Mon | Sep 20, 2021

Smooth return for local athletics

Published:Monday | July 13, 2020 | 12:21 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer

AFTER a four-month break because of COVID-19, the country’s senior athletes got their chances to be back on track in a competitive setting in the first All Comers Meet of the season at the Ashenheim Stadium at Jamaica College on Saturday.

Despite windy conditions which affected the track events all afternoon, the athletes showed little rust in putting on creditable performances, with World champions Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Tajay Gayle leading the way.

Competing in a negative wind of 2.2 metres per second in Section Two of the women’s 100m, Fraser-Pryce, now representing Nike, outclassed her opponents to stop the clock at a world-leading 11.00 seconds to win the event. Sprintec Track Club’s Shashalee Forbes (11.49s), and MVP Track Club’s Anthonique Strachan (11.84s), of the Bahamas, were some way behind for second and third, respectively.

Gayle, the surprise gold medallist in the men’s long jump at the World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar, last year, used his first attempt of 8.52m, competing in a positive wind of 4.5 metres per second, to win the event. Teammate Ramone Bailey (7.54m), and The University of the West Indies’ Damon Williams (7.46m) took second and third, respectively.

Competitive women’s 200m

One of the most competitive events on the day came in the women’s 200m, which included Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah and World Championships 400m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson, who are teammates at MVP. Thompson-Herah used her scorching speed to take early control of the race, coming off the curve in front, but Jackson caught her late to win the event in 22.89s as Thompson-Herah was second in 22.98s. Forbes had another top-three finish after coming third in 23.45s. Here, the athletes competed in a negative wind of 2.2 metres per second.

Meet organiser Bruce James said that everything went well on the day.

“It was a good day for the athletes and the officials, as we did our best to ensure that all (health) protocols were intact,” he said. “The Ministry of Health and the police were on hand to ensure that all procedures were followed.

“We had several new innovations in place, including the athletes not competing in numbers as it was all digital, and we did not use a call-room system. The athletes had to report straight to the start of their event at the time stated.”

James is hoping to put on another meet this Saturday but he will be waiting for approval again from the Ministry of Health and Wellness.