Sport

'Wonderful start'

...beams Elaine Thompson after seasonal bow at Queen's/Grace

Monday, January 29, 2018

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Elaine Thompson clocked 7.18secs to take section three of the women's 60-metre dash Open at the 17th staging of the Queen's/Grace Jackson Invitational Meet at National Stadium Saturday night, but she was made to work by her MVP teammate Christania Williams, who led for about 50m of the race.

Left behind by both Williams and Sprintec's Natasha Morrison at the start, Thompson had to extend her legs to catch up, but prevailed to take first place with her superior top-end speed.

Williams finished second in 7.19secs, but it was the fast-finishing Shashalee Forbes who took third in 7.28secs, as Morrison faded into fourth in 7.29secs. Quarter-miler Shericka Jackson of MVP, who was running in her first 60m race, finished fifth in 7.31secs.

Thompson was happy with her first race of the season.

“The 60m is very fast, you have to execute it properly and this season is relatively fast and short. I have been in training for only three months so to come out here and run 7.18 is a wonderful start. I have to take it step by step, continue to put in the work, and just come out here and perform.”

She also revealed that the World Indoor Championships was a main target of her plans this year.

“There will be a build-up to the World Indoor Championships; we are in background training now and doing some development meets as well, so I am going to target the 60m indoor this year and my first international meet will be at Glasgow.”

World University Games 100m champion Shashalee Forbes was surprised by her own performance in her first-ever competitive 60m.

“It was a good race and I must say I was surprised with the time that I received. I am a strong finisher, but I need to fix my start so that I can get faster times.”

In the men's equivalent, the MVP pair of Kavean Smith (6.69secs) and Ramon Barnswell (6.70secs) took first and second place, respectively, while Ojamu Graham was third in 6.71secs.

There were six heats of the men's 60m, the final of which featured Asafa Powell and Rasheed Dwyer. In that heat, Ojamu Graham got the better of the more established Dwyer, who finished second in 6.71secs, and Powell who finished third in 6.73secs. Dwyer finished fourth overall on time, while Powell was tied in seventh place with Andrew Fisher in 6.73secs. Dexter Lee of Akan Track Club was fifth in 6.72secs while Oshane Bailey of Sprintec was sixth, also in 6.72secs.

“I crossed the finish line healthy. I didn't get a good start so I didn't push myself to try and do anything special, I just wanted to cross the finish line healthy since I didn't start well. The World Indoors and the Commonwealth Games are definitely on the radar. The season is still long — there is still the Diamond League and all that so there is still a long season to prepare for,” said Powell.

Earlier in the day, Jodean Williams of UWI won the women's 400m in 52.92secs. Williams, who represented Jamaica in the 200m at the World Championships in London last year, looked strong in a race she controlled from start to finish, saying she was “satisfied” after her performance.

Christine Day of Elite Track Club was second in 53.24secs, while Rushell Clayton of Swept Track Club was third in 53.27secs. Meanwhile, Sherone Simpson, who was running her first competitive race since 2015, won heat three in 55.45secs for an overall seventh-place finish.

Simpson was happy to be back on the track despite a “cautious” performance.

“I was not sure where I am at so I had to be cautious. But I am pretty satisfied; I think it will only get better from here. It was my first race since 2015 where I won the 100m at the PAN AM Games. I had my baby in 2016 and sat out 2017. To not run from 2015... I think it was a pretty good run. I have learnt a lot from my first race and I know that once I am healthy I will get faster with each race.”

Anastasia Le-Roy of Sprintec won the women's 200m in 23.33secs, followed home by the MVP pair of Stephenie-Ann McPherson (23.49secs) and Janieve Russell (23.55secs).

Tadia Kay Willis of Akan Track Club won the women's long jump with 6.26m, while Tissana Hickling of G C Foster was second with 6.12m and her teammate Basilla Haughton was third with 5.28m.

Jermaine Gayle of Akan Track Club was first across the tape in the men's 400m, stopping the clock at 46.46secs, while Marzel Miller of G C Foster (46.85secs) and Peter Matthews, also of Akan Track Club, 47.11secs, had to settle for the minor places.

The Pelicans made the most of the men's 60m hurdles as Deuce Carter (7.73secs) beat his clubmate Tyler Mason (7.85secs), with the UWI's Odario Phillips taking third in 8.00secs.

Just days after his horrific ordeal at training where he encountered a gunman, Zharnel Hughes of Racers Track Club took the men's 200m in 20.28secs. The returning Javon Francis of Akan Track Club, who spent most of last season injured, was second in 20.52secs, while Demish Gaye of Sprintec was third in 20.75secs. Yohan Blake was fourth in 20.95secs.

— Dwayne Richards

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