Newly crowned World Indoor 60m champion Julien Alfred is over the moon after securing her country’s first ever global track and field medal with her triumph at the recently concluded World Indoor Athletics Championships held in Glasgow, Scotland from March 1-3.

The 22-year-old became St. Lucia’s first ever global medallist with a joint world-leading 6.98 ahead of main rival Ewa Swoboda of Poland (7.00) and Italy’s Zaynab Dosso (7.05).

In a post-race interview, the 2023 Bowerman Award winner said she said she has long dreamt about being her country’s first ever global medallist.

“I’ve been dreaming about this for such a long time to come out here and give my country their first ever medal and I feel so happy and overwhelmed,” she said.

“I had so many feelings going through my mind and body. We had to wait such a long time to see our names come up and I just kept wondering is it me? Is it Swoboda? As soon as my name came up I just felt overwhelmed and happy knowing I can finally call myself a world champion,” Alfred added.

Alfred entered into the final as the second fastest qualifier with a time of 7.03 and watched Swoboda light up the track on her war to a world leading 6.98 to win her semi-final.

The former St. Catherine High and University of Texas standout was asked about whether or not Swoboda’s semi-final performance was on her mind going into the much-anticipated final.

“I think I’ve grown a little bit more compared to last year at the World Championships. Even if somebody runs faster than me in the semis, just don’t worry about it because there’s always a final,” she said.

As far as her tactical approach went, Alfred’s goal was to get a good start and maintain her composure through the line.

“Just get out! I think my semi-final wasn’t executed in the right way. I know my top end speed was there but I know that Swoboda has a great start so my main focus was just to get out and hang on and continue to push to the line,” added the former Texas standout.

With that said, “no,” was her response to a question about whether or not she executed her race perfectly.

“My start was there but I felt like the ending could’ve been much better had I just stayed relaxed and not pressured myself to go to the line,” she added.

Alfred's goal now shifts to some outdoor success at the Paris Olympics.

"Definitely! One step at a time, one race at a time and just practicing hard to execute when the time comes," she said.

 

 

The island of St Lucia is set to erupt in jubilation as the Government plans extravagant celebrations to honour Julien Alfred's historic triumph at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow. However, when those festivities occur will likely depend on when the athlete would be available to participate.

 The 22-year-old sprint sensation made history on Saturday, securing the gold medal in the 60m dash and etching her name in St Lucian athletics lore.

Already recognized as the fastest women ever from St Lucia, Alfred's stellar performance in Glasgow elevated her status to unparalleled heights. Clocking a world-leading 6.98s, she held off formidable competitors Ewa Swoboda of Poland (7.00s) and Italy's Zaynab Dosso (7.05s) to clinch the coveted gold medal, marking the first time a St Lucian athlete has achieved such a feat on the global stage.

In the wake of this historic victory, St Lucia's Sports Minister, Kenson Casimir, expressed the government's eagerness to celebrate Julien Alfred's triumph.

Speaking to Sportsmax.TV, Minister Casimir outlined plans for a grand celebration but emphasized that the arrangements would hinge on Alfred's availability, considering her demanding athletic schedule.

“We have a very long season ahead of us, we would love to celebrate it with Julien but we are thinking about whether or not she comes home, that would be entirely up to her, her technical team, and her staff, coach and others," stated Minister Casimir.

The sports minister further conveyed the island's desire to demonstrate their pride and support for Alfred by parading her across the entire island. However, recognizing the athlete's significant goals and commitments, Casimir expressed the need to coordinate with Alfred's team to determine the feasibility of such a celebration.

“We would love to have her home to really parade her around the entire island, but we have big goals; she has big goals. Of course, I will be on the phone with her soon enough to find out what is possible and what’s not,” he added.

In a historic moment at the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland, Thea LaFond from Dominica leaped into the record books, securing her place as the first Dominican to clinch a medal at a world indoor championships. Her triumphant victory in the triple jump with a lifetime best and world-leading 15.01m showcased not only her exceptional talent but also the power of inspiration drawn from fellow Caribbean athlete Julien Alfred of St. Lucia.

The connection between these two neighboring nations, Dominica and St. Lucia, goes beyond geographical proximity, as they share cultural similarities that run deep. The impact of Julien Alfred's gold medal win in the 60m dash the previous night reverberated strongly for LaFond, eliciting emotional tears of joy.

"So Julien is from St Lucia, she is a neighboring country, Dominica. We share a lot of similarities cultural-wise, and I would be lying to you if I said I didn't cry last night (Saturday) when I saw her gold," LaFond expressed, reflecting on the profound connection that binds these two island nations.

Fuelled by the desire to replicate the success of her compatriot, LaFond reached out to her husband, Aaron, expressing her yearning for victory. His reassuring words became the catalyst for her exceptional performance, as she recalled, "I messaged Aaron, and I told him that I so desperately want this, I don't want to disappoint, and his words back to me were like, 'It's OK, it's your turn.'"

As LaFond stepped onto the track after the introductions, a powerful motivation fueled her. She envisioned a "1-2 punch for the Lesser Antilles islands," with Julien Alfred being the first punch the night before. Determined and inspired, she declared, "Let's do it. Let's do it."

The resonance of Julien Alfred's achievement echoed in LaFond's heart, transforming the competition into a celebration of the prowess of small Caribbean nations. "But it was amazing inspiration last night and filled me with such pride. And once again, these small countries doing such amazing things. And I knew St. Lucia was going to be so proud, and I wanted that same feeling for Dominica," LaFond shared.

Expressing her gratitude and congratulations to Julien Alfred, LaFond celebrated the shared success of their neighboring islands. "So, a huge thank you and congratulations to Julien Alfred for the inspiration late last night and of course that gold medal. Twinsies!" she exclaimed, celebrating the unique bond and collective triumph of the Caribbean athletes on the global stage.

Julien Alfred secured St Lucia’s first ever global gold medal, when she topped the women’s 60m final in a world lead equalling 6.98s, to fittingly bring the curtains down on day of the World Athletics Indoor Championships, in Glasgow, Scotland, on Saturday.

Alfred, who has a personal best of 6.94s, was always expected to continue her rich vein of form with a podium finish, but her gold medal prospects improved even more when her main rival Aleia Hobbs of the United States pulled out of the final with an injury.

Still, the 22-year-old Alfred showed her class, as she burst through the middle of Poland’s Ewa Swoboda (7.00s) and Italy’s Zaynab Dosso (7.05s), to finish tops.

"It feels good, I don't know how they are behaving right now, but I am sure they are happy. I have been working hard for such a long time to come out here and give my country their first ever gold medal and I am so happy, overwhelmed and ecstatic right now," Alfred said shortly after the race.

St Lucia’s Minister of Sport Kenson Casimir congratulated Alfred on the feat which has given the Eastern Caribbean Island much to celebrate.

“St Lucia's first ever global medallist in any sporting event and I think what makes it even more special is the fact that it is a gold medal at the World Indoor Championships. Of course, we are so proud, our entire nation is so proud. Of course, when you've won a medal, they say St Lucia wins it, so I can see every single individual really, really enjoying what we just witnessed today,” Casimir told SportsMax.TV.

“Of course, I want to say congratulations to her family, Julian is somebody from humble, humble, humble beginnings from Castries, St Lucia, and she's doing so well, and we just look forward to even bigger and better things later on this year at the Olympic Games,” he added.

On that note, Casimir declared his government’s intentions to continue throwing the necessary support behind Alfred as she continues to progress in her budding career.

“We certainly believe that there's more to come from Julien. She is young. She has worked really hard her entire life from coming from the Leon Hess comprehensive secondary school and going over to high school in Jamaica and then later on to Texas.

“She has really worked extremely hard and so as a government, we continue to put our resources behind her as she has transitioned so effectively into being a professional. And of course, with Coach Flo behind her from the University of Texas, we only expect bigger and better things from Julien Alfred,” he shared.

Earlier, Jamaica’s Rusheen McDonald clocked a new personal best 45.65s for bronze in the men’s 400m.

McDonald produced his usual late burst to secure his first ever indoor medal, and in the process became the first ever global male 400m medallist for coach Stephen Francis.

The event was won by Belgium’s Alexander Doom in a new national record 45.25s, ahead of World and Olympic 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm, who clocked a season’s best 45.34s.

McDonald's bronze is Jamaica's third at the Championships, as Ackeem Blake and Carey McLeod, also won bronze in the men's 60m and long jump respectively.

Jamaica’s Carey McLeod secured bronze in the men’s long jump final on day two of the World Athletics Indoor Championships, as Saturday’s morning session yielded mostly positive results for Caribbean athletes in Glasgow, Scotland.

McLeod, who just missed a medal at last year’s World Athletic Championships in Budapest, cut the sand at a new season’s best 8.21m. He placed behind Greece’s World Champion Miltiadis Tentoglou and Italy’s Mattia Furlani, who both leapt to a mark of 8.22m.

Another Jamaican, Tajay Gayle was sixth at 7.89m, while LaQuan Nairn of the Bahamas was 15th at 7.59m.

McLeod's medal is Jamaica's second at the Championship, adding to Ackeem Blake's bronze won in the men's 60m final on Friday.

On the track, St Lucia’s in-form sprinter Julien Alfred, Bahamian Anthonique Strachan, Barbadian Tristan Evelyn, as well as Jamaicans Briana Williams and Shashalee Forbes, all progressed to the women’s 60m semi-finals, after contrasting performances in their respective heats.

Alfred, 22, comfortably won her heat in 7.02s and headlines the qualifiers, as Strachan (7.24s), Williams (7.22s) and Forbes (7.17s), all placed second in their heats, while Evelyn (7.17s) was third in heat four.

Beyonce Defreitas (7.44s) of British Virgin Islands, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye, despite a season’s best 7.26s, failed to progress, as both placed fifth in their heats.

The women’s 60m semi-final and final is scheduled for Saturday’s evening session.

Elsewhere on the track, Jamaica’s Damion Thomas and Tyler Mason, both failed to progress in the men’s 60m hurdles, after both placed sixth in their respective heats in 7.73s and 7.86s.

Jamaica’s Natoya Goule-Toppin also missed out on a spot in the women’s 800m final, following a sixth-place finish in her semi-final race. Goule-Toppin stopped the clock in 2:01.41.

Meanwhile, Ken Mullings of the Bahamas, started the men’s Heptathlon on a positive note, as he placed third in his heat of the 60m dash in a personal best 6.83s.

Mullings also registered a new lifetime best of 7.69m when he placed fifth in the long jump, and that was followed by a heave of 14.49m in the shot pot. By virtue of those performances, the 26-year-old currently occupies third position on 2684 points, behind Switzerland’s Simon Ehammer (2800 points) and Estonia’s Johannes Erm (2739 points).

They still have the high jump, 60m hurdles, pole vault and 1,000m to come.

 On the Instagram biography of Julien Alfred, there are three lines. The first says ‘Athlete’. The second is the flag of Saint Lucia, while the third says ‘Romans 8:18’ – a verse from the bible that states our “present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”


At the age of 22, Alfred has already experienced her fair share of suffering, and indeed glory.


There was the loss of her father, Julian, when she was 12. There was moving away from home, to Jamaica, at just 14. There was the death last December of her old PE teacher, Simeon Stephen, who first discovered Alfred’s talent and convinced her to stay the course in athletics.


Then there is the glory.


Alfred is the reigning NCAA indoor champion over 60m and 200m, the reigning NCAA outdoor champion over 100m and 200m. She’s the 2023 Bowerman Award winner, the prize given to the outstanding collegiate track and field athlete each year. She’s the fastest woman in the world this year over 60m and 200m, which makes her a huge contender at next month’s World Athletics Indoor Championships Glasgow 24.


At this time of year, she knows all about the link between suffering and glory, given a key part of her preparation is the over-distance work that few sprinters enjoy.


“I never considered myself a 200m runner,” she says. “Only last year I got better at it because I dedicated myself to running it more with the longer workouts, which I hated before.”


They’re still not her favourite, though to strike gold in Glasgow she knows they’re essential. A few months ago, when they circled the event on her calendar, Alfred’s coach Edrick Floreal noted that the three rounds of the women’s 60m will take place on the same day.


“So being the fastest woman doesn’t play as much of a role as being the strongest woman,” he says. “Being able to run 22.2 and 22.1 (for 200m), you’re not going to die of fatigue. I need the athlete to be strong enough to replicate the same performance three times in a row.”

Saint Lucia – a Caribbean island with a population of about 180,000 people – has never won a medal at the World Indoors before, its best result being a fifth-place finish in the high jump for Levern Spencer in 2016. But Alfred looks poised to change that. She clocked a world-leading 6.99 to take victory at the Millrose Games in New York, a World Athletics IndoorTour Gold meeting, last Sunday. The run was even more impressive given her relatively sluggish start.

She didn’t have a time goal in mind that day, the objective being to “work on my start, my execution and transition.” How did that go? “I have to go back to my coach and see how I did,” she said. “I’m sure he will say it wasn’t good.”

Alfred was right.

“The start was awful,” says Floreal. “She kind of stood up, so it’s back to work on that, but I like where things are – the fact she can mess up the start and still have the strength to deal with the charge.”

In her first year as a professional, that ability to stay calm under pressure could prove a key one.

As Floreal explains: “It’s (about) handling that anxiety. That’s my job: to help her win the race from behind so she doesn’t feel like she has to have a good start. When they think, ‘I need to get a great start to get a medal,’ they put tonnes of pressure on themselves to get that and sometimes you’re stymied by that in the race. Now, I can have a s***ty start and still run 6.99 – that helps with confidence.”

Alfred has been working with Floreal since the start of 2019, when she enrolled at the University of Texas. They first met a few months before that, at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, where Alfred won silver in the 100m. Floreal was the reason she chose Texas.

“While I was in high school in Jamaica, I watched him coach Sydney (McLaughlin-Levrone), Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, he was also coaching Keni (Harrison) at the time,” says Alfred. “Seeing him have a huge amount of great athletes, I wanted to be with a coach like that.”

Alfred grew up in Castries, the capital city of Saint Lucia, and her sprint talent was first spotted at the age of “six or seven” as she raced around the courts at school. Stephen, her PE teacher, made her race against the boys – she won – and after that she joined an athletics club, working with coach Cuthbert Modeste. Her childhood hero was Usain Bolt, and Alfred dreamed of one day doing similar things on the track. But following the death of her father, she fell away from athletics. It was Stephen who brought her back. “He saw the potential in me,” she says.

In 2015, she moved to Jamaica to attend St Catherine High School, where she came under the guidance of coach Marlon Jones. From there it was on to Texas, where she took a big leap forward, lowering her 60m PB to 7.10 in 2020 at the age of 18. The following year was lost to injury, with Alfred forced to watch the Tokyo Olympic Games from afar. But she bounced back better than ever in 2022, lowering her 100m PB to 10.81 and winning the NCAA title.

A false start in the 100m semi-final at the World Championships in Oregon proved a costly mistake, one she’s yet to repeat. Last year, her star truly went supernova, with Alfred setting collegiate records to win the NCAA indoor 60m title in 6.94 and the 200m in 22.01, both times putting her second on the world all-time lists. With another dominant sprint double at the outdoor NCAA Championships last June – she won the 100m in 10.72 (2.3m/s) and 200m in 21.73 (2.5m/s) – she closed out a magnificent collegiate career, then signed a professional deal with Puma.

Her goal at last year’s World Championships was to win a medal, but she came up just short in Budapest, finishing fifth in the 100m and fourth in the 200m.

These days, athletics has her full-time focus, with Alfred putting her spare time to use by doing driving lessons. Since the autumn, she has trained alongside Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the 2019 world 200m champion, along with her long-time college teammate Rhasidat Adeleke of Ireland, the reigning NCAA 400m champion.

“It’s competitive, which makes it fun,” says Alfred. “Iron sharpens iron.”

Saint Lucia has never won an Olympic medal in any sport, and Alfred knows the hype is building as the Games approach. But the only pressure she feels is from within.

“I don’t really pay attention to the media but I do have a lot of supporters back home who give messages to my family and they transfer to me,” she says. “I definitely want a medal in Paris – a gold, silver or bronze in the 100m and 200m.”

 The path to an achievement like that is filled with hard work and tedious, painstaking repetition. In addition to her start, Alfred has been focusing on improving her strength and her technique. “Sometimes late in the races I use my shoulders too much,” she says.

It’s something Floreal drills into her at every workout. “The main thing is good mechanics, being able to hold that under fatigue,” he says.

Success at major championships also requires a strong mindset. What is Alfred like in that department?

“She’s fantastic,” says Floreal, who’s been highly impressed with how Alfred has handled the transition to the pro ranks. “It’s a difficult adjustment a lot of kids are not able to do; there’s a lot of people pulling at you.”

While she’s already donned her nation’s colours with pride on the global stage, the difference this year is that without an extensive NCAA schedule, she can give such championships her full focus. First up is Glasgow, then all roads lead to Paris. Saint Lucia might never have won a medal at those events, but Alfred isn’t concerned about the past, thinking only of the future.

“I’d love to be the first,” she says.

Julien Alfred’s transition to the professional ranks of track & field has gotten off to about as good a start as anyone could’ve ever imagined.

The 22-year-old St. Lucian standout, fresh off a dominant 2023 collegiate season for the Texas Longhorns that saw her claim the Bowerman award, has started the 2024 indoor season brilliantly.

Alfred, a 100m silver medallist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, opened her season with a pair of wins at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic in Albuquerque from February 2-3.

She first won the 200m on February 2 with a world leading 22.16, the fifth fastest indoor 200m time ever. Alfred also has the second fastest time ever with 22.01 done during her dominant 2023 season at Texas.

A day later, she won her heat of the 60m in 7.15 before returning to run 7.04 to win the final, a world-lead at the time.

At the Millrose Games on February 11, Alfred became the first woman to dip below the 7-second mark this season with a world-leading 6.99 for a dominant victory.

“I feel very pleased. I feel like I could’ve executed better but overall, I feel good. My body feels good and mentally I’m there,” Alfred said in a post-race interview.

She says that despite some difficulty having to adjust to a new routine, her transition from the collegiate ranks to the pro ranks has been smooth.

“Training has been really good. The fall was a bit difficult for me adjusting to having no school and no routine but I’m getting used to it now. I did take some time off and it was really needed so the transition has been really smooth,” she said.

Alfred is also joint-second on the all-time list in the 60m with 6.94, also done in 2023, and, after her performance on Sunday, feels like she is ready to challenge Irina Privalova’s world record 6.92 done all the way back in 1993.

“I feel really good about the performance to be honest and I really felt like I was ready to go after the world record but I’m just going to go out there and keep training and see what I can do at World Indoors,” she said.

The World Indoor Championships are set for March 1-3 in Glasgow and Alfred says that, despite some obvious goals for the upcoming outdoor season, this is all she is focused on right now.

“I’m just thinking about World Indoors and not down the line. When the time comes for that I’ll think about it but for now I’m taking it one race at a time,” she said.

When the time does come to move her focus to the Paris Olympics, Alfred says her goal is to be St. Lucia’s first ever Olympic medallist.

“I don’t have a time in mind at all but I definitely want to medal in Paris. That’s my biggest goal as of now. I’d be happy just to get a medal for my country because my country has never gotten a medal at the Olympics so I would love to be the first,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

Julien Alfred continued her show of force this indoor season on Sunday when she blazed to a world-leading time to win the 60m dash at the 2024 Millrose Games in New York. The 22-year-old St Lucian star sped to a time of 6.99 eclipsing the 7.01 run in Poland by Ewa Swoboda on February 6.

The time also a meet and facility record and further establishes Alfred position as being among the best of the world’s elite women sprinters. She is the first woman under seven seconds this indoor season after breaking the hallowed barrier three times last season during her final NCAA season.

There was daylight between Alfred and the in-form Shashalee Forbes of Jamaica, who was the runner-up in 7.14.

Destiny Smith-Barnett of the USA finished third in 7.16 while Briana Williams was fourth in 7.25.

Meanwhile, Christian Coleman of the USA won the men’s equivalent in 6.51 just managing to hold off Hakim Sani-Brown of Japan (6.54) and Akeem Blake of Jamaica, who overcame a poor start to finish third in 6.55.

Ryiem Forde of Jamaica was fourth in a personal best of 6.60.

Julien Alfred followed up her 200m victory at the New Mexico Collegiate Classic on Friday with a win in the 60m on day two on Saturday.

Alfred, who became the joint-second fastest in the event with her personal best 6.94 last season, ran 7.04 for victory ahead of Tennessee’s Jacious Sears (7.09) and San Diego State’s Hannah Waller (7.26).

The men’s 60m hurdles saw LSU Sophomore Jaheim Stern produce 7.71 to win ahead od Cal State Fullerton’s Abel Jordan (7.72) and LSU’s Matthew Sophia (7.73).

Lanae-Tava Thomas, who was third in the 200m on Friday, went one better in the 400m on Saturday. Her time in second was 51.67, a good distance behind winner Rhasidat Adeleke’s 51.12. Jamaican Texas sophomore Dejanea Oakley ran 52.23 for third.

In the field, Vincentian Georgia Senior Mickeisha Welcome jumped 13.52m for second in the women’s triple jump behind American Jasmine Moore (14.32m). Asia Phillips of Flying Angels International was third with 13.21m.

 

Julien Alfred, Wayne Pinnock and Ackelia Smith all produced world-leading marks in their respective events on day one of the University of New Mexico Collegiate Classic at the Albuquerque Convention Center on Friday.

Alfred, the winner of the 2023 Bowerman Award and a silver medallist at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham now training with Preeminence sports, produced a fast 22.16 to win the women’s 200m ahead of Tennessee’s Jacious Sears (22.57) and her training partner, Lanae-Tava Thomas (22.72).

Pinnock, who took silver at the World Championships in Budapest last year, produced 8.34m to take the win ahead of Isaac Grimes (7.74m) and Kelsey Daniel of Texas (7.63m).

The Arkansas Junior fouled his first attempt before producing his world-leading jump in the second round. The third round saw him leap out to 8.03m before passing on his final three jumps.

Reigning NCAA champion Ackelia Smith was equally dominant in the women’s equivalent producing 6.85m for victory. Stanford’s Alyssa Jones was second with 6.54m while Madisen Richards jumped 6.49m for third.

Smith had a very consistent card with distances of 6.61m, 6.44m, 6.76m, 6.85m and 6.70m in the first five rounds before passing on her sixth.

 

Saint Lucia’s double world finalist Julien Alfred got her season off to a strong start by running 22.28 to win the 200m at the Dr. Martin Luther King Collegiate Invitational in Albuquerque on Saturday (20).

The 22-year-old, who sits second on the world short track all-time list with the 22.01 she ran to win last year’s NCAA title, held off her training partner Rhasidat Adeleke who clocked 22.49. That was a second Irish record of the day for Adeleke, who had earlier improved her own 60m mark to 7.15 when winning the invitational race. She now sits second on the season top list behind Aleia Hobbs with 7.11.

Alfred, who is also the second-fastest woman of all-time over 60m, will race that shorter sprint at the Millrose Games – a World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting – in New York, where her competition will include Britain’s 2019 world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith.

Asher-Smith was also in action in Albuquerque on Saturday and she won the 300m in a national best of 36.77.

 

Julien Alfred, the second-fastest woman of all-time over 60m, will take on four Olympic medallists in the short sprint at the Millrose Games – a World Athletics Indoor Tour Gold meeting – in New York on 11 February.

The sprinter from St Lucia won the NCAA indoor title last year in a North American record of 6.94, just 0.02 shy of the long-standing world record. She also won the NCAA indoor 200m title in 22.01, which also moved her to second on the world indoor all-time list.

Outdoors, she went undefeated at 100m from April to August. Her first and only loss of the year came in the World Championships final, where she placed fifth. She went one better in the 200m, finishing fourth.

Alfred will take on a strong field that includes 2019 world 200m champion Dina Asher-Smith. The 28-year-old holds British records for 60m, 100m and 200m, and owns eight global medals as well as seven continental medals, four of them gold.

“The Millrose Games is one of the most prestigious and historic indoor competitions in the USA, and I am looking forward to racing there for the first time,” said Asher-Smith, who recently relocated to the US. “I am really enjoying my new training set up in Austin, and I’m looking forward to a big year in 2024.”

USA’s 2016 Olympic 4x100m champion English Gardner, winner of the 60m at the Millrose Games in 2019, will also be in the line-up, so too will Jamaica’s Briana Williams, who won Olympic 4x100m gold in 2021.

World indoor bronze medallist Marybeth Sant-Price, 2023 Millrose runner-up Tamari Davis, 2016 Olympic 4x100m silver medallist Shashalee Forbes and NACAC silver medallist Celera Barnes.

 

In a historic triumph for St. Lucia, Julien Alfred, representing the University of Texas in Austin, claimed the prestigious Bowerman Award last Thursday night in Denver, Colorado. The 22-year-old athlete's remarkable achievements has drawn praise from her country’s government, specifically from St. Lucia's Sports Minister, Kenson Joel Casimir, who expressed immense pride in her accomplishments.

The 22-year-old Alfred, in her senior year, contributed to five NCAA titles for the Longhorns, becoming the first female athlete to win the 60- and 200-metre indoor championships, along with the 100- and 200-metre outdoor crowns in the same year. She was also part of Texas winning the 4x100 relay at the Division 1 outdoor final, helping the Longhorns secure the women’s team title.

Alfred, who has since signed a professional contract with PUMA, set collegiate indoor records in the 60 at 6.94 and 200 by clocking 22.01, both the second-fastest times in history, at the Division 1 finals in Albuquerque. She also produced the fastest all-conditions outdoor marks in NCAA history, with wind-aided efforts of 10.72 in the 100 and 21.73 in the 200, in addition to contributing to the collegiate record of 41.55 in the 4x100, all at the NCAA championship on her home track at Mike A. Myers Stadium in Austin.

Minister Casimir, in an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV, commended Julien Alfred's dedication and hard work throughout her athletic journey, acknowledging her commitment to training and improvement from her days at the Leon Hess Comprehensive Secondary School to high school in Jamaica and finally to the University of Texas.

“The government of St Lucia is exceedingly happy with the achievement of Julien Alfred. Of course, it came through a lot of hard work on her part. I want to, as the Minister of Sports for St Lucia, congratulate Julien and her family first and foremost.

"We've known of her commitment towards training and improvement from a very young age, from her alma mater at the Leon Hess Comprehensive Secondary School all the way to Jamaica and over to Texas. And so we're very proud that she has made those strides as she continues to make St. Lucia proud," Minister Casimir remarked.

Highlighting the government's commitment to supporting its athletes, Minister Casimir outlined the specific measures taken to aid Julien Alfred in her athletic endeavors. He emphasized the groundbreaking decision to allocate a line item in the national budget to ensure comprehensive support for the athlete.

"The government of the St. Lucia Labour Party has ensured that we put our athletes first. And of course, this year, for our last budget, we took the position that we, for the first time in our history, have a line item specifically to ensure that an athlete was furnished with all that she needed to flourish."

Minister Casimir detailed the crucial steps taken to provide Julien Alfred with the necessary resources, including a diplomatic passport, a first in the nation's history. The minister underscored the significance of this decision, recognizing the challenges international athletes face in terms of travel and logistics.

"Never in our history was that done before, simply because we understood that an individual was going to do two-a-day training, calorie restriction in terms of her nutrition, mental training, and doing all of that, making all the sacrifices for her country, it would not be right for an international athlete of that level to have to stand up on the line to either get home or go anywhere in the world."

 

 

The government's support extended beyond paperwork, as Minister Casimir detailed financial assistance for psychosocial support, physiotherapy, and mental well-being. The comprehensive backing aimed to ease Julien Alfred's transition from a collegiate athlete to a professional.

"I, being a former athlete, would understand that there are certain things that you will just not be able to afford unless you get the support, especially when she was transitioning from a collegiate athlete over to a pro athlete. And so we made those things available to her readily."

Minister Casimir concluded with optimism for the future, stating, "We've seen the fruits of that and we are very proud of what she achieves and we looking forward to 2024 and, of course, we are just expecting bigger and better things from Julien Alfred."

Alfred represented St Lucia at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August. In her first-ever World Championship 100m finals, Alfred finished fifth in a time of 10.93. She was fourth in the 200m final in a handsome time of 22.05.

Alfred won a silver medal in the 100m at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England.

 

 

 

 

St Lucia's Julien Alfred made history on Thursday night by clinching the coveted 2023 Bowerman Award in Denver, Colorado, becoming the first athlete from St Lucia to win the prestigious award.

In the wake of that momentous occasion, President of the St Lucia Athletics Association, Brendaline Descartes, has commended the sprinter for her outstanding achievement.

In her senior year at the University of Texas in Austin, Alfred, contributed to five NCAA titles for the Longhorns, securing victories in the 60- and 200-m at the NCAA indoor championships and the 100- and 200m outdoor crowns in the same year. She also played a crucial role in Texas winning the 4x100 relay at the Division 1 outdoor final, contributing to the women's team title.

She also became the first female athlete to break the seven-second barrier in the 60m dash in the NCAA, a feat she accomplished three times culminating in a lifetime best of 6.94, the second fastest time in history. She also ran the second fastest time over 200m indoors, clocking an incredible 22.01. Only Merlene Ottey, who ran 21.87 in 1993 has run faster.

Alfred's win, alongside Jamaica's Jaydon Hibbert who secured the men's award, marked a significant Caribbean sweep of the prestigious accolade.

Descartes, elected as the president of the St Lucia Athletics Association in January, expressed her pride in Alfred's accomplishment and highlighted the broader significance for the sport and the country.

"Well, for me as president, it means that one, that this sport is growing and there is an opportunity for others to go out there and to also shine, but even more so for the country as well," Descartes stated.

"It means that there are no limits really. So beyond your shores, you can go out there and be somebody. You can go out there and stand tall. You could go out there and basically get the world to look in your direction," she added, emphasizing the transformative power of athletics on the global stage.

 

Descartes praised Julien Alfred's discipline and highlighted the athlete's calm demeanor, noting that Alfred's achievements were a result of meticulous preparation and focused expectations over the years.

"You could see her growth and her outstanding season. It's a testament to her winning this specialist award. So I think overall as a country, I think we are all very pleased that she has won this award, and of course, we support her wholeheartedly."

On behalf of the Saint Lucia Athletic Association, the sporting community in Saint Lucia, and the entire island, Descartes extended congratulations to Alfred and expressed continued support for her future endeavors.

"So all the best to Julien. And of course, again, it is an encouragement to all of us that yes, you can become something as long as you put your mind to it and you keep working hard at it."

Julien Alfred's historic win not only brings pride to St Lucia but serves as an inspiration for aspiring athletes in the Caribbean, showcasing that with dedication and hard work, they too can make a significant impact on the international stage.

 

In a monumental decision for her burgeoning athletic and academic career, 16-year-old sprint sensation Naomi London, a two-time Carifta Games silver medalist, has disclosed the compelling reasons behind her choice to attend the University of Texas in Austin next fall.

London, who clinched silver in both the 100m and 200m at the 2023 Carifta Games in the Bahamas, expresses her eagerness to follow in the footsteps of NCAA triple gold medalist Julien Alfred, drawing inspiration from the Commonwealth Games silver medalist and World Championships finalists’ success.

"The main reason why I was committed to Texas was because of the environment and Julien. I was inspired to, and I think that I'll be very comfortable and safe up there. The environment was just what I need," London shared in an exclusive interview with Sportsmax.TV.

Amidst other offers, Texas stood out as the ideal fit for the talented sprinter. "I did get other offers, but I declined them. So I was just mainly focused on Texas. The athletes are very fun to be around. It makes me want to push more because they're very supportive, and I came from a club that always wants to see you grow up. So having a mimic of that in Texas makes me feel at home, and the coach as well, in that he only wants the best for you."

Expressing her desire for a challenging yet supportive environment, London emphasizes the importance of pushing herself to the limits. "I want somebody to push me to my limits, and I think that's the best and right option that I should go for right now."

 

When questioned about her academic aspirations, London mentions she's still exploring options. "I have not decided what I'm going to study, but I'm working on ideas into what course I want to take."

London's commitment to Texas, however, extends beyond education, as she is driven by the ambition to become an Olympian and a World Champion. "I'm actually looking forward to being an Olympian and a World Champion as well. It's not only about the education. I mean, it is about the education, but there's a balance."

In her final season as a Longhorn, Alfred had one of the best NCAA Division 1 championships ever. She won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay which prompted her coach Eldrick Floreal to characterize her as the greatest sprinter in NCAA history.

Alfred's success at Texas has left an indelible mark on young St. Lucian sprinters, including London, and played a significant part in the teen’s decision to become a Longhorn. "It has influenced us a lot, especially me very much because Julien is a hard-looking individual that I really admire, which makes me want to push,” London said.

“She is the kindest person you could ever meet. I swear she's the kindest person you could ever meet if you actually meet her. She is dedicated. She is down to her work. She goes and gets what she wants."

With her own history in tow having been the first St Lucian to win a sprint medal at the Carifta Games, and inspired by her rising star compatriot in Alfred, London looks set to create her own legacy at the University of Texas and beyond.

“Having that and having seen that (Alfred’s success), just makes you want to look at, you know, do I actually want to do I really want to go through what she's gone through? Everybody has a different path.

“So it's not like I'm going to go through the same thing as her, but I know that there's something different out there for me. She has influenced me very much and I really appreciate that. I mean, I love Julian. We all do. She's been remarkable and watching her success over the years has inspired a lot of people.”

 

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