Two-time World 200m champion Shericka Jackson was pleased with her execution after finally kicking off her season in the half-lap event at the Rabat Diamond League on Sunday.

Jackson produced 22.82 to win ahead of Ivorian Maboundou Kone (22.96) and France’s Helene Parisot (23.02) in conditions she described as not ideal for fast sprinting.

“Felt good. I think I did pretty well tonight. Out here is a bit cold and windy but, nevertheless, I’m healthy and that’s good,” Jackson said in a post-race interview.

In addition to the weather, Jackson commented on the lack of fans in the stadium to give the athletes a boost, stating that it paled in comparison to last year’s edition of the meet.

“I was like ‘Oh My God!’ It’s one thing when out there is windy and cold and you don’t have much spectators to give you the boost and I think tonight wasn’t as good as last year where reception is concerned,” she said.

With it being her first 200m of the season, “execution” was Jackson’s response when asked what the focus of the race was.

“It’s my second race and first 200m of the season. I did not know what to expect. Coach and I were discussing a few things and I think we did pretty good tonight,” she said.

Jackson then said that she has a few more races scheduled before competing at Jamaica’s National Championships from June 27-30 at the National Stadium in Kingston.

“I have a few more races before trials. It’s a bit of a late start to the season but we have a few races to go so it’s just building from there. We’ll definitely peak at the right time,” she said.

Jackson will be looking to replicate her performance at last year’s national championships where she took the sprint double with times of 10.65, a personal best, and 21.71.

She also won the sprint double in 2022 with times of 10.77 and 21.55.

Shericka Jackson and Rushell Clayton showcased their class while being among the winners at Sunday’s Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco.

Jackson, who made her season debut in the 100m in Kingston on May 4 after a late start to her season, was not at her sharpest in Rabat but good enough to keep the field at bay as she sprinted to victory in 22.82 seconds while running into a headwind of -1.0m/s.

Maboundou Kone of the Ivory Coast was a close second in 22.96 with Helene Parisot of England in 23.02.

Earlier, Clayton was more impressive. Coming off an encouraging victory at the Jamaica Athletic Invitational on May 11 when she ran a world-leading 53.72, Clayton once again dominated the first 300m but was closed down by compatriot Shian Salmon along the home stretch. Still, she managed to hold on to win in 53.98. Salmon ran an enterprising race for second place clocking 54.27.

Anna Ryzhykova ran a commendable 55.09 for third place.

While fortune smiled on Jamaica’s women, the men were not as fortunate as Rohan Watson was edged out of a podium finish in the men’s 100m dash. The reigning Jamaican champion finished fifth in 10.26. He was credited with the same time as fourth-placed finisher Brandon Hicklin of the USA and was 0.01 behind Great Britain’s Jeremiah Azu, who took third in 10.25.

There was no doubt about the winner Emmanuel Eseme of Cameroon who crossed first in 10.11 with Canada’s Andre Degrasse finishing in second place in 10.19.

Yohan Blake ran a season’s best 10.41 while being eighth.

In the men’s discus, Travis Smikle once again exceeded 66m but missed out on a podium position. He finished fourth with his best throw of 66.03m. However, he was no match for winner Mykolas Anelka. The newly minted world record holder produced an impressive throw of 70.70m to win the contest.

Matthew Denny of Australia finished in the runner-up position with his throw of 67.74m. Olympic and World Champion Daniel Stahl threw 67.49m for third place.

Fedrick Dacres threw 65.05 for sixth place.

 

In every aspect of life, moments of triumph are often accompanied by tears of joy, and for Jamaican sprinter Krystal Sloley, achieving a massive personal best of 11.09 seconds was no exception. Immediately after she crossed the finish line in second position in the women’s 100m at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational, Sloley’s emotions overflowed, tears streaming down her face as she celebrated a milestone in her athletic journey.

Many might not understand why her accomplishment is such a big deal, but for Sloley, the road to get there has been marked by challenges, setbacks, and even self-doubt. But through it all, she remained steadfast in her pursuit of excellence.

In fact, it was only a week ago that Sloley lowered her personal best from 11.27s to 11.25s, which she took apart with the breathtaking performance behind Ivorian Marie-Josee Ta Lou-Smith, who opened her season with an impressive 10.91s clocking at the National Stadium, on Saturday.

“It hasn't been easy. It has been an uphill battle with my mental life and self-belief, even in warm up, I was just talking to myself, coaching myself, because my weakest point was my start and I knew that once I got that, the rest is history. I was not expecting such a fast time, maybe 11.1, but I am happy at the outcome,” Sloley said, her voice trembling with emotion.

“It was such a pleasure to feed off of the energy of Marie and the other runners. I knew it was a high-quality field, because I was originally supposed to run in the B final, and while warming up, I realized I was in the A final against the top ladies. I really wish I had more time to prepare myself mentally before I came out here physically, but it worked out for the best,” she added.

Sloley, who found her passion for track and field at Ardenne Preparatory, and later honed her craft at Campion College, recalled how her journey to the triumphant moment was filled with highs and lows, from gruelling training sessions to heartbreaking defeats. But with each setback, particularly now at the senior level at the University of Technology – where she is studying Architecture –she emerged stronger and more determined than ever, fuelled by a burning desire to prove herself on the world stage.

“It was definitely hard. I would be lying if I said it was easy in terms of how I endured the training sessions, because it's not just doing training sessions with MVP (Track Club), it's the fact that I have to strike a definitive balance between not just MVP’s gruelling training, but also architecture, and to me, I feel like that's two degrees,” Sloley said with a chuckle.

She continued: “Coming from such a rigorous academic program such as Campion and also doing track and field there, I found it manageable, and I feel like I excelled pretty well through the seven years doing both academic and track and field. But I knew that entering a new level of not just training, it's professional training, and not just regular school, it's university…It's my degree, I knew it would be a next step, but I never knew that the thread of that step would have been so steep.

“So, it was definitely hard. I remember countless times crying on the dorm floor, wondering how I'm going to manage to strike the balance at this level. Even before I started university, it was questionable whether or not I was going to actually stop track and field to pursue the degree and then continue after, but I must say, God carried me through and here I am now.”

As she reflected on her journey, the 22-year-old third-year student’s thoughts turned to her mother, whose unwavering support has been the driving force behind her pursuit of glory.

"My mother is my rock, my biggest inspiration. It’s like when the momentum on the swing drops, she's been that push that you need on your back to continue swinging. She has encouraged me through it all, even those questionable doubts that I had about whether to stop track and field or pursue school,” Sloley told SportsMax.TV.

“She's been my prayer warrior, so she has been behind me, beside me, pulling me, she's been that driving force for me, my biggest motivation. She never lived the life that she gave me, so that also motivates me to reward her for what she has done for me because I'm so grateful and thankful for her,” she shared.

Besides her new personal best clocking, Sloley described making Jamaica’s team to the 2019 NACAC Championships as her biggest accomplishment, and with the memory of that outing in Mexico still very much fresh on her mind, she now has her sights set on repeating the feat sooner rather than later.