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Tarmoh: US, Ja rivalry good for track and field

Published:Saturday | May 30, 2015 | 5:00 AMAudley Boyd
American sprinter Jeneba Tarmoh.

EUGENE, Oregon:

United States sprinter Jeneba Tarmoh said the high level of competition between Jamaica and her country has done much to lift the sport and noted that she will try her best in ensuring the North Americans claim the gold medal at the upcoming World Championships in August.

Tarmoh is in Eugene to compete at the Prefontaine Classics, a Diamond League athletics meeting that moves into its second and more exciting day today, at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field.

"It's definitely made the sport more exciting," said Tarmoh, in an interview with The Gleaner.

"I think it'd be very boring to watch if there wasn't any ongoing rivalry and you weren't really sure who was going to win it, if there was no drama; drama makes the world go round," she continued.

"So the fact that Jamaica and the USA have that type of competition, it keeps the sport alive, it's something that we really need."

Athletes from both countries are in early outdoor competition and Tarmoh refused to be drawn into a commitment about which will take the gold in Beijing. However, the former World Junior 100m gold medallist said she will be doing her best to help the team.

Team spirit

"I'm not a one-man team, it's four people on there so I can only do my job. I'll try my best to place them and put them in a good situation, in a good position, but I can't control what other people do, I can only control what I do and I'm going to try my hardest to get that baton around and encourage everybody and keep everybody in my prayers," admitted Tarmoh, who admits having strong Christian beliefs.

The countries have alternated the number-one podium spot for the event in the past years, with the Americans winning in London 2012, Jamaica at the Worlds in Russia and World Relays in The Bahamas in 2013, the US at the 2015 World Relays and Jamaica at the Penn Relays this year.

"Right now, it's just a way for me to prepare for the US national Championships," she said of her race at Prefontaine, the women's 100 metres International, a kind of 'B' event of sorts to the main short sprint with Jamaicans Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson.

"As far as Worlds (is concerned), I think on making the US team first before I focus on Worlds," Tarmoh added.