Sat | Nov 28, 2020

Hard work paying off for James

Published:Friday | June 7, 2019 | 12:21 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Tiffany James on the second leg of the women’s 4x400m relay, at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan, on Saturday, May 11. Ricardo Makyn/Chief Photo Editor
Tiffany James on the second leg of the women’s 4x400m relay, at the IAAF World Relays in Yokohama, Japan, on Saturday, May 11. Ricardo Makyn/Chief Photo Editor

When Tiffany James pulled the Jamaica Green 4x400m team into second at the Penn Relays, her determination impressed fans. If they knew of her battles to balance her studies with athletics, they’d be even more impressed. With the toughest part of her studies at The Mico University behind her, James is doing more in training, and the results are beginning to show.

Promising relays run at Penn and the IAAF World Relays have earmarked her as one of the replacements for the retired pair of Novlene Williams-Mills and Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby on the consistent Jamaican 4x400m unit.

“I’ve been training better than previous years, and school is not that rough on me any more,” James said in May.

“I’ll be graduating this December,” she said after a victory at a recent JAAA All Comers meet, “so it’s less workload as it relates to school, so training is going well.”

IMPROVED TimeS

The results are showing. Her Penn anchor leg was timed in 51.78 seconds. The only Jamaican to go faster was Shericka Jackson, who clocked a 51.6 seconds lead-off for the winning Jamaican Gold team. The Mico-Cameron Blazers athlete then proved that it was no fluke with a 51.7 seconds third leg for Jamaica at the IAAF World Relays two weeks later in Yokohama, Japan.

“Last year was really, really, really, really rough for me,” she recounted. “I mean I had teaching practice and I have to wake up (at) like three in the morning and I wouldn’t go to bed until 12, so last year showed me how strong I am.”

The former Papine High School star, nevertheless, emerged with the CAC Games 400m gold medal and did solid relay work for Jamaica at the NACAC Championships in Toronto and the Athletics World Cup in London last year. Understandably, she regards those accomplishments as victories over adversity.

“I was still able to make all of the senior teams at the end of the year,” the 21-year-old runner said. “I didn’t do single events, but I mean, I still made it.”

Now, her ambitions are set on the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar, the qualifying standard of 51.80 seconds, and her personal best of 51.32.

“My main aim for this 2019 season is to get a personal best,” she said, “and I know if I get a personal best, I will be on the team to Doha.”

James, who has run 53.49 seconds this season, will run the 400m A event at Saturday’s Racers adidas Grand Prix.