation as well from Stephen Francis and MVP Track Club so I can’t take that for granted and what he had done to my career so far. So, it’s just a continuation of the hard work and the coaches. I am just glad that I have had two solid coaches.”

Fraser-Pryce said she plans to immediately get back to work to continue to prepare for the Games this summer.

“The Olympics are not that far away so it’s about being very meticulous in the work and being mindful, stay injury free and doing the best I can to stay healthy.”

Rasheed Dwyer won the men's title in season-best 20.17 ahead of Yohan Blake 20.18. Tyquendo Tracey, the 100m champion, was third in 20.34.

 

 

 

 

Natoya Goule-Toppin won her eighth 800m national title in impressive fashion and Shericka Jackson cruised into Sunday’s final with the fastest time in the 200m on Saturday’s penultimate day of Jamaica’s National Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Like Jackson, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, fresh off winning her fourth 100m title on Friday night, was also impressive in advancing to Sunday’s final where she will once again face off with Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, who was third in Friday night’s 100m final.

Goule, who has been enjoying an impressive season, clocked a season-best 1:57.84 in a commanding performance in the two-lap event. She was in control from the start and pulled away after the first lap to run her fastest time since she ran a national record 1:56.15 in 2018.

Second was Jasmine Fray who ran 2:03.92 and Aisha Praught-Leer third in 2:05.31, times that are well short of the Olympic standard of 1:59.50 and so neither will make the trip to Japan this summer.

In the semi-finals of the Women 200m, Jackson and Fraser-Pryce both achieved the Olympic standard of 22.80 heading into Sunday’s final. Jackson was the most impressive qualifier cruising to a time of 22.28 easing down to win her semi-final heat ahead of Ashanti Moore who ran a personal best of 22.86.

Natalliah Whyte also made the final on time when she finished third in 23.15.

Fraser-Pryce was also impressive easing down considerably to win her heat in 22.40 over Natasha Morrison, who ran 23.08 for second place and an automatic place in the final. Kevona Davis made it through on time when she clocked 23.20.

Thompson-Herah was the slowest of the semi-final winners as she eased to victory in 22.90. Finishing second was Briana Williams, who was fourth in Friday night’s 100m. The 19-year-old Nike athlete clocked 23.48.

No other runner from that heat advanced to the final.

Meanwhile, Julian Forte was the fastest man heading into Sunday’s final when he clocked 20.22 to win his heat ahead of Rasheed Dwyer, who ran 20.30.

Schoolboy Antonio Watson made it into the final on time as he ran 20.53 for third.

Yohan Blake ran 20.29 easing down to win his heat and qualify for the final.  Romario Williams was the other automatic qualifier in 20.78 from that heat.

The opening heat was won by 100m champion Tyquendo Tracey in 20.38 ahead of Nigel Ellis (20.41). Jevaughn Minzie (20.43) made it through on time.

Christopher Taylor was the fastest man heading into the finals of the 400m. Taylor ran 45.31 to advance along with Karayme Bartley, who ran 45.40 from the first semi-final. Sean Bailey advanced from the other semi-final running 45.42 to finish ahead of Demish Gaye 45.83.

The other finalists were Rusheen McDonald (46.03), Javier Brown (46.07), Keeno Burrell (46.14) and Nathon Allen (46.17).

Stephenie-Ann McPherson ran an impressive 50.18 to advance to the finals along with Stacey-Ann Williams (50.84),  Candice McLeod (51.04), Charokee Young (51.40), Roneisha McGregor (50.97), Tovea Jenkins (51.72), Tiffany James (51.77) and Junelle Bromfield (51.78).

World U20 silver medalist Britanny Anderson cruised into the final of the 100m hurdles taking her heat in 12.65 ahead of Megan Tapper, who ran a season-best 12.86. Also through was the 2019 World Championship silver medalist who won her semi-final in 12.70 ahead of Yanique Thompson, who ran a season-best 12.73.

Daszay Freeman was third in 12.82 which means she also qualifies for the final.

Ackera Nugent recovered from a bad start to win her semi-final in 12.78. Shimayra Williams also booked her place in the final clocking 12.87. Jeanine Williams makes it in on time after crossing the finish line in 13.04.

On a night when the USA’s Grant Holloway came within 0.01 of the world record, Omar McLeod was given a scare in his semi-final heat that he managed to win ahead Ronald Levy as both advanced to the final. McLeod ran his second-fastest time of the season 13.04 and had to work hard to shake off Levy, who ran a season-best 13.08 for second place.

Olympic medalist Hansle Parchment, who is returning from injury, showed he has a lot left in the tank running 13.19 to win his heat ahead of Phillip Lemonious (13.21) and Damion Thomas (13.27). Orlando Bennett (13.49) was also an automatic qualifier.

Andrew Riley (13.65) and Jordani Woodley (13.89) are also through to the finals.

Fedrick Dacres won the discus with 64.31m and Lamara Distin cleared 1.90 to win the Women’s High Jump.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JeVaughn Minzie's fifth-place finish in the men’s 100m, at the Jamaica National Championships, did not secure one of the automatic spots to Tokyo but it was a dream come true all the same as it did secure an appearance at a second straight Olympic Games.

The 25-year-old was confident heading into the race and insists he and was not intimidated by a strong field.  He had one job, and it was to be sitting on that flight to Tokyo next month.  Three automatic spots were up for grabs and, he was optimistic about his chances.

"For me as long as I made the Olympic team, that was my goal. Just making the Olympic team because I was struggling all season long and came out here back-to-back each time running a season's best. For me, making the team, just making the team, that's all I wanted,” Minzie told SportsMax.tv following the men’s final.

It was not his best-executed race, as many looking on would have noticed. He was made to chase the big guns from start to finish. As a result, the former Class 1 Boys 200M champion had to do a lot to hold on to his fifth-place ticket to Tokyo.

Minzie believes his struggles to secure one of the automatic spots are a result of the last phase of his race, he is convinced that the last forty metres of his race needs to improve before taking the track in Tokyo.

"(I am) working on my last forty metres, I believe that part of my race can get a lot better,” he added.

Minzie, the 2016 4x100m relay Olympic gold medalist, revealed that he will be aiming to finish in the top three of the 200m.

"Tomorrow in the 200 let’s see if I can make the team, stamp it, seal it this time around tomorrow for the 200m."

Minzie also took the time out to laud his mother, who he says gave him great motivation to finish strong at the national championships.

"My mommy called me last night and said, ‘guess what, run for your life' so that is what I just did, and I have made the team."

The finals of the men's 200m is scheduled for Sunday, at 8:45 pm. The former Bog Walk High Schoolboy will no doubt be looking to reclaim some of his Boys and Girls Championship glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When it comes to winning races that count, there is hardly a better sprinter than Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

In eight global finals, since she won her first Olympic title in Beijing in 2008, the Pocket Rocket has won six. She demonstrated that mettle once again on Friday night when she won her fourth national 100m title against a strong field on day two of the Jamaica National Championships in Kingston.

The two-time Olympic champion stormed to victory in 10.71, the second-fastest time run by anyone this year, only bettered by her world-leading 10.63 run at the same venue on June 5.

Using her explosive start to her advantage, she got away from the field that was unable to close as she flashed across the finish line.

Second was Shericka Jackson, who surprised everyone when she clocked a big lifetime best of 10.77 to win her semi-final just over an hour before. She ran an equally impressive 10.82 holding off the 2016 double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, who was third in 10.84.

Briana Williams, who at 19, was the youngest in the field, finished fourth in 11.01, which earned her a place at her first Olympic Games.

There was also another surprise in the men’s 100m as Tyquendo Tracey ran 10.00 flat to edge Yohan Blake 10.01 and an ecstatic Oblique Seville, who ran a personal best 10.04 for third and booked a spot to his very first Olympic Games.

There were two runaway winners in the 400m hurdles but the more impressive of the two was Jaheel Hyde who clocked a lifetime best 48.18 to win and also exceed the Olympic standard of 48.90, which means he is also going to Tokyo this summer.

He punched the air as he crossed the line and saw the flash time on the electronic clock on the infield.

Second went to Sean Rowe who stopped the clock at 49.60, just ahead of Kemar Mowatt, who was third in 49.61.

Janieve Russell ran away with the women’s race to win in a season-best 54.07.

Ronda Whyte was second in 54.94 while Leah Nugent was third in 54.98 in a close finish that saw Shian Salmon finish fourth in 55.00.

Shericka Jackson set tongues a-wagging on Thursday night when she ran a new personal best to advance to Friday’s semi-final of the 100m at the Jamaica’s National Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Yohan Blake, the 2011 World Champion and double Olympic silver medalist showed glimpses of the Beast, as he also advanced to the semi-finals of the men’s 100m with the fastest time.

Jackson, 26, a 400m specialist, clocked 10.91 and was the fastest among the women. That takes some doing considering that the preliminary round also featured four-time world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who cruised to victory in her heat in 10.97.

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the 2016 double Olympic champion also looked to be in incredibly great shape as she won her heat in 10.96.  Briana Williams, 2018 World U20, was also a picture of good form in winning her heat in 11.00.

Also among the 16 women advancing to the semi-finals were Natasha Morrison, who was second to Jackson in 11.06 while Shian Hyde was a distant third in 11.50.

Sashalee Forbes advanced from Fraser-Pryce’s heat having run 11.13, close to her personal best of 11.10 while finishing second to the two-time Olympic 100m champion. Remona Burchell, the 2014 NCAA champion, showed the form that made her champion clocking 11.14, a brand new season-best and her fastest time since she ran 11.07 in 2017.

Natalliah Whyte (11.13) and Shockoria Wallace (11.22) advanced from Thompson-Herah’s heat while Kemba Nelson ran 11.05 and Kevona Davis (11.19) advanced from Williams’ heat.

Briana Williams, the national U20 record holder at 10.97, showed that she will not be outrun by anyone cruising to an 11.00 clocking to also advance from Heat 4 along with Kemba Nelson (11.05) and Kevona Davis (11.19).

 Ashanti Moore (11.15), Kashieka Cameron (11.28), Jodean Williams (11.45) and Schillonie Calvert-Powell (11.53) are also through to Friday’s semis.

Meanwhile, Blake looked like the sprinter of a decade ago when only Usain Bolt was faster when he eased to a 10.03 clocking to win his heat. Davonte Burnett was the second-fastest through to the semi-finals when he won his heat in 10.05.

Burnett, whose father is Jamaican, grew up in Massachusetts and attends the University of Southern California. He was fifth in the NCAA Division I finals in 10.19.

Julian Forte and Oblique Seville both looked good while crossing the line together in their heat in 10.08, similar to what happened in the opening heat with Tyquendo Tracey and Nigel Ellis, who were both credited with 10.13.

 Romario Williams, who clocked 10.27, also advanced from that heat.

Also advancing to Friday’s semi-finals were Senoj-jay Givans (10.20), Oshane Bailey (10.26), Andre Ewers (10.22), Bryan Levell (10.25), Jelani Walker (10.32), Michael Campbell (10.25), Ashanie Smith (10.25), Jevaughn Minzie (10.27) and Ramone Barnswell (10.32).

Track and field analyst and SportsMax.tv’s The Commentators podcast host Ricardo Chambers has picked 400m specialist Shericka Jackson to spring a surprise at the Jamaica Championships, in the women’s 100m, on Friday.

Unusually, the 2016 Olympics 400m bronze medallist was not only registered in her pet event but also in the 100m and 200m as well.

The 25-year sprinter looked in exceptional form as she clocked a personal best of 11.02 seconds at the JAAA Destiny Series earlier this month.  A solid time, but to compete with a talented women’s field that not only includes the likes of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, but also junior record holder Briana Williams, and seasoned 100m sprinter and World Championship relay gold medalist Natasha Morrison will take an extraordinary effort. 

Morrison, who clocked her personal best of 10.87 earlier this season, has the fourth-fastest time in the world this year.  Double world Under-20 sprinter Briana Williams ran her personal best of 10.97 earlier this month, and rising NCAA star Kemba Walker, who has run 10.98, could also figure in the mix.  Chambers, however, believes Jackson could be in line to deliver something special.

“She was on the 2019 4x1 team and just based on what I have seen of her this year and her entire career, I actually think personally she runs the hundred and I think she will be top four,” Chambers said on this week’s episode.

“I think she will definitely finish top four.  I think it’s a matter of whether she is second third or fourth, but I expect her to be in the top four,” he added.

With the schedule of the National Championships, however, it could be difficult for the athlete to do all three events and Chambers believes it could be a mistake to not compete in the 400m, with a possible gold medal up for grabs this year at the Olympics.

“Based on the schedule, three rounds of the 100, two rounds of the 200m, and two rounds of the 400, I don’t think she can do all events and a few of them overlap.  So, let’s see what final decision she makes, I expect her to run the 100m and 200m and leave the 400m,” he said.

“It’s interesting though because if you look at what is happening in the women’s 100, if you are not going to run 10.7 it makes no sense, if you are not going to run 21 for the 200m, it makes no sense…Stephen Francis is an absolute genius, I hope he didn’t make a mistake this time but we will see how this one works out.”

Listen to the full episode below 

 

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