André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
"Let me tell you something, I am a fighter." It's a bold statement, coming from a sprinter who had just laid out a performance reflecting all of her bravery.
With teeth clenched, arms pumping and determination stapled across her face, Sherone Simpson was a picture of resolve as she stretched her lanky legs down the final straightaway in Sunday's final of the 200m for women at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures Limited National Senior Championships, inside the National Stadium.
Desperate to make up for her fourth-place finish in the 100m barely two days earlier, which relegated her - a joint Olympic silver medallist - to 'only' a spot on the relay team, Simpson, with the footsteps of veteran sprinter Aleen Bailey getting louder with each stride, found something extra in the final 50 metres to secure a third-place finish in the 200m.
Across the finish line, a sigh was released and along with it, a weight that had troubled her for two nights. She needed to make this 200m team, and as it dawned on her that she would be among the country's individual representatives at the August 27-September 4 IAAF World Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea, Simpson smiled.
It has been a so-so season for her so far, but this was the boost she needed with the Championships now two months away.
Simpson, a one-time student at Manchester High School and one of the stars within Stephen Francis' MVP Track Club, had not shown much so far this year and many doubted whether she would make the team to Daegu. Her 100m finish did little to silence the critics, but it did everything to motivate her.
'I gave my best'
"Let me tell you something, I am a fighter," Simpson underlined after the race. "It was hard for me after the 100m result, but I knew that I would've been able to make it in the 200m, so I had to come out and do my best."
Prior to the JAAA/SVL National Senior Championships, Simpson had not run a serious 200m, so no one, including herself, really knew what to expect.
"Yes, this was only my second 200m of the season, so I'm pleased with the results," Simpson said. "Coming here, I just wanted to run a technically good race. It didn't go as planned but in the end I was able to make the team, and I'm happy with that because that's the most important thing."
So it's on to the next objective for the 27-year-old, who is determined to prove to everyone that she is nowhere close to the end of her road as far as top-class sprinting is concerned.
"I got a cramp at the Prefontaine Classics, but I am not worried about form or anything. I have two more months to go, so I should be okay for the Championships going into Deagu," said Simpson.