Tanya Lee | Women continue to make their mark
If anyone has religiously followed this column, you’d recall that I had dubbed 2018 ‘the year of the woman’ given the numerous achievements Jamaica’s sporting women made last year.
For 2019 so far, it’s more of the same as the women continue their dominance on the track.
As the season continues to generate immense heat, all eyes remain firmly locked on Jamaica’s biggest contenders, some of whom will line up for the black, green, and gold in Doha.
What a year it has been so far for Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Based on what we have witnessed this season, Jamaica could take the top two 100m spots on the podium in Doha. Elaine and Shelly are in dangerously fine form, with the 2016 double Olympic Champion having the edge given her world-leading times over both the 100m and 200m this season at 10.73 and 22.00, respectively. This should be one for the record books, with Jamaica standing to profit from what may likely be a sub-10.7 finish for both ladies, and, of course, a new national record.
Elaine should also enter the 200m as the favourite given that Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who has not lost over 200m since 2017, is likely to concentrate on the 400m at the Championships.
Junior sensation Briana Williams aims to become the youngest 100m finalist at a World Championship. After a blistering 10.94s to qualify for Doha last month, Jamaicans will cheer loudly for the brave and brilliant 17-year-old World Youth record holder.
Following the controversial snafu by the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) in the 100m hurdles at the national trials, with the race eventually declared void, many deem the exclusion of Danielle Williams from consideration puzzling, to say the least. All eyes are now firmly locked on the women’s hurdles candidates, with both Janeek Brown and Megan Tapper having run their personal best in June at 12.40 and 12.63, respectively.
But it is Danielle Williams who has been making the headlines and staking the biggest claim to a spot on the team to Doha. Williams’ only means of entry in the event, according to the JAAA, remains through winning the Diamond League. Just last weekend, she set a new national record at 12.32 seconds. Williams, as of Wednesday, is currently ranked number one in the world. What a tangled web!
Let’s hope cool heads prevail and Williams wakes up from this ordeal at the top of the podium in Doha as she remains Jamaica’s best chance at gold over the distance.
At the Junior level, Jamaica’s Brittany Anderson was in perfect form at the Motonet Joensuu Grand Prix on Tuesday as she ran a blistering personal best 12.71 seconds. Once that time is ratified, Anderson’s run will go down as a not just a new national junior record, but the World Under-20 record as well. She should take a bow.
Over in the 400m, all eyes are locked on MVP teammates Shericka Jackson and Stephenie Ann McPherson. Jackson is having a great year after running a lifetime-best 49.78 seconds at last month’s national trials.
Rushelle Clayton is also in scintillating form over the 400m hurdles and has shaved a full second off her personal best this year, with a convincing 54.75 at the national trials in June followed by 54.16 in London last week. She’s having the season of her career so far.
In the field, things are looking fantastic for 26-year-old Danniel Thomas-Dodd, who has thrown over 19m at least four times this season, including extending the national record to 19.48m on her way to gold at the Virginia Challenge in April.
And so we wait, ready to place our bets and set our sights on the medal tally, certain that somewhere within the history books, our women will continue to write their names and bring further glory to our nation. We are already proud. One love.