World champions Thea LaFond and Marileidy Paulino were among the winners on day two of the USATF LA Grand Prix at the UCLA Drake Stadium on Saturday.

LaFond produced 14.37m in the fifth round to win ahead of Jamaican two-time World Championship silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts (14.36m) and American Tori Franklin (13.87m).

LaFond made history in March when she became the first Dominican to win gold at a World Athletics Championships. She produced a national record 15.01m to take top spot at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

Elsewhere on Saturday, reigning World 400m champion Marileidy Paulino remained unbeaten this season with 50.27 to win ahead of World 800m champion Mary Moraa (50.56) and American Alexis Holmes (50.73).

2011 World champion Kirani James was second in the men's equivalent in a season's best 44.85 behind American 2022 World champion Michael Norman Jr who won in 44.53. Vernon Norwood was third in 44.86.

World Championship finalist and world U-20 record holder Roshawn Clarke opened his season in the 400m hurdles with a respectable 48.11 to finish second behind American Rai Benjamin who ran a world leading 46.64. World Championship silver medallist Kyron McMaster was third in 48.51.

Andrenette Knight ran a season’s best 54.69 for second in the women’s equivalent behind American Anna Cockrell who ran a season’s best of her own with 53.75. Cassandra Tate was third in 55.02.

On Friday's day one, Jamaica's Roje Stona threw 66.93m to win the men's discus ahead of Chile's Claudio Romero (64.12m) and the USA's Brian Williams (63.36m).

The excitement is building for the inaugural Jamaica Athletics Invitational (JAI), set to take place at Kingston's National Stadium on May 11, 2024, with a stellar line-up of track and field stars ready to dazzle the crowds.

Among the highly anticipated events is the men's 110m hurdles, featuring Olympic champion Hansle Parchment and Commonwealth Games champion Rasheed Broadbell. They will be joined by standout American hurdler Daniel Roberts, promising a thrilling battle over the barriers.

In addition to the hurdles spectacle, the sprint events will showcase talents such as recently crowned World Indoor 60m champion Julien Alfred, making her return to Jamaica after her high school years. Joining her are international sensations like Great Britain's Dina Asher Smith and two-time world champion Abby Steiner, ensuring top-class competition on the track.

The men’s sprints is promising to equally captivating with Zharnel Hughes, Marvin Bracy, Trayvon Brommel, Abdul Hakim Sani-Brown and Fred Kerley confirmed for the meet.

The 400m races will see world championship gold medalist Alexis Holmes taking on Jamaican quarter-milers Charokee Young and Stacey-Ann Williams in the one-lap sprint, while Commonwealth Games medalist Matthew Hudson-Smith leads the men's charge.

Two-time world championship 400m hurdles bronze medallist Rushell Clayton will go to head to head with the outstanding Shamier Little while Pan American champion Jaheel Hyde will take on World Championship bronze medalist Kyron McMaster over the 400m hurdles.

Field events will be equally captivating, with Jamaican prodigy Jaydon Hibbert and Donald Scott confirmed for the triple jump. Two-time world championship silver medalist Shanieka Ricketts will clash with 2024 World Indoor Champion Thea Lafond of Dominica in the women's event.

Fedrick Dacres, the 2019 World Championship silver medalist, will add excitement to the men's discus event.

Ludlow Watts, chairman of the local organizing committee, emphasized the significance of the JAI in showcasing international talent in Jamaica. 

“Those who might have thought that the days of staging of international events by the JAAA are over you will now know we jus’ a come,” said Ludlow Watts, who is chairman of the local organizing committee. “JAI will feature 14 international events; 10 running events and four field events. The international segment will be held between 7:30 and 9:30 pm. There will also be a developmental segment between 6 and 6:30 pm. That segment is to provide opportunity for those who did not get into the main event.

"We want every Jamaican to be in the stadium. We would like a full cheering stadium."

Ticket prices have been designed to ensure that the National Stadium will be filled to capacity for the meet. As such finish-line tickets for the Grand Stand will be sold for JMD$3000 with seats in all other sections of the stand fetching a price of JMD$2500. The Bleacher seats will be free.

Tickets for the event will be available online from April 22 to May 4 and can be purchased at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston and the National Stadium Ticket Office from May 8 to 11.

 

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.

In a breathtaking and ground-breaking performance Thea LaFond won gold in the women’s triple jump at the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on Sunday.

The 29-year-old Dominican stunned her rivals and herself when she uncorked a remarkable world-leading 15.01m to win and become the first woman from the Caribbean to achieve that distance indoors and the first from Dominica to win a global gold medal.

LaFond, who achieved a lifetime best of 14.90m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest last year to finish fifth, uncorked her historic performance on her second attempt in Glasgow stunning the audience and her rivals. She stared at the mark in disbelief before shedding tears of joy in front of her husband and coach Aaron Gadson.

With the gold medal all but secured, LaFond passed on her remaining jumps but watched as Cuba’s Leyanis Perez Hernandez provided a scare when she unleashed a jump of 14.90m to claim the silver medal. The Cuban had a big jump on her final attempt but it was deemed a foul, which sent LaFond skipping away joyfully at winning her first-ever global championship.

Spain’s Ana Peleteiro-Compaore' won the bronze medal with her effort of 14.75m

Earlier, world-record holder Devynne Charlton easily advanced to the semi-final round of the 60m hurdles. The Bahamian barely broke a sweat in winning the third of the six heats in 7.93. Her compatriot Charisma Taylor also advanced one of the six fastest losers. Taylor was fourth her heat in 8.05.

Megan Tapper from Jamaica was an automatic qualifier after she was third in her heat in 8.05.

Jamaica ran well to advance to the final of the 4x00m relay. The quartet of Junelle Bromfield, Andrenette Knight, Charokee Young and Leah Anderson ran a season-best 3:27.35 to finish second, an automatic qualifying spot in the second of two heats that was won by Great Britain who ran a national record of 3:26.40.

Gold medal favourites, the Netherlands (3:27.70) and the USA (3:28.04) are also through to the final.

 

 

 

Dominican World Championship finalist Thea LaFond won Dominica’s lone Athletics medal at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile with bronze in the women’s triple jump on Thursday.

LaFond, who was fifth at the World Championships in Budapest with a personal best 14.90m, was one of only three athletes to jump further than 14m throughout the competition, with her best jump of 14.25m coming in the first round.

Cuba’s Liadagmis Povea produced 14.41m in the second round to take silver while her countrywoman and World Championships bronze medallist Leyanis Perez produced 14.75m in the third round to take gold.

 

 

Jamaica’s Shanieka Ricketts registered a new lifetime best of 15.01 metres to win the women’s triple jump, while Dominica’s Thea Lafond was third at the Diamond League meet in Brussels on Friday.

With World Champion Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela absent, silver medallist Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk of Ukraine and Ricketts were both heavily favoured to battle for top spot on this occasion and the manner in which they started, justified that much.

Both cut the sand at 14.30m on their first attempts, but Ricketts improved to 14.70m on her second attempt in a negative 0.2 metres per second wind reading, while Bekh-Romanchuk failed to register a mark.

Ricketts maintained her rhythm in the series and with it came the big personal best of 15.01m on her third attempt, as she bettered her previous best of 14.98m which was set in Doha in 2021.

Though she skipped the fourth and fifth attempts and fouled on the sixth and final jump, the 31-year-old Ricketts, who was fourth at the World Championships in Hungary, had done enough to top the podium, as Bekh-Romanchuk’s next best efforts of 14.56m and 14.57m, came on her last two attempts.

Lafond’s best effort of 14.49m which came on her third attempt, secured her the third-place finish, while Kimberly Williams, the other Jamaican in the event, placed fifth with a best mark of 13.96m.

As the 2023 track and field season draws near to a close, Caribbean athletes continued to showcase their excellence at the in Europe where sprinters Natasha Morrison and Oblique Seville emerged victorious in the 100m dash while Rusheen McDonald topped the podium in the 400m dash at the 2023 Palio Citta' della Quercia Rovereto in Italy on Wednesday.

During the entertaining meet, Shanieka Ricketts also produced a near-season-best effort to win the women’s triple jump over fellow Caribbean star Thea LaFond.

Morrison, a member of Jamaica’s silver medal winning 4x100m relay at the recent World Athletics Championships in Budapest, won a closely contested 100m dash in a new meet record of 11.00. She managed to outlast Americans Twanisha Terry, who clocked in at 11.06 for second place with Gina Bass of Gambia close behind in 11.08.

Briana Williams was fifth in 11.22.

Seville won the men’s equivalent in 10 seconds flat over Kenya’s Ferdinand Omanyala, who ran 10.15. Mouhamadou Fall of France was a close third in 10.22. Michael Campbell finished fourth in 10.29 with Jamaican champion Rohan Watson farther back in seventh in a time of 10.45.

Rusheen McDonald, the fastest Jamaica in the 400m this year at 44.03, won the 400m in a close finish with Germany’s Manuel Sanders. The Jamaican ran 45.46 while just managing to hold off the German, who a metre behind in 45.53.

South Africa’s Zakithi Nene was not far behind in third in 45.69.

The women’s triple jump featured Ricketts and LaFond, who produced season bests 14.93 and 14.90 for were fourth and fifth, respectively, at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. They went at it again in Rovereto with the Jamaican once again coming out ahead.

She produced a jump of 14.92m to take victory with the Dominican darling finishing second with a 14.67m effort.

The two women were miles ahead of the rest of the field as Dovile Kilty finished third with a season-best 14.04m.

Amoi Brown ran 12.85 to finish second in the 100m hurdles. Ireland’s Sarah Lavin claimed victory in 12.76 with Taliyah Brooks of the USA taking third in 12.91.

 

 

 

Dominica's Thea LaFond made her mark on history during the fiercely contested women's triple jump at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Despite finishing fifth, LaFond's performance was nothing short of remarkable, as she broke her own national record not once, but twice during the competition, with jumps of 14.71m and 14.90m. These marks would have secured her a medal in most world championships, highlighting the level of competition she faced.

 The women's triple jump event was a showcase of unparalleled athleticism and grit, with Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela securing her fourth world title with a leap of 15.08m on her final jump. The competition was defined by its intensity, with Rojas narrowly making the final round of jumps after initially being tied for eighth. Ukraine's Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk clinched the silver medal with a season's best of 15.00m, while Cuba's Leyanis Perez-Hernandez secured the bronze with a jump of 14.96m.

 Jamaica's Shanieka Ricketts, a two-time world championship silver medalist, claimed fourth place with a season's best of 14.93m, while Cuba's Liadagmis Povea's best effort of 14.87m placed her in sixth position in the closely contested contest.

 Reflecting on her remarkable journey, LaFond expressed the historic significance of the event.

 "So the competition was really, honestly like history making, to be honest. I mean, you're talking about probably the hardest women's triple term final in the history of the World Championships and it was it was a battle and I'm happy to be part of it and as happy as able to fight, but it was definitely a battle," she said.

 LaFond acknowledged the work she had put in to refine her technique leading up to the event.

 "Earlier this year we did talk about working on different parts of the phases and to the question of did it all come together at the right time, honestly, no. I mean that 1490 was not a perfect jump. It was far from it, which only tells me that there's more left in the tank and I'm excited to see what comes next," she told Sportsmax.TV.

 While her performance would have secured a medal in most years, LaFond faced the challenge of competing in a highly competitive field. "To be honest, 14.90m would have won a medal any year and it's like it's definitely frustrating, you know, but it is quite an honor to be competing in the sport at the height of the sport, truly. But yeah, it's a tough reality."

LaFond candidly expressed her feelings about the thrilling finale of the competition, where Rojas clinched victory with her final jump.

 "It was definitely, I don't even know if the word is deflating. It was just kind of annoying," she confessed. "She was definitely the most vulnerable she's ever looked in the competition, definitely in any major championships, but definitely not deflating. Annoying definitely, but there's nothing deflating over here."

 Amidst the intense competition and emotions, LaFond highlighted the remarkable progression of the sport.

 "Six women over 14.80m. That just means that our sport is getting insane and we're definitely pushing the limits to what people even thought the sport could be," she said.

"And to see so many women, so, so many minority women at that, I'm at the top of the sport. It's really a great feeling. And I really hope that you know, other, you know, little brown girls around the world are finding inspiration through what we do."

 

 

 

It was heartbreak for the Caribbean which ended outside of the medals in a scintillating women’s triple jump competition that was worth savouring at the World Athletic Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Friday.

While Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas (15.08m) secured a fourth-consecutive World title ahead of Ukraine’s Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk (15.00m) and Cuban Leyanis Perez Hernandez (14.96m), Jamaica's duo of Shaneika Ricketts and Kimberly Williams, as well as Dominican Thea Lafond, were left empty handed. 

Ricketts (14.92m) and Lafond (14.90m), in particular, would have felt hard done, as their marks which were a season’s best and National Record, respectively, were not good enough on the day. Williams was seventh with a best jump of 14.38m.

There was an electrifying start to the event with the first four jumpers setting the tone for what was to come for the remainder of the event.

Ricketts opened at an initial season’s best 14.86m and Ukraine’s Bekh-Romanchuk, also opened at a season’s best 15.00m, while Cuba’s Perez Hernandez opened at 14.96m and Lafond rewriting Dominica’s National Record with a 14.71m leap to start.

That bettered the 14.62m Lafond achieved in qualifying.

As the competition progressed, the medal places continually switched hands with the women laying down marker after marker, with the Dominican and Jamaican going even further on their initial efforts. 

However, it was Rojas, like a true champion that shook off a shaky start to her series to cut the sand at the winning mark on her very last attempt.

Shanieka Ricketts and Kimberly Williams advanced to the finals of the Women’s Triple Jump during the evening session of the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday. However, Jamaica’s third entrant Ackelia Smith fell short of the qualification standard and did not make it into the final.

Meanwhile, Dominica’s Thea LaFond also advanced with a record-setting performance as well as three-time world champion Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela.

Ricketts, the two-time World Championships silver medalist produced a season’s best effort of 14.67m, which is the best mark heading into the finals. LaFond was not far behind with her mark of 14.62, a new national record. Williams, who has been struggling for form this season, also produced a season’s best 14.30m to make it into the finals.

Rojas, who is going for her fourth title, just did enough to qualify. The world record holder bounded to a mark of 14.59m with medal contender Maryna Bekh-Romanchuk also through with her qualifying effort of 14.55m.

The in-form Leyanis Perez Fernandez of Cuba, whose mark of 14.98m is the second best in the world this year, soared out to 14.50m to book her spot. Jasmine Moore (14.13m) and Tori Franklin (14.13m) are also through.

Ackelia Smith’s best jump of 13.95m was 17th best overall and so she misses out on the finals set for Friday.

Zharnel Hughes sent shockwaves through the track and field world on Saturday when he sped to a personal best, world lead and British record 9.83 to take the win in the Men’s 100m at the USATF NYC Grand Prix at the Icahn Stadium.

The Anguilla-born Hughes, who currently trains under legendary coach Glen Mills at the Racers Track Club in Jamaica, recovered after being left at the start by Jamaica’s Akeem Blake and the USA’s Christian Coleman to obliterate his previous personal best of 9.91 done five years ago in Jamaica. Blake ran 9.93 for second while Coleman was third in 10.02.

Hughes, a former Class 1 100m record holder at the ISSA Boys & Girls Championships where he competed for Kingston College in 2014, broke the previous British record of 9.87, set by Jamaican-born Olympic and World Champion, Linford Christie, back in 1993.

In the Women’s equivalent, Aleia Hobbs was the only athlete to break 11 seconds, running 10.98 for victory.

Jamaica’s Briana Williams got her customary bullet start and was able to maintain her form and composure to run a season’s best equaling 11.04 in second while defending US champion, Melissa Jefferson, ran a season’s best 11.06 for third.

Jamaica’s Zandrion Barnes ran 45.05 to take the win in the Men’s 400m ahead of Matthew Boling (45.58) and Trevor Stewart (45.85).

The women’s equivalent was won by American 400m hurdles world record holder, Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, in a personal best 49.51 ahead of teammate Gabby Thomas (50.29) and Jamaica’s Charokee Young (51.02).

2015 World Champion Danielle Williams was third in the 100m hurdles. In a race aided by a 2.8 m/s wind, American former world record holder, Kendra Harrison, ran 12.29 for victory finishing narrowly ahead of Alaysha Johnson (12.30) and Williams (12.33). Olympic bronze medallist, Megan Tapper, was fifth in 12.68.

18-year-old Surinamese phenom, Issam Assinga, ran 20.25 for second in the Men’s 200m behind World Champion, Noah Lyles, who ran 19.83 for the win. The USA’s Elijah Morrow ran 20.30 for third. With that time, Lyles has now tied double sprint world record holder, Usain Bolt, for the most sub-20 times in the 200m with 34.

In the field, Dominican Commonwealth Games silver medalist, Thea Lafond, produced 14.47m to win the Women’s triple jump ahead of the USA’s Kenturah Orji (14.30m) and Canada’s Caroline Erhardt (13.80m).

Traves Smikle threw 65.36m to take the discus crown ahead of Samoa’s Alex Rose (64.63m) and Jamaica’s Kai Chang (63.17m).

2019 World Championship silver medalist, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, threw 19.38m for second in the Women’s shot put behind American world leader Maggie Ewen (19.68m). Chase Ealey threw 19.25m for third.

Jamaica’s Kimberly Williamson cleared 1.83m for second in the Women’s high jump behind the USA’s Vashti Cunningham (1.95m). Jelena Rowe cleared 1.79m for third.

 

Shericka Jackson and Noah Lyles unleashed jaw-dropping runs at the National Stadium in Kingston on Saturday night during the revival of the Racers Grand Prix where world-record holder Wayde van Niekerk set a new stadium record in the 400m and Tyler Mason electrified the thousands who braved the heavy rain that threatened to dampen proceedings.

Earlier, on Saturday afternoon, Jackson, the World 200m champion, wrote in her notebook that she wanted to run between 10.75 and 10.78 in the 100m later that evening. She duly delivered speeding to a season-best 10.78 to win the race by some distance over the ever-improving Anthonique Strachan, who ran a season-best 10.99.

Sasha Lee Forbes, who ran a lifetime best of 10.98 in Bermuda on May 21, produced another solid performance while finishing third in 11.07, her second fastest time ever.

The withdrawal of Oblique Seville and Ackeem Blake from the men’s 100m final, took much of the sheen off what was expected to be a barn-burner that also featured American Christian Coleman. Nonetheless, the race delivered an exciting finish with the American holding off the challenge of Kadrian Goldson, who produced a lifetime best of 10.08 for second place.

Emmanuel Archibald of Guyana ran 10.23 to take the final podium spot.

The ‘B’ finals were also good value for money.

In September 2017, 20-year-old Michael Campbell suffered life-threatening injuries in a motor-vehicle accident that claimed the life of his friend and fellow athlete Jordon Scott. That same year, Campbell, a promising young prospect ran a lifetime best of 10.07 at a meet in Kingston.

On Saturday night, almost six years later, Campbell was back to his best winning the 100m in a season-best 10.08. He pumped his fist in elation when he looked across at the clock and noticed the winning time that had him well clear of Tyquendo Tracey, who ran 10.26 for second place and Kuron Griffith of Barbados, who ran a personal best of 10.30.

Remona Burchell, 2014 NCAA champion, clocked a season-best 11.17 to win the women’s race ahead of a fast-finishing Tia Clayton, who delivered a personal best of 11.23 and Briana Williams, who finished third in 11.30.

Lyles promised to do something special in Jamaica and he delivered. The super-confident American scorched the damp track to win in a meet record 19.67. Zharnel Hughes finished second in 20.14 while Rasheed Dwyer clocked a season’s best time of 20.53 for third.

The last time Wayde van Niekerk was in Jamaica, it was in 2017 to honour the retirement of his friend Usain Bolt, who had announced that he would walk away from her stellar career that year after a decade of dominance.

Later that same year, during a charity rugby match, the Olympic champion and world-record holder tore both the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus cartilage in his right leg bringing his track career to a screaming stop.

The past few years saw him struggle to regain the form that made him one of the best quarter-milers in history. By all indications, he is now back near to his best. After a 44.17 season best at the South African Championships in April, the now 30-year-old sprinter cruised to victory in 44.21, a new meet record.

Zandrian Barnes finished second in a new lifetime best of 44.90, making him the third Jamaican to break 45 seconds this season. Jamaica’s national record holder, Rusheen McDonald was third in 45.24.

Antonio Watson was the second Jamaican to break 45 seconds this season when he won the ‘B’ final in a lifetime best of 44.75 that had the thousands in attendance cheering wildly.

Promising 400m hurdler Roshawn Clarke also ran a lifetime best of 45.24 for second place with Assinie Wilson finishing third also in a personal best of 45.51.

Charokee Young took control of the women’s race with about 120m to go and held off a strong field to win in 51.10 over Stacey-Ann Williams who ran a decent 51.34 for second place. The USA’s Kendall Ellis was third in a season-best 51.37.

Tobi Amusan arrived in Jamaica coming off a disappointing last-place finish in the 100m hurdles at the LA Grand Prix a week ago. The 12.69 she ran then was well off the Nigerian’s world record of 12.12 set in Eugene, Oregon last year. However, a week later she was much better, hurdling to victory in 12.57, a season’s best time and a marked improvement over a week ago.

Tia Jones, the 2018 World U20 champion, finished second in 12.72 while holding off Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper, who finished third in 12.80.

The 110m further confirmed the resurrection of the career of Tyler Mason, the once promising Jamaica College high school hurdler. After running 13.32 in Costa Rica in 2015, Mason, because of injury and poor form, struggled to fulfill his immense potential and many pundits saw his career as being on life support, especially after a season-best 14.12 in 2021.

There were signs of life in 2022 when he ran 13.34 in Tennessee and again earlier this year when he ran 13.32 at the National Stadium in April. On Saturday night, the 27-year-old Mason, told the world that news of his career’s demise were greatly exaggerated when he ran a slightly wind-aided 13.14 (2.3m/s) to win a close race over Orlando Bennett (13.18) and Damion Thomas 13.29.

Shian Salmon was impressive in victory to open proceedings in the 400m hurdles, winning in 55.10 over Rhonda Whyte 55.55 and Cassandra Tate of the USA, who took third in 55.62.

Two-time World Championships silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts won the triple jump over rival and friend Thea LaFond of Dominica in less than ideal conditions. The cool temperatures and negative headwind notwithstanding, Ricketts’ 14.32m to was enough to secure the victory ahead of LaFond’s 14.15m.

Imani Oliver of the USA could only muster 12.97m for third place.

Samoa’s Alex Rose won the men’s discus with a throw of 65.86m with Traves Smikle taking second place with 65.15m. Kai Change threw 63.19m for third place.

Lushane Wilson cleared 2.20m to win the high jump over Raymond Richards (2.15m) and Christoff Bryan (2.10m).

 

 

 

 

Thea LaFond is gearing up for another successful season after achieving remarkable success last year. LaFond, who is based in Ashburn, Virginia, is excited to see how her hard work during the offseason will translate into her performances this year.

The year 2022 was a massive one for the 29-year-old LaFond, who won gold at the NACAC Championships in The Bahamas and a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games Birmingham, England. She was also fifth in the finals at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. However, with that success she has no intention of resting on her laurels as the 2023 season continues to unfold.

"Last season's medals were truly an amazing experience," she told Sportsmax.TV. "To build on last year's success, I have gotten stronger and faster, and I'm eager to see how that translates through the season."

LaFond has set her sights on achieving a jump of 15m or more this year.

"15m plus is definitely one of the major goals for championships and beyond," she said. "This season, we are really focused on upping the energy and working on timing up the phases a bit better for even bigger and active contacts in the jumps."

Despite fierce competition from the imperious Venezuelan triple jumper, three-time world champion Yulimar Rojas, the current world record holder, who has dominated the event in recent years, LaFond maintains a positive mindset.

"I think that my mentality is that I am always battling it out for three medals. Always," said LaFond. "Rojas is very good, there is no denying that, but anything can happen at any meet. Coming into a competition with anything less of that mentality is setting yourself up for failure. I'm bringing my best and trying to win."

Despite the hard work put in during the off season, her indoor season-opener of 14.08m at the Don Kirby Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico was less than impressive but being a quick study, she made the necessary adjustments and did much better shortly thereafter popping a 14.60m jump. She cited approach issues for the relatively poor opener.

"One of the major takeaways was to be patient in my drive phase and to bring my knee higher so I'm not getting over-rotated in my second phase," said LaFond who is set to compete next in May at a meet in Savona, Italy.

She acknowledges the impact her recent success has had on the youth of Dominica and is grateful for their support.

“The Commonwealth and NACAC medals were received with such joy in Dominica. I think that as an athlete that lives and trains abroad, I’m really only privy to what people say online,” she said.

“I was grateful for the online posts of love and support that followed those medals. However, when I finally got to go home the love was overflowing. I really had no clue how much I impacted the youth of Dominica and how much I was seen as an inspiration. I am so grateful to have the support of my people and it is always an honor to represent my nation.”

 LaFond is also focused on the upcoming World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, with her coach Aaron Gadson. "My plans for Budapest are to go and compete with all my heart. The goal is a medal and 15m. It's time for Dominica to have a woman World medalist, and I'm ready to do the work to get there," she said.

There were victories for Tajay Gayle and Shanieka Ricketts at the XXXV Meeting Citta di Padova in Italy on Sunday.

Dominica’s Thea LaFond is the 2022 women’s triple jump champion after she jumped 14.49m on her final jump to win the event on the final day of the NACAC Senior Championships in The Bahamas on Sunday.

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