KINGSTON, Jamaica – Kingston College’s Bouwahjgie Nkrumie and Hydel’s Alana Reid had the nation at their feet Wednesday when they shattered 100m national junior records at the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships. But Olympian Grace Jackson also wants the spotlight on the coaches’ efforts.
Nkrumie is coached by former KC sprinter Andre Wellington, while Reid’s coach is Corey Bennett.
“…I think that means that there is a testament to what's happening with the coaching in Jamaica because they're looking on and they are seeing what's happening internationally. You're also seeing a kind of approach to competition as if it’s international competition. And I think as you continue to do that repeatedly, the result of what you saw last night in the 100m is what you get,” Jackson said, adding that world renowned coaches such as Stephen and Paul Francis, Glen Mills, Maurice Wilson among others have guided some of the most prolific athletes in Jamaican track and field.
“What I'm noticing about Champs, as it grows from year to year, is that the runners that are good, it's not just about their performance, it's their style of running. Their style continues to change to, I think, balance what happens internationally,” Jackson told OBSERVER ONLINE at the National Stadium on Thursday.
Nkrumie, who is the reigning World U20 100m silver medallist, sprinted to history by clocking a time of 9.99 seconds, smashing his own Champs record of 10.08 which was set earlier in the semi-final round, and his national junior record of 10.02, set at the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia last year. He became the first schoolboy at Champs and the third junior in the history of the sport to run sub-10.
Meanwhile, Reid outclassed her competitors to record an impressive time of 10.92 seconds, breaking Tina Clayton’s national junior record of 10.95 in the process. She also obliterated Veronica Campbell Brown’s 22-year-old Champs record of 11.13 seconds, becoming the fifth fastest junior of all-time to run the event and the 21st Jamaican woman to run a sub-11 clocking.
READ: STAGGERING 10.92!
Against this background, Jackson said the coaches have effectively transferred knowledge to their athletes.
“When you really look at the times that both the boys and girls are doing in sprinting, it is clear that our local coaches, who have prepared, are actually competing well at the international level and the knowledge has trickled down. And the athletes have received it in a way in which they can execute and show that they have gained from that knowledge,” Jackson said.
“These are the athletes that are going to move on for Jamaica as seniors and if our intention as a country is to maintain the status quo of the number of medals that we get at the international level, it has to be done from here (high school). So, we can say the future looks bright,” she added.
Jackson won an Olympic silver medal in the 200m at the 1988 Seoul Olympics in South Korea. She is also a former national record holder in the 200 and 400m. She was named the Jamaican Sportswoman of the Year in 1986 and 1988.