Sprinters sparkle on day one of National Championships
World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (left) and starlet Briana Williams congratulate each other when they finished first and seond in the women’s 100m on Thursday.

World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce underlined her brilliant form in the 100m after an almost effortless 10.70 seconds (1.1m/s) to win her first-round heat and headlined the first day of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Championships at the National Stadium.

Four women, including Kemba Nelson and Briana Williams, who both ran 10.98 seconds, and Shericka Jackson (10.99 seconds), ran under 11.00 seconds, while Yohan Blake responded to Oblique Seville’s 9.98 seconds with his season’s best 9.93 run.

The semi-finals and finals of both events will be run later today on the second day of the four day championships.

With news of American sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson failing to get past the first round at the US Trials at Hayward Field in Oregon, the Jamaican women sent a strong message that they will be hard to dislodge from the pinnacle of the global sprints.

Fraser-Pryce, who had run 10.67 seconds twice already, got off to her usual fast start and dragged Williams with her to the line with Ramona Burchell third in 11.16 seconds.

Nelson, who was second in the 100m at the NCAA two weeks ago, was adjudged to have edged Jackson in their race, while Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah also advanced, winning her heat in 11.06 seconds (0.5m/s), beating Natasha Morrison (11.10 seconds) and Shockoria Wallace (11.21 seconds).

Olympic double sprint champion Elaine Thompson-Herah (right) on her way to victory in the her heat of the women’s 100m. She is closely followed by Natasha Morrison, who was second.

Shashalee Forbes also won her heat in 11.23 seconds (0.2m/s) ahead of Natalliah White (11.37 seconds) and Kevona Davis (11.41 seconds).

Yohan Blake, the 2011 World Champion, turned back the clock as he cruised to a smooth 9.93 seconds (0.7m/s) to lead the men’s 100m, winning his heat, while new sensation Oblique Seville was also easy in winning his heat, running 9.98 seconds (1.3m/s).

Oblique Seville (centre) leads Jelani Walker (left) and Jazeel Murphy as he wins his heat in the men’s 100m during the National Championships at the National Stadium on Thursday evening. (Photos: Collin Reid)

Conroy Jones, formerly of St Elizabeth Technical and of Elite Performance, ran a massive personal best of 10.00 seconds, under the World Championships qualifying time of 10.05 seconds, winning his heat, beating Ackeem Blake (10.01 seconds) with Oshane Bailey third with 10.03 seconds.

World Championships relay gold medallist Kemar Bailey-Cole ran 10.06 seconds, Jelani Walker ran a personal best 10.07 seconds.

Meanwhile, defending national champion, national record holder, and world number three ranked Lamara Distin had her worst performance of the year as she could only clear 1.85m to finish second in the high jump.

Distin, who earlier this year set the national record 1.97m and won the NCAA indoors and outdoor titles, was in shock when she spoke to the Jamaica Observer.

“I literally don’t know what happened today,” adding that it was neither anxiety nor over-confidence, claiming she didn’t get her run-up properly.

Distin, who was the world leader for a long time, said her aim was to clear 2.00m, but conceded: “I feel like it was just one of those days. It was my first real bad day of the season, and it is good that it happened here and hopefully not at the World Championships.”

Kimberly Williamson won the event with 1.88m, her seventh national title and first since 2019, while Daniella Anglin of the University of South Dakota was third with 1.80m.

Ackelia Smith won her first national senior long jump championships with a mark of 6.56m (-0.9m/s) beating three-time champion Chanice Porter- 6.52m (-0.7m/s) with Velecia Williams third with 6.29m.

Olympic Games semi-finalist Jaheel Hyde started the defence of his title, running 49.54 seconds to lead the qualifiers in the men’s 400m hurdles followed by World Championships finalist Kemar Mowatt, who was the only other runner under 50.00 seconds with 49.99 seconds.

Shawn Rowe ran 50.08 seconds, Malik James-King (50.15 seconds), Andre Clarke (50.42 seconds), and Marvin Williams (50.65 seconds), also qualified for the final.

World Championships semi-finalist Shiann Salmon ran a personal best 54.10 seconds to lead the qualifiers for today’s women’s 400m hurdles final, beating her previous 54.43 seconds set a month ago in Puerto Rico.

Janieve Russell (55.04 seconds), Andrenette Knight (54.55 seconds), and Kimisha Chambers (56.03 seconds) were also impressive.

Rushell Clayton, the bronze medalist from Doha in 2019, also did enough to advance, running 54.67 seconds.

Navasky Anderson, who broke the 45 year-old national record just under three weeks ago, ran 1:48.24 minutes to lead the qualifiers for Sunday’s final of the men’s 800m, running from the front to control his heat.

Tarees Rhoden of Clemson University ran 1:48.42, while Jamaica College schoolboy J’Voughnn Blake gutted out a brave 1:48.61 despite showing signs of not being well.

The start of his heat was held up as he had to be given fluids, and after the race had to be helped off the track to the medical area.

Also advancing were defending champion Chevonne Hall (1:49.08), Dugion Blackman (1:48.78) and Kimar Farquharson (1:49.07).

Paul Reid

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