New generation of stars heading to Tokyo
The recently concluded National Senior Championships brought out some fierce competition, as Jamaica’s athletes fought to secure places at the Tokyo Olympic Games, with both seasoned and upcoming competitors stamping their tickets to the July 23 to August 8 spectacle.
Two of the most impressive youngsters who will be representing the country at this level for the first time are sprint hurdler Britany Anderson, who is a part of the Florida-based Tumbleweed Track Club, and booked her spot after finishing third in the 100 metres hurdles in 12.75 seconds, and Racers Track Club’s Oblique Seville, 10.04 seconds, who also took third in the men’s 100 metres with a personal best effort. They are both 20 years old.
Anderson has shown her pedigree while representing Jamaica at the world stage in age group competition.
At 2017 World Athletics Under-18 Championships, she struck gold and almost repeated the feat a year later, controversially losing the gold medal in a photo finish at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships.
Anderson came into the Trials as the top-ranked Jamaican, after registering a personal best 12.58 seconds last month at the Duval County Challenge in Florida, in the preliminary round, before going on to win the final in 12.59 seconds.
Seville, who is now taking orders from Glen Mills, a coach who has guided Yohan Blake and Usain Bolt to world titles, looks set for a successful career in the short sprint.
The former Holmwood Technical athlete spent two years at Calabar High School, for which he won the Class One 100 metres in 10.13 seconds at Champs in 2019 before transitioning among the senior ranks.
GRIT AND DETERMINATION
Despite being injured for most of the season, he showed a lot of grit and determination in his first senior Trials to secure a top-three finish and a place in the Olympics.
Candice McLeod, Roneisha McGregor, Stacey-Ann Williams, Carey McLeod, Sean Bailey, Karayne Bartley and Christopher Taylor are among the other young athletes who have booked their tickets to Tokyo.
In one of the fastest-ever women’s 400 metres finals at these Championships McLeod, the former Papine High School athlete, lowered her personal best in the event after clocking 49.91 seconds for second, while McGregor, 50.02, ran third with Williams, 50.14, taking fourth, all in personal best times. The event was won by seasoned campaigner Stephenie-Ann McPherson in a personal best 49.61 seconds.
Bailey, the younger brother of recently retired Jamaican legend, Veronica Campbell-Brown, was the country’s top man over the 400 metres this season and he ended the Trials in that position after winning his first national senior title, clocking a season best 45.04 seconds.
Taylor 45.13 and Bartley 45.30 seconds, who were second and third, respectively, will all be part of the country’s mile relay team in Tokyo.