Jackson happy with 51.06 opener
Shericka Jackson, Jamaica's Olympic and World Championship bronze medallist, made a bright start to her 2017 400-metre campaign at last Saturday's JAAA All-Comers Meet at the National Stadium. In front of a buzzing audience of knowledgeable fans, Jackson won her first one-lap race of the season in 51.06 seconds. The race showed that she and her MVP Track Club coach Stephen Francis are testing a different race strategy.
Jackson started fast and maintained well enough to record the fastest season opening 400-metre time of her career.
"My plan was just to get out and see how well my body could respond to getting out that hard," she revealed after the run, "so I did that, and I'm pleased with the performance."
It was virtually a solo run as Junelle Bromfield, the World Under 20 bronze medallist, trailed in 52.63 seconds.
Usually, Jackson runs the first part of the 400 conservatively but she said, "it's the first time trying to go out this hard and it's the fastest season opener so I'm really happy with it."
The only Jamaicans with faster times this year are Chris-Ann Gordon who has run 50.39 and 50.64 seconds in separate races and Novlene Williams-Mills who won at the Jamaica Invitational in 50.54 seconds.
Jackson, who lowered her personal bests to 49.83 seconds at the Olympics, has raised her speed levels with times of 11.24 and 22.57 seconds in the 100 and 200 metres this season. She was impressive at the IAAF World Relays in April with a 4x200m leg timed in 21.9 seconds. That speedy stint with the baton helped Jamaica to win the event in the national record time of 1 minute 29.04 seconds
Despite all that, she refused to get carried away with predictions of super fast times.
"You can't rush the time because you can have a time in the back of your mind and then you get disappointed at the end of the season," she analysed. "For me," she reasoned, "it's just to take one race at a time and see where I go from there."
It appears that American Allyson Felix and Shaunae Miller-Uibo of The Bahamas, who finished ahead of her at the 2015 Worlds and the Olympics, will again be formidable at this year's World Championships in August. Both have shown good sprint form this year. "It has always been they are great throughout the season," the former Vere Technical and University of Technology athlete observed, "so I just have to work hard and keep my focus and hope for the best coming August."