Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

In a dazzling display of speed, Brianna Lyston claimed the 60-metre title at the 2024 NCAA National Division 1 Indoor Championships, setting an LSU record with a lightning-fast time of 7.03 seconds at the Track at New Balance in Boston. This victory not only marked a personal triumph for the sophomore sprinter but also positioned her as the second-fastest collegiate sprinter in history, just behind the previous year's Bowerman winner, Julien Alfred.

Amid the pulsating atmosphere of triumph, Brianna's immediate reaction spoke volumes about the significance of her achievement. "You know, everything clicked at the right time. I feel so full; I have nerves all over. I'm shaking. I don't know how to, like, embrace it or show it, but just know I'm happy," she shared, capturing the raw emotion of the moment.

Having overcome the adversity of missing the previous year, Lyston expressed the meaningful nature of her victory. "The pieces came together, you know, and that my hard work and practices paying off. It's just for me now to transition from indoor to outdoor, see if I could better my 100m times and my 200 times and help my team score some points," said Lyston, who became LSU’s first women’s indoor champion since Aleia Hobbs in 2018.

As questions turned to her consistent performance throughout the season, Brianna delved into the inner doubts that accompany every athlete. "Regardless of me coming out here running fast times, it still has me nervous for the next race. Like what am I going to do? Is everything going to push forward, am I going to go backward? You know, there are some questions there, but you just have to trust yourself in your program and your coach. You just have to talk with your coach."

The rising star's connection to the legacy of Jamaican women in sprinting was not lost on her. With a sense of pride, she declared, "It's all about pride. To be honest, I think pride pushes you to just carry the legacy of your country’s name or your school name or everything. I just want to be in the conversation. I just want to be one of them."

Reigning Olympic 110m hurdles gold medalist Hansle Parchment has hinted that the upcoming Paris Olympics in 2024 could signal the beginning of the end of his illustrious athletics career. The 33-year-old, who stunned the world with his gold medal victory at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, shared his sentiments with Sportsmax.TV on Wednesday night, expressing uncertainty about committing to another four-year cycle.

"I’m not sure I want to go another four years; that’s a lot of time and a lot of hurdling, and hurdling is a little bit more taxing on the body than normal running, so I will see what the body has to offer. I’m trying to take the best care of myself to make sure that I can put my best foot forward each time," Parchment disclosed.

Despite contemplating the potential conclusion of his competitive journey, Parchment affirmed his commitment to maintaining his current training regimen. Adopting a laid-back Jamaican perspective, he humorously stated, "Well, dem say if it no bruk down, you nuh have to fix it. I intend to do the same things that helped me in previous years, so it’s just a matter of trying to put all of that together and get everything to work how it is supposed to work and giving my best each time I go out."

Reflecting on his performance at the World Championships in Budapest last year, where he secured the silver medal behind American rival Grant Holloway, Parchment admitted he was not at his best. However, he rebounded admirably, achieving a lifetime best of 12.93 weeks later to claim the Diamond League title.

For Parchment, hitting his peak at the right time in Paris is a paramount focus for the upcoming season. While he acknowledged the timing issue in 2023, he remains optimistic about refining his approach.

"Probably slightly. I would have hoped to be a little bit sharper a little earlier, but I am not upset. I am thankful that I could get a PR so long after running 12 several years ago, so hopefully, I get it a little closer this year," he commented.

As he gears up for the 2024 campaign, Parchment plans to open his season next month before embarking on the Diamond League circuit set to commence in the latter part of April.

Tokyo Olympics relay gold medalist Briana Williams is set to make waves this year as she gears up for an ambitious dual challenge – competing in both the 100m and 200m events. Speaking with Sportsmax.TV at the launch of the 2024 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships at the National Stadium in Kingston on Wednesday, Williams shared her plans for what she considers a pivotal year in her burgeoning career.

"This year is a very big year. I owe myself a lot. I am not thinking about what the crowd or people have to say; I'm doing it for me,” expressed Williams who has had to face her fair share of public criticism in recent times.

“I am doing this to raise the flag of Jamaica in Paris, and I am really focused on this year, doing everything I can to just give myself the glory and to fulfill the dream that I have had since I was little – to be in Paris. I really want to make myself, my mother, my family, my coaches, and Jamaica proud. I really owe it to myself, and I feel like I can do it."

At the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland that concluded last weekend, Williams produced times of 7.22 and 7.19, which saw her bow out at the semi-finals, a step back from her 2022 campaign in Belgrade where she was fifth in the finals in a lifetime best of 7.04.

Williams emphasized that she is not overly concerned about what happened in Glasgow as her primary focus this year is on returning to her best form in the 200m. Reflecting on her indoor achievements, she explained, “I wasn’t really preparing for World Indoors. I am opening up next week in the 200m (Velocity Fest) and I really want to focus on that this year because the 200 holds a special place in my heart because I feel like the last time I had a great 200m was in 2018 and that was when I really fell in love with it so I want to pick up back from there and continue to excel in the 200m.”

At the World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, Williams won both the 100m and 200m, the latter in what was then a championship record of 22.50, which still remains a lifetime best for the soon-to-be 22-year-old.

To achieve her goals this year, Williams said she is also honing in ramping up her fitness.

"I am focusing on toning my body this year and being in the best shape of my life. It's not going to happen overnight, but I have been seeing the progress, and so we are just focusing on speed now, running these races and winning," she affirmed confidently.

 The air at the National Stadium in Kingston was thick with anticipation as the 2024 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships approaches. However, there was a sombre note underlying the excitement—the absence of the revered journalist, analyst, and author, Hubert Lawrence, whose insights and analyses had become synonymous with the prestigious high school track and field meet.

Lawrence, who had spent decades unraveling the intricacies of track and field, providing context and depth to the exhilarating performances witnessed at the championships, passed away at his St. Catherine home on the evening of February 23, 2024. As the sporting community mourns the loss of this Jamaican legend, the organizers of the event are planning a fitting tribute to honour Lawrence's indelible contributions.

The announcement of this pending tribute was made by Don Webhy, CEO of the GraceKennedy Group, during the launch of the 2024 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships. Addressing the gathering on Wednesday night, Webhy spoke of the void left by Lawrence's recent passing and the unique presence he brought to the world of athletics.

"This morning (Wednesday) I had a discussion with the ISSA (Inter-Secondary School Sports Association) President Keith Wellington, and I (told) Keith that GraceKennedy would like to honour Hubert at Champs. He assured me that he would engage Hubert’s family and my GraceKennedy team to develop a fitting tribute to Hubert Lawrence. I am confident Keith and my colleagues that an announcement will be made very shortly in terms of how we can honour his memory," expressed Webby.

The sentiment of honouring Lawrence's legacy echoed throughout the evening, with ISSA President Wellington and Olympian Vilma Charlton, speaking on behalf of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) president Garth Gayle all paying tribute to the late journalist.

The most poignant tribute came from Dr. Claire Clarke-Grant, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Broadcast and Content Services at the RJR Group. For the past decade, the RJR Group had been broadcasting the Championships across all their platforms, with Lawrence's analyses enriching their coverage.

“Lawrence’s analysis and unique perspective enriched our broadcasts and touched the lives of countless viewers and listeners. It’s probably not measurable, but I would like us all to think about the broadcasts that we have watched and listened to Hubert, how much he has taught the Jamaican audience what track and field is about, what track and field means to schools, to communities, to families,” shared Dr. Clarke-Grant, who had also been Lawrence's schoolmate at St Jago High School.

As the specter of Lawrence's absence looms over the upcoming Championships, Dr. Clarke-Grant emphasized the significant impact he had made, leaving an everlasting legacy that would guide and illuminate the world of track and field for years to come.

“We will miss his presence dearly, and his legacy will forever remain a guiding light for all of us at Television Jamaica, but for all of us who are connoisseurs of track and field who love the sport, who will remember the experiences that we had as we heard his voice doing commentary and analysis,” she concluded, reflecting the collective sentiment of a community mourning the loss of a true icon.

 In an unexpected twist at the Slingerz FC training ground this week, popular Jamaican dancehall entertainer Jahshii took to the football field to engage in a spirited training session with the club's players, leaving an indelible mark on both the team and coaching staff.

The collaboration took place on Monday as part of Jashii's extended stay in Guyana to support the football team during their KFC Elite League match against Fruta Conquerors on Tuesday night. Slingerz defeated Fruta Conquerors 4-1 in another dominant performance under Coach Alex Thomas with Jahshii looking on from the sidelines.

Jahshii, who had previously performed alongside fellow entertainers Masicka and Guyana's Bnick at the Slingerz Westside Mashramani Weekend Celebration at the Leonora Stadium on Saturday, decided to prolong his stay to witness the football team in action.

Under the watchful eye of their newly appointed head coach, the dancehall artist actively participated in the training session and engaged the players in conversation, leaving a lasting impression on everyone involved.

Javed Ali, the President of Slingerz FC, expressed his elation at having Jahshii join their training session, highlighting the positive impact on the players and the club's connection to the reggae and dancehall culture.

"We were elated to have Jahshii train with our club. The intensity of the training session showed that the players enjoyed him being there and they were impressed by his footballing abilities," said Ali. "Having such a popular and trending artiste visit the club helps motivate the players, so they understand that they can make it to the very top if they believe in themselves and show the required commitment to their craft."

Ali emphasized the importance of Jahshii's presence in inspiring the players and fostering a connection between music and football within the Slingerz FC community. "Jahshii helped us tremendously in this regard since his music is popular in our dressing room. He was willing to come train and speak to the players, and it was important for us," Ali added.

Coach Alex Thomas echoed Ali's sentiments, describing Jahshii's involvement as a significant boost for both himself and the players. "To see this icon from Jamaica helps a lot. It was a big boost in the little time he was there, and we encourage more of this," remarked Thomas. He emphasized the positive impact on the mental aspects of the players' game, boosting their confidence by witnessing Jahshii up close and personal during the training session.

"For me, when Jahshii joined the practice, that was a big boost, not only for me but also the players and the club. The players accepted him with a warm welcome," Thomas added. "Jahshii training with the club helps boost the mental aspects of their game, their confidence. To see this person, close up and personal training with us; someone they only see on stage or on TV, was a great boost for us."

 

 

 In a thrilling display of dominance, Slingerz FC secured a resounding 4-1 victory over Fruta Conquerors in the second week of action in Guyana's KFC Elite League. The match, which unfolded on Tuesday night at the National Training Centre, was another demonstration of the prowess and potential of Slingerz FC, but coach Alex Thomas insists that his team has yet to hit their peak.

Darren Niles emerged as a star for Slingerz FC, netting two goals, while Leo Lovell and Jeremy Garrett each contributed one to seal the comprehensive victory. Despite Dwayne Jones managing to pull one back for Fruta Conquerors, the defeat marked their second consecutive loss of the season.

Slingerz FC, under the guidance of Jamaican coach Alex Thomas, celebrated their second win in as many starts this season. Thomas, who took over the team in February following Charles Pollard's departure, has been steering his squad to success. Their impressive campaign began with a commanding 7-0 triumph over Monedderlust FC on February 25.

However, despite the early triumphs and a goal tally of 11 for and only one against in two matches, Coach Thomas believes there is still room for improvement. In a post-match interview with Sportsmax.TV, he stated, "The team’s performance tonight was average. We didn’t play up to expectations. Nevertheless, we came out on top."

Thomas acknowledged that the players are gradually understanding his coaching philosophy and instructions. He expressed satisfaction with their progress but emphasized the need for continuous improvement, particularly in the mental aspect of the game.

Slingerz FC currently holds the second position in the league with a perfect six points, trailing Western Tigers FC on goal difference. The latter secured a 4-0 victory over Ann’s Grove United FC on Sunday. The Guyana Defence Force is also at the top with six points after a convincing 6-1 win against Buxton United SC.

In another match on Tuesday night, Den Amstel SC clinched their first win of the season with a narrow 1-0 victory over Santos FC.

 

In a jaw-dropping display of explosive power and determination, Devynne Charlton of the Bahamas soared to new heights, breaking her own world record to clinch gold in the fiercely competitive 60m hurdles at the World Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

The final session on Sunday witnessed an explosive showdown between Charlton and the 2022 champion, Cyrena Samba-Mayela. Fueled by the intense competition, Charlton stormed across the finish line in a remarkable 7.65 seconds, not only securing the gold but also eclipsing her previous world record of 7.67 set at the Millrose Games in February.

Samba-Mayela, the French sensation, pushed herself to the limit with a personal best of 7.73 in the semi-finals but was just shy of Charlton's electrifying pace, forcing her to settle for the silver medal with a time of 7.74 seconds.

Poland's Pia Skrzyszowka added to the drama, running a fast 7.79 seconds to claim the bronze medal in the tightly contested race. Meanwhile, Charlton's teammate Charisma Taylor, despite a strong effort, secured the sixth position with a time of 7.92 seconds.

Devynne Charlton's emphatic victory not only secured her a well-deserved gold but also ensured that the Bahamas would leave the World Indoor Championships with a single gold medal. This achievement puts the Bahamas on par with St Lucia and the Commonwealth of Dominica, where Julien Alfred and Thea LaFond claimed gold in the 60m and triple jump events, respectively.

However, the same cannot be said for Jamaica, which experienced a disappointing outing in the 4x400m relay. Despite having three bronze medals in their tally, the defending champions failed to finish the race as the third-leg runner, Charokee Young, dropped the baton, extinguishing any hopes of adding to their medal count.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

Caribbean athletes experienced a mix of success and challenges on the opening day of the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on Friday.

Jamaican sprinter Ackeem Blake showcased his speed in the 60-metre dash, winning his heat in 6.55. Although he stands as the third-fastest in the world this year at 6.45, Blake is fifth-fastest heading into the semi-finals. Notably, gold-medal favorite Christian Coleman dominated the heats with a remarkable run of 6.49.

Mario Burke of Barbados is also through to the semi-final round after he finished second to Coleman in 6.58. Also through is Rikkoi Brathwaite of the British Virgin Islands, who ran a season-best 6.62 for fourth-place in Coleman’s heat.

Coleman’s compatriot, Noah Lyles, who is also in contention for the gold medal won his heat in 6.57.

The 60m semi-finals and finals are set for later on Friday.

Rusheen McDonald, also from Jamaica, delivered a lifetime best performance in the 400m, clocking an impressive 46.25. He finished second in his heat behind the Czech Republic’s Matej Krsek (46.07), securing his place in the next round.

Trinidad and Tobago's defending champion Jereem Richards faced a close call in the 400m, finishing fourth in his heat with a time of 47.04. However, Richards secured a spot in the next round ahead of the USA’s Jacory Patterson, credited with a similar time.

In the women's events, Stacey-Ann Williams from Jamaica advanced in the 400m, clocking 52.16. Williams entered the competition with a season best of 51.86 and secured a spot as one of the fastest losers after finishing fourth in her heat, won by Netherlands’ Lieke Laver in 51.31.

Despite these successes, the challenges were evident. Charokee Young faced disappointment in the 400m, finishing third in her heat with a time of 53.06. Shalysa Wray of the Cayman Islands and Yanique Haye-Smith of the Turks and Caicos produced season-best performances but will take no further part in the competition.

In the 800m, Natoya Goule Toppin advanced to the semi-final round with a second-place finish in her heat, clocking 2:00.83. She opened her season in a competitive field, with Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu winning the heat in 2:00.50.

In the shot put final, Danielle Thomas Dodd threw a season-best 19.12m, earning sixth place. Canada’s Sarah Mitton claimed gold with a throw of 20.22m, followed by Germany’s Yemisi Ogunleye with a lifetime best of 20.19m for the silver medal. The USA’s Chase Jackson (nee’ Ealey) secured the bronze with a throw of 19.67m.

Jamaica's Travis Williams, a sprinter attending the University of Southern California, triumphed at the 2024 Ken Shannon Last Chance Meet in Seattle, Washington, clinching victory in the 60m dash with a remarkable personal best of 6.52, a meet record.

He believes the performance sets him up for something special at the NCAA Indoor National Championships set for March 7-9 at The Track at New Balance in Boston.

Williams’ winning time ranks third on the NCAA descending order list this indoor season and moved him from seven to second on USC's all-time list.  He now sits just behind school record-holder Davonte Burnett's time of 6.50.  The time also makes him the second-fastest Jamaican over 60m this indoor season. Only Ackeem Blake, who has run 6.45, has gone faster.

This achievement was particularly noteworthy as Williams had battled through a toe injury that had sidelined him from training and competition for about two weeks.

Williams, who had transferred from the University of Albany, where he secured the 60m and 200m double at the 2023 America East Indoor Championships, revealed the challenges he faced leading up to the Ken Shannon Last Chance Meet.

Reflecting on his performance, Williams expressed his excitement, telling Sportsmax.tv, “Performance-wise, I was excited, ecstatic, full of energy and joy 'cause I started the season out rough with a toe injury; still nursing it back as we speak but it's to the point where I can compete on it. I am not at my full potential yet, but we still getting there.”

To recover from the injury, Williams adopted a comprehensive approach. He engaged in discussions with his coaches, adjusted his diet, and made strategic decisions for his recovery both on and off the track. He acknowledged the efforts invested in correcting and overcoming the challenges, saying, “We had to go back a few times to try and see what works for me on the track and off the track. A lot of dieting, a lot of sitting down with my coaches and going back on what we need to do, 'cause pre-season was probably one of the greatest pre-seasons I ever had running track and field.”

Despite the initial doubts caused by the toe injury, Williams found solace and determination in his accomplishments. Running the 6.52 not only silenced those doubts but also positioned him as a formidable contender in the upcoming NCAA Indoor Championships.

“I had doubts because of my toe. I set those doubts behind me this past weekend. I was happy about that, 'cause I know it was SEC, ACC, Big 12, and all those other conferences, so I just showed the people that I'm still here," Williams declared.

Expressing gratitude for the support and environment at USC, Williams highlighted the positive impact of his coach, John Bolton, in guiding him through the challenges of returning from an injury.

"Sitting out for two weeks, it was depressing at one point but then we had to bounce back and look behind us and say oh, I know what I can do," Williams revealed. "As far as my training and everything, it’s going well, I love USC's culture, the environment, the coaches. My coach John Bolton, he set me up at the right time, the right way based on how he handled the situation coming off an injury."

Looking ahead, Williams expressed confidence in his trajectory, saying, "So yeah, as far as all that, I would say my performance was great. We still have big goals for indoors. We're not done yet. We have two weeks to the NCAA National Championships. I have something in store, so you want to stay tuned for that.”

In a moment that will resonate through the corridors of track and field history, Lamara Distin, the high-flying Jamaican representing Texas A&M, soared to unprecedented heights at the SEC Indoor Championships.

Last weekend, the 23-year-old SEC champion shattered the women's NCAA indoor high jump record, scaling a breathtaking 2.00 metres, not only claiming her third-straight SEC title but etching her name as the first NCAA athlete to conquer this elusive mark. The feat also holds special significance as Distin becomes the trailblazing woman from the English-speaking Caribbean to achieve such an extraordinary height and by that virtue establishing a Jamaica national indoor record.

It was a moment of relief and reward for the talented Jamaican. "Achieving the long-awaited goal was an incredible and rewarding feeling. I have been going after this mark for years so for it to finally happen, it’s such a great feeling. I’m super-elated that my hard work is paying off."

Distin's journey at the Randal Tyson Track Centre was nothing short of a masterclass in precision and execution. She cleared her initial six heights on the first attempt, securing her SEC indoor high jump title with a jump over 1.97m. With history beckoning, she boldly raised the bar once more. On her third and final attempt, she defied gravity, clearing the record-breaking 2.00m, etching her legacy into the NCAA and Jamaica history books.

In doing so, Distin awarded the 2024 SEC Indoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

 

The former Hydel High School star shared the depth of emotion and accomplishment tied to this historic moment. "Being among an elite class of high jumpers and the first Caribbean woman to achieve this height fills me with a deep sense of gratitude and motivation to continue pushing my limits," she shared, reflecting on the significance of this achievement.

The journey to this moment, however, was not without its challenges. The 2022 Commonwealth Games champion opened up about the transformative year of 2023, marked by a change of coach from Sean Brady to Mario Sategna.

During the year, Distin was well below her best even though she won the Indoor title with a clearance of 1.91m. However, after only clearing 1.87m, she relinquished the national outdoor title to Ball State’s Charity Griffith, who soared over a height of 1.93m to claim the crown.

“The change of coach was a bit of a challenge for me last year as I know that I would be doing completely different workouts that I was used to with my old coach since I was a freshman,” she explained.

“I’m used to the (new) program now so I’m super grateful everything is falling into place at the right time. There are little things that still need to be fixed but we’ll get there. Change can be daunting, but it can also be a catalyst for growth and improvement.”

For Distin, reaching the 2.00m mark was not just a physical breakthrough; it also marked a profound mental transformation.

“Reaching that two-metre mark is not only a physical breakthrough but also a significant mental breakthrough for me. It’s like a weight has lifted off my shoulders. This has opened up new possibilities and has shown me that I am capable of achieving greater heights,” she stated.

“It has given me the confidence to set bigger goals and strive for even more success in the sport. I will continue to have faith in God and remember that his timing is always better than me.”

With the summer approaching at the Paris Olympics looming ever closer, Distin and her coach are meticulously planning her competitions, ensuring she peaks at the right time for the Olympic challenge ahead.

“An Olympic year means I have to also be smart as it relates to competitions. Competing at the collegiate level is totally different than the professional level as our season starts earlier. Moving into this season, my coach and I are taking the necessary measures in order for me to be fresh enough for the Olympics which is being strategic with competition planning. We have a plan and we’re sticking to that plan.”

As she sets her sights on consistently clearing higher heights, Distin shared the key factors for sustained success. "Maintaining a positive mindset, consistency in practice, taking care of my overall well-being, and seeking support when needed" are the cornerstones of her approach.

Grounded in her faith and armed with a renewed sense of self-belief, Distin is not merely defying gravity; she's rewriting the script of what's possible in high jumping and aiming for nothing less than Olympic glory.

In a triumphant display of school spirit and athletic prowess, Christine Day, the Jamaican Olympian and Commonwealth Games champion, spearheaded her eponymous house to a resounding victory at Tacky High School's sports day last Thursday. Despite her significant achievements, Day had largely flown under the radar in her home country until her high school honoured her by renaming a school house after her last year.

Formerly known as Grant House, Day House, after a 12-year hiatus, clinched the sports day crown with an impressive total of 486 points, overcoming challenges from rival houses Hudson, Ashton, and Crawford. This marked a significant milestone for Day House, as their last victory dated back to 2012.

The decision to rename the houses came as part of an initiative by the school administration to honour contemporary past students who have excelled in various fields. School principal Errol Bascoe explained the reasoning behind the change, stating, “What was happening is that the patrons for the houses have been some old-timers, business people in the area. Some have died, and we think that the sport itself was dying with the patrons, and so it was a consensus of the school that we look for past students who are doing well and who have done well; in whatever area.”

Day was a natural choice for this honour. Principal Bascoe revealed that Day wasn't merely a patron in name; she brought a burst of energy and enthusiasm to the sports day preparations. "Christine was integral in the planning. She gave them jerseys, she came with her energy drinks, she gave them everything, and she was there jumping up and blowing the vuvuzelas with them."

Day, the 2015 national 400m champion, 2015 World Championship 4x400m gold medalist and a two-time Commonwealth Games 4x400m relay gold medalist, has often been overshadowed despite her impressive athletic achievements.

 When her high school named a house in her honor last November, she was visibly moved by the gesture. "I felt really elated and overwhelmed that my high school considered using me, my name for one of the school houses. It actually makes me realize that I am appreciated and loved by my school community," Day expressed.

Buoyed by this recognition, Day went above and beyond to support her house. She garnered donations from friends, including notable Olympians, to provide essential items for the athletes. The support included shirts, energy drinks, banners, fruit, water, and even a massage gun.

“I got help from Andisports Management, my besty, Kaliese Spencer; Stephenie-Ann McPherson, Rusheen McDonald, my daddy Hope Day, sister Jonique Day; as well as Andre Edwards, Aundrae Drummonds, Miguel Melbourne, Miquel Emmanuel and Jerald Irons,” she said.

Her efforts paid off as Day House secured a convincing victory, echoing the excitement and energy of the renowned ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships.

Reflecting on the success, Christine Day said, "The energy was like at Champs vibes. There was a lot of excitement and joy coming from both teachers, students, and supporters." The win not only showcased the athletic prowess of Tacky High School's students but also highlighted the impact a dedicated and honored alumna like Christine Day can have on inspiring future generations.

Reigning Women’s World Athletics 200m champion, Shericka Jackson, has achieved another remarkable feat as she secures a spot among the nominees for the highly prestigious 2024 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year. The announcement, made on Monday, February 26, recognizes Jackson's outstanding achievements on the track.

Jackson, who clinched her second world 200m title in Budapest last year with a remarkable time of 21.41 seconds, stands as the second-fastest of all time, just seven hundredths of a second shy of Florence Griffith-Joyner's 35-year-old record. Additionally, she earned a silver medal in the 100m at the World Championships and dominated the 2023 Diamond League, claiming titles in both the 100m and 200m events. Her exceptional form was further emphasized by a personal best of 10.65 seconds at the Jamaica national championships in June.

The Jamaican sprinter finds herself in the esteemed company of two other track and field luminaries: Women's World 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson of the USA and Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, who made history by becoming the first woman to triumph in both the 1,500 and 5,000 meters at the World Championships.

The list of nominees is completed by outstanding athletes from various disciplines, including Spanish footballer Aitana Bonmati, American skier Mikaela Shiffrin, and Polish tennis sensation Iga Swiatek.

It's worth noting that Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce claimed the prestigious Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year award in 2023. This adds an extra layer of distinction to Jackson's nomination, as she follows in the footsteps of her illustrious compatriot.

The Laureus World Sportsman of the Year category boasts an equally formidable lineup, featuring Noah Lyles, Novak Djokovic, Mondo Duplantis, Lionel Messi, Erling Haaland, and Max Verstappen.Mikae

 

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