To say that 400m hurdler Shiann Salmon made a remarkable breakthrough when she secured an individual spot on Jamaica’s team to the Paris Olympic Games, would be an understatement.

After just missing out on a spot to the Tokyo 2020 showpiece –for which she was listed as a reserve to Rhonda Whyte, Leah Nugent, and Janieve Russell –Salmon vowed to right that wrong on this occasion, and that she did.

She produced one of her finest performances in recent times to place third in a new personal best of 53.71s, behind Rushell Clayton (52.51s) and Janieve Russell (53.33s) at the JAAA National Senior Championships recently.

“I feel so good. I'm elated. I put the work in to achieve this and I always told myself that I wasn’t going to leave Jamaica as an alternate for the Olympic Games, and I did just that. This was my moment, and I couldn't let anything hold me back, so I'm very happy,” Salmon told SportsMax.TV.

Salmon’s path to achieving the Olympic feat was by no means smooth, as faced intense pressure and anxiety leading up to her qualification race, so much so that she was physically sick before stepping onto the National Stadium track.

Despite these challenges, she managed to harness her nerves and deliver an efficient performance that solidified her place among the elite athletes set to represent Jamaica.

“I was incredibly nervous before the race that I actually threw up a few times,” Salmon admitted.

Salmon is all smiles after accomplishing the Olympic qualifying feat.

“But like I said, I did the work and so I just kept reminding myself ‘you can do it, three persons cannot beat you,’ and I knew I had to push through, so I'm very happy,” she added.

Beyond her focus and determination, the highlight of Salmon’s display was an improved backstretch execution, an aspect of the race she pointed out she and her coaches have rigorously worked on in training.

While her qualification is a significant achievement, the 25-year-old and her coaches are not resting on their laurels. Instead, they intend to continue identifying areas for improvement to enhance her competitiveness in the closing stages of the race.

“Sometimes I don’t execute my races properly, I tend to sleep on the backstretch and the race gets away from me and then I try to finish strong. But for the National Championships, I was just reminding myself mid-race, ‘do not sleep, do not sleep, do not let them go too far,’ And that's what I did,” she shared.

“My coaches also talked to me about, and we have been focusing a lot on executing a proper race strategy because it's crucial for me to maintain my speed and form through that part of the race to ensure I finish strong. So we’re working on refining my technique and endurance to make sure I'm at my best when it counts the most,” Salmon noted.

Having represented Jamaica with distinction, winning multiple individual and relay medals at the youth and senior levels, including NACAC Championships, Commonwealth Games, and the World Championships, Salmon would very much love to add an Olympic medal to her accolades.

Salmon crosses the line ahead of Rushell Clayton in a previous race.

However, Salmon knows that winning a medal in Paris will by no means be easy, and as such, she is more focused on building on her strengths to continue giving of her best for the country at the highest level.

“Honestly, I feel like making the team was the hardest part. That was the aim, and I'm on the team, so I'm just going to take it one step at a time from here. I just have to go through the rounds at the Olympics, execute them, do what my coaches tell me to do and I'll be fine,” she declared.

 “Anything that comes with that, I'll be grateful. Just to be a part of the team is a big enough accomplishment for me and I'm just super happy to be representing my country on the biggest stage of my career, and I can't ask for anything more,” Salmon ended.

NB: The Paris Olympic Games scheduled for July 26 to August 11, will be live on SportsMax and the SportsMax App.

Despite not being at peak fitness, Janieve Russell was determined to secure a place on Jamaica’s team to the upcoming Paris Olympic Games, and so the 400m hurdler knew she had to demonstrate resilience and tenacity to achieve the feat.

In fact, Russell’s second-place performance at the JAAA National Senior Championships this past weekend was a testament to her unyielding spirit, as she soared above her injury concerns with precision and speed, crossing the finish line in 53.33s –a time that marked her fastest ever run at the National Stadium. Rushell Clayton won in a brisk 52.51s, with Shiann Salmon (53.71s) in third.

Having had her season fraught with challenges and injuries, raising doubts about her ability to compete at her usual high standards, Russell believes her performance dispelled any doubts about her readiness to compete on the world stage.