Sport

Allen, Jackson land first senior 400m titles

Blake completes sprint double, as Senior Trials end

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 26, 2017

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Nathon Allen and Shericka Jackson won their first national senior titles, while Yohan Blake completed his third sprint double, as the exciting Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Puma National Senior Championships ended at the National Stadium last night.

There were three first-time champions as Shashalee Forbes of G C Foster won the 200m, holding off the veteran Simone Facey at the line.

The four-day championships were used to help select the Jamaican team to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in London, which gets under way on August 4.

After a tough season on the American collegiate circuit that ended two weeks ago, Allen ended the season-long unbeaten run of Demish Gaye in the 400m to win in 44.58 seconds.

Gaye got off to his usual fast start and both men separated themselves from the rest of the field as they raced to the line as the Auburn University first-year student strode away to victory.

Afterwards, Allen told reporters he was motivated by negative comments he had heard that he could not win a race. “I came out to prove the country wrong, and did it for my family and friends who stood by me,” he said.

He added that he felt “a pinch” in his left hamstring before the race but his coach told him to go for a top-three spot to ensure his place on the team.

Gaye was second in a new personal best 44.64 seconds, and will make his first team to a senior championships after missing out with illness last year, while Steven Gayle took third place in 45.09 seconds and makes his first national team.

Shericka Jackson of MVP ran 50.05 seconds, a season's best and fifth-best in the world this year, to win the women's equivalent and beat Chrisann Gordon, the pre-race favourite in some quarters, who ran another personal best 50.13 seconds as Novlene Williams-Mills get the chance to end her career on the big stage when she took third place in a season's best 50.14 seconds.

Jackson, the World Championships and Olympic Games medallist, held off the hard-charging University of Texas National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) champion and later said she had worked harder this year, after nearly missing the Olympic team last year.

“I am really happy. The last two years I was second and third, and I made a mistake last year and almost missed making the Olympic team. But this year I put in the hard work as I did not want to come to the start line uncertain whether I can make the team.”

Forbes was surprised at her win and, while she said she was confident she would make the team, clocked a new personal best 22.71 seconds (0.8m/s), just outbattling Facey, who had a season's best 22.74 seconds with another newcomer, Jodean Williams of the University of the West Indies finishing third in 22.95 seconds.

Blake, who won the 100m on Friday and was running only his second 200m race of the season, clocked a smart 19.97 seconds (1.0m/s), joint fifth-fastest in the world this season, easily getting to the line ahead of Rasheed Dwyer (20.26 seconds), with World and Olympic Games medallist Warren Weir third in 20.39 seconds.

Despite having a bye after winning the World Championships title two years ago and not having to run here, Danielle Williams clocked a personal best 12.56 seconds (0.4m/s) to hold off last year's champions Megan Simmonds (12.63 seconds) — her personal best — while Yanique Thompson was third in 12.69 seconds, with Rushelle Burton fourth in 12.70 seconds.

Jamaica will field four runners in the event in London.

Kimberly Williams, who is recovering from a bruised heel, won the triple jump with a wind-aided 14.60m (5.1m/s), beating Shanieka Ricketts who also had a wind-aided jump of 14.39m (2.4m/s), with Shardia Lawrence third with 14.22m (1.0m/s).

Odayne Richards retained the shot put title with a season's best 21.29m, beating discus champion Fedrick Dacres (20.25m) and Ashinia Miller (20.22m).

Kimberly Williamson won the high jump but failed to get the 1.94m World Championships qualifying mark, only clearing 1.88m, with another former champion Saniel Atkinson-Grier taking second with 1.85m, and Natrena Hooper third with 1.75m.

Kateema Riettie won the javelin throw with 48.53m, ahead of Olivia Marshall (46.10m) and Salcia Slack (44.29m).

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