Jackson targets 100m World Championships gold
JACKSON...I do not have a 100m World Championships title and that is one of my goals this year (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

SHERICKA Jackson, the reigning 200m world champion, says her objective for this year is not only to retain her title in the half-lap event but also to capture the 100m gold.

Budapest, Hungary, is host city of the 19th staging of the 2023 World Championships which is set for August 19–27.

When Jackson won gold in the 200m in Eugene, Oregon, last year she became the fastest woman alive and the second-fastest woman of all time over the distance. Her time of 21.45 set a new national mark, with only Florence Griffith-Joyner of the United States running faster (21.34).

Jackson stated that her 10.73-second run for the silver medal in the 100m in Eugene no doubt encouraged her to improve on that effort and win her first World Championships 100m crown.

"One of my goals this year is to make it at the 100m because I already have a mind for the 200m. So, I am definitely motivated; I do not have a 100m World Championships title and that is one of my goals this year to achieve — it's just for me to stay focused," Jackson said.

"I am confident and I am healthy. Once I stay healthy, anything is possible. I know I definitely can go faster, and I am working to go faster, so it's just to stay focused," said the 28-year-old Jackson.

Jackson's announcement came after another thrilling effort in the 100m when she raced to a meet record 10.78s at the Racers Grand Prix inside the National Stadium last Saturday.

The margin of victory and the fact that Jackson had a little misstep near the finish of the race highlights her current form, and she believes she is on track to do more than she achieved last year.

"I think I made a little misstep at the end of the race, which I think coach and I will definitely revisit because it happened last year at the World Championships and at the trials. So, coach and I will find out how to fix things but I am overjoyed — 10.78 in early June, I can't complain," she added.

"I wanted to run 10.75 but 10.78 will suffice. I actually wrote it down on paper because coach and I talk about writing down what you want to achieve and telling yourself that it is possible, so this time early June I am super excited for the season," Jackson added.

After Jackson shifted to shorter sprints in 2021 she won bronze in the 100m at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, adding gold and bronze for the 4x100m and 4x400m relays, respectively. That year she achieved sub-10.8-second and sub-22-second personal bests in the 100m and 200m, respectively, and with her 400m lifetime best below 49.5s she became one of the few women to reach such marks at all those events simultaneously.

Although her participation in the 100m for the World Athletics Championships seemed secure, Jackson underlined the importance of executing efficiently at the forthcoming National Trials.

"I just want to run a solid 100m at the Jamaica trials because anything can happen, so I just want to ensure that on the day of competition I am ready and focused. So right now it's just to work on certain aspects of the race," she ended.

Jackson started her career as a 400m sprinter, winning bronze at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 2015 World Championships, and 2019 World Championships. At the same competitions she added medals in the 4x400m relays, taking silver, gold, and bronze, respectively. She also earned a gold medal in the 4x100m relay at the 2019 World Championships.

Jackson is currently the only athlete in World Championships history to win medals in the 100, 200, and 400 metres (and by extension, the 4x100 and 4x400 metres relays). She is also the second athlete in history, behind Marita Koch, to win medals in the 100, 200, 400, 4x100 and 4x400 metres at the World Championships and/or the Olympic Games.

"I am not a person who cracks under pressure in terms of what people expect of me. I know what I am capable of and my coach knows what I am capable of, and I think we are a good combination to achieve what I want to achieve — it is just for me to stay focused," Jackson ended.

BY RUDDY ALLEN Staff reporter ruddya@jamaicaobserver.com

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