Petersfield High's Alexis James says injuries robbed her of better season
Alexis James celebrates one of her wins at last week's World Athletics Under- 20 Championships in Cali, Colombia. The 18-year-old Petersfield High's athlete won a gold medal as part of the 4x100m relay team and a silver in the 100m hurdles. (Photo: Marta Gorczynska for World Athletics)

Despite a breakthrough season where she won two medals — a gold and a silver at last week's World Athletics Under-20 championships at the Pascual Guerrero Olympic Stadium in Cali, Colombia — Petersfield High School's Alexis James thinks she could have had a better season were it not for injuries that negatively impacted her training programme.

James, who dropped almost a full second off her best in the 100m hurdles this season, started the year with a best of 13.96 seconds before running 12.87 seconds for silver in the final in Cali, behind teammate Kerrica Hill, also won a gold medal after she was part of the 4x100m relay team that ran in the semi-final.

She was replaced by Hill on the relay team that broke their own world under-20 record in the final, running 42.59 seconds along with Serena Cole, Tina and Tia Clayton.

"It wasn't my best season because I have been on and off from training because of injuries," she told the Jamaica Observer West on Monday on her return from Cali.

"I have had to be going to physiotherapist regularly and didn't get to train as effectively as I wanted to, and as I should have," she stressed.

The County of Cornwall Athletics Association (COCAA) Class 1 Girls' 100m/100m hurdles champion, who also won the Carifta Games Under-20 gold medal in April, was on a tear in Cali and was bettered only by the brilliant Hill who set a championship record and lowered her national youth record and world youth best time to 12.77 seconds.

In the first round, James, who went into the championships with a lifetime best 13.13 seconds, lowered it to 13.04 seconds, then ran 12.94 in the semi-finals before lowering it further to 12.87 seconds in the final, joint fourth best under-20 all times by a Jamaican.

With the depth of female sprinting talent in the Jamaican team in Cali, it was a surprise to many, including the athlete, when she was selected to run the third leg in the semis.

"I was a bit surprised because I didn't expect to run on the team," she admitted, adding, "to be honest from I've known myself I don't think I have ever ran third leg on any relay, it's always second leg."

The 18-year-old said she was impressed with the camaraderie on the team.

"We always come together to congratulate everyone even when they haven't got the outcome that they wanted," she noted.

James said she will continue to run the 100m and the 100m hurdles next season, but stated that it's too early to start thinking about times.

BY PAUL A REID Observer West writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

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