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."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In one of the most exciting set of hurdles races ever witnessed at the National Stadium in Kingston, Ackera Nugent and Rasheed Broadbell emerged victorious, claiming national titles on the final day of the 2024 National Championships.

Ackera Nugent, the 2023 NCAA National Division 1 champion, showcased her incredible talents, dominating a talented field of hurdlers to win in a world-leading 12.28 seconds. This impressive time not only earned her the national title but also set a new national record. Nugent's performance has set the stage for her to be a formidable contender at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.

World champion Danielle Williams, after several attempts, is finally on her way to her first Olympics, finishing second with a time of 12.53 seconds. Janeek Brown, the 2019 NCAA champion, also secured her spot for her Olympic debut by finishing third with a season’s best of 12.61 seconds.

While the women's race was thrilling, the men's 110m hurdles delivered a heart-stopping spectacle. In one of the closest finishes ever witnessed by Jamaican fans, Rasheed Broadbell was declared the winner with a time of 13.18 seconds, identical to Orlando Bennett, who finished in second place. Defending Olympic champion Hansle Parchment was narrowly edged out, finishing third in 13.19 seconds.

The race was so tightly contested that Tyler Mason finished just 0.03 seconds behind, with a time of 13.22 seconds, the same as the 2012 Olympic champion, who unfortunately missed out on the opportunity to represent Jamaica at another Olympic Games.

The 2024 National Championships in Kingston will be remembered for these remarkable performances, setting the stage for an exciting Olympics with Jamaican hurdlers poised to make a significant impact on the world stage.

 

 

 Jamaica's two-time world 200m champion, Shericka Jackson, made a triumphant return to competition at the JAAA All Comers Meet held at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday night. Jackson, who had withdrawn from several meets earlier in the season, put any doubts to rest with an impressive victory in the women's 100m event.

In her highly anticipated season opener, Jackson blazed to victory in the 100m, crossing the line in a swift time of 11.03 seconds. Her performance not only secured her the win but also sent a strong message about her form and readiness as she heads into an Olympic year.

The race saw Tina Clayton take second place with a time of 11.20 seconds, closely followed by Krystal Sloley in third with a time of 11.25 seconds.

On the men's side, Julian Forte delivered an outstanding performance in the 100m dash, clocking an impressive time of 10.07 seconds to secure the title of the fastest Jamaican this year. Earl Simmons followed closely with a time of 10.15 seconds, while Jazeel Murphy claimed third place overall with a time of 10.20 seconds.

Murphy continued his strong showing later in the evening by dominating the 200m event, crossing the line in 20.67 seconds to claim victory. Ashanie Smith and Michael Sharp secured second and third places, respectively, with times of 20.93 seconds and 21.09 seconds.

In other notable performances, former national record holder Janeek Brown showcased her talent in the 100m hurdles, posting a time of 13.15 seconds. This promising performance suggests that Brown is on track to regain her top form after her impressive NCAA title win in 2019.

Orlando Bennett emerged victorious in the men's sprint hurdles with a commendable time of 13.67 seconds, narrowly edging out Odario Phillips (13.71) and Andre Harris (13.78) in a closely contested finish.

Traves Smikle demonstrated his dominance in the men's discus event, throwing an impressive 66.03m to claim first place. Chad Wright secured second place with a throw of 62.98m, followed by Tio-Josh Mowatt in third place with a distance of 52.76m.

For more than a decade now, Jamaica’s women have bossed the 100m.  Veronica Campbell-Brown won Jamaica’s first global 100m gold medal in Osaka in 2007 and since then Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah have basically made the 100m their own with the former winning five world titles and two Olympic titles while Thompson won back to back 100m titles in Brazil in 2016 and 2021 in Tokyo, Japan where she established a new Olympic record of 10.61.

However, with their dominance of the blue-ribbon sprint at its zenith, the women from the land of wood and water seem poised to begin dominating yet another event, the 100m hurdles. Since the 1990s, Jamaica has done reasonably well at the sprint hurdles.

Michelle Freeman was the first Jamaican woman to reach a global final and eventually won won global medals in 1993 and 1997. Dionne Rose and Freeman were Jamaica's first ever Olympic finalists, finishing fifth and sixth, respectively in 1996.

The following year Freeman and Gillian Russell, a 1995 World Championships finalist, went 1-2 at the World Indoor Championships.

Brigitte Foster-Hylton and Delloreen Ennis-London picked up from them with the former winning silver  at the 2003 World Championships, bronze in 2005. Ennis-London won a silver and bronze at the 2005 and 2007 World Championships respectively.

Foster-Hylton made the breakthrough at the 2009 World Championships in Berlin with a fantastic run to give Jamaica gold, Ennis-London won the bronze. Danielle Williams won Jamaica’s second 100m hurdles gold in Beijing 2015 in Beijing and followed with a bronze medal in 2019.

Two years later, Megan Tapper created history for Jamaica when she became the first-ever Jamaican woman to win a medal in the 100m hurdles at an Olympic Games when she captured bronze in Tokyo, Japan.

Then at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Britany Anderson, a finalist in Tokyo in 2021, won silver in the sprint hurdlers.

Tapper and Anderson are among a growing cadre of Jamaican female sprint hurdlers who are among the very best in the world. Among them are Ackera Nugent, the World U20 60m hurdles record holder who opened her 2023 season with a time of 8.00 indoors and Demisha Roswell, who ran a personal best 12.44 and is the fastest Jamaican woman in the world this year over the 60m hurdles with a 7.98 clocking this past weekend.

There is also hope that former national record holder Janeek Brown will make a successful return to the event this season after two years of disruption in her personal life and athletic career. Perhaps, the most talented of the lot is 17-year-old Kerrica Hill, who last year succeeded Nugent as World Under 20 champion and who recently turned professional.

In 2022, Jamaica had four of the 10 fastest women in the world. The USA also had four while Puerto Rico and Nigeria had one each.

 If Jamaica’s women are to reach the pinnacle and find some level of dominance it will require a lot of technical work and consistently fast hurdling to get there but if the 100m women are anything to go by, nothing is beyond their reach.

 

Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, Olympic and World Championships 400m bronze medalist and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell have been named to a Jamaican selection that has named to participate in the World Relays set for May 1-2 in Chorzow, Poland.

Janeek Brown, the 2019 NCAA 100m hurdles champion, has joined MVP International at the Florida base camp, the club announced today.

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