Superb Tina Clayton nails national junior record
Edwin Allen High’s Tina Clayton (right) races away to win the girls’ Under-20 100m final ahead of second-placed Serena Cole (left) of Edwin Allen at the National Championships at the National Stadium on Friday. Alana Reid of Hydel High finished fifth. (Photo: Collin Reid)

Tina Clayton has thrown down the gauntlet ahead of her title defence in Cali, Colombia, as she sprinted to a national under-20 100-metre record of 10.96 seconds on day two of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) National Junior Championships at the National Stadium on Friday.

Clayton, who topped the world field in Nairobi, Kenya, last year in what was then a new personal best 11.09s, has been knocking at the sub-11 second door all season, and with the stage just right, she made no mistake in front of home fans.

The 17-year-old, running from lane number three, got a blistering start and was well ahead of the field by the time she came out of her drive phase, making the race a mere formality to defend her national title in a 1.5 m/s tail wind. In the process she took down Briana Williams’ previous national age group record of 10.97s set last year.

“This has been one of my best seasons and I knew I had it under my belt but I wasn’t expecting to run sub-11 this soon. But I am a very disciplined and hard worker so any small achievement that come I have to take them and be grateful,” a triumphant Clayton told reporters in her post-race interview.

Clayton’s Edwin Allen teammates Serena Cole (11.13s) and twin sister Tia (11.25s) were second and third, respectively.

St Catherine’s Sandrey Davison was also crowned a national champion in exciting fashion, stumbling out the blocks, but chasing down and catching Kingston College’s Bouwahjgie Nkrumie on the line.

The tall and smooth-striding Davison, who is under the tutelage of Reynaldo Walcott, coach of the decorated Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, closed well to stop the clock in a personal best 10.20s, lowering his previous best of 10.30 in a 0.0 wind reading. Nkrumie’s 10.22s was also a personal best, while Herbert Morrison’s Mark-Anthony Daley (10.51s) was third.

“It’s a tremendous feeling winning the event, but I am a bit disappointed because of the start because I feel like I can go way faster than 10.2 so I will just go back into training and work on that,” Davison told the Jamaica Observer.

Earlier, Camperdown’s Roshawn Clarke, the Carifta silver medallist, proved too good for rivals in the boys’ Under-20 400m hurdles, topping the event in a new personal best 49.39s. Antonio Forbes (51.40s) of Kingston College and Excelsior’s Jahmani Smith (51.42s) were second and third, respectively.

Oneika McAnnuff of Hydel, justified favouritism as the fastest in the girls’ Under-20 400m hurdles field at 57.08s, to claim the national crown.

McAnnuff, this year’s Carifta 400m silver medallist, running from lane five, closed well in the latter stages to finish tops in 58.16s.

She pegged back Carifta champion Safhia Hinds (58.23s) of St Jago, who ran out of steam close to home, with Hydel’s Alliah Baker clocking a new personal best 58.96 seconds to secure her spot on the team to Cali.

BY SHERDON COWAN Observer staff reporter cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

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