Running sub-11 second times is like a dream, says Kemba Nelson
NELSON...clocked 11.18 seconds in 100m at the West Coast Classic

Kemba Nelson said she knew she would run fast, knew she had fast times in her feet, but she did not know exactly when she would be able to get all parts of her race together and bust out the big one.

An hour after she ran 10.88 seconds (0.9m/s) for second behind 100m champion Shericka Jackson and got the coveted fourth spot in the 100m at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, Nelson was still in a daze.

"It's kinda unbelievable," she told the Jamaica Observer. "But I knew I would run fast, but it was just a matter of when and when I would put that race together. I knew that it was in me, but to be able to execute it here at home, at the national championships, it's a special feeling."

The former Mt Alvernia High and University of Technology student athlete, who just completed her degree at the University of Oregon and is known for her blazing fast starts, had to chase the field in the second half of the women's 100m final at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative National Junior and Senior Championships, just edging Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and Olympic gold medallist Briana Williams.

Nelson, who won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) 60m gold last year, her first at Oregon, running 7.05 seconds, seventh-best ever by a Jamaican woman and an NCAA record, which was broken this year by St Lucian Julien Alfred, is also the 10th fastest Jamaican woman of all times in the 100m.

Both times are University of Oregon records.

In the first round and semi-finals of the 100m at the JAAA senior championships, Nelson had run 10.98 seconds and admitted that three consecutive sub-11.00 second runs were a surprise to her.

"Now that was a surprise, the season did not start the way I had hoped, but it took a good turn and I am happy with it, and to be running sub-11 seconds like this is a dream," she noted.

Two weeks before the Jamaican championships the two-time national junior champion had placed second in the NCAA 100m, running 11.02 seconds after she had clocked 10.97 seconds in the semi-finals and said the close proximity of both championships helped her to maintain her form.

Just how much faster can she go? "I just continue to execute and the times will come as coach likes to say," was Nelson's retort.

With her degree safely tucked away, Nelson has a big decision to make as she said she wanted to take a shot at professional track and field. "It's a lot to figure out; I would love to go professional," she said. "I plan to meet with my coach and we will work things out, I have options. It's a crazy time, but I am grateful," she ended.

— Paul Reid

Paul Reid

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