Thu | Aug 18, 2022
Happy International Women’s Day

Breaking barriers for women in sport

Published:Tuesday | March 8, 2022 | 9:14 AMTanya Lee/Contributor
Shericka Jackson
Elaine Thompson Herah
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce
Brianna Williams (second right)
Alia Atkinson
Romelda Aitken
Stafanie Taylor
Khadija Shaw
Tanya Lee
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WOMEN ARE capable of anything, and Jamaica has produced a flurry of high achievers in sports. Women who continue to blaze a trail of excellence.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, here are eight Jamaican sportswomen who are setting an inspirational trail in their sporting endeavours.

 

Khadija Shaw:

Arguably Jamaica’s most accomplished footballer, she is Jamaica’s leading goal scorer with 46 goals from 32 appearances and a perfect example of what women can accomplish once given the opportunity. A young Shaw was initially forbidden from playing football because her mother thought the sport was unsafe for girls. To date, she has done what every striker in Jamaica’s football hopes to accomplish: play domestic football in England & win a title, win a prestigious golden boot in a European league, and take Jamaica to a FIFA World Cup final.

 

Elaine Thompson Herah:

Shot into track and field history in 2021 when she successfully defended her Olympic sprint double and became the fastest woman alive. Thompson Herah narrowly missed out on breaking the 33-year-old 100m world record, a feat previously thought impossible. She is a five-time Olympic Champion and the fastest woman over both the 100m and 200m.

 

Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce:

Widely regarded as the greatest female sprinter of all time, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce has been making history since 2008 when she became Jamaica’s first female Olympic gold medallist over 100m. She has not looked back since, with eight Olympic medals and 12 World Championship medals, respectively. The self-branded “Mommy Rocket” is a shining example that women can transition to motherhood and still have a successful career. She ran her fastest time, the second-fastest in history at 10.60, in 2021 at the age of 34.

 

Stafanie Taylor:

West Indies Women’s captain Stafanie Taylor has shown that cricket is not just a gentleman’s sport. The diminutive all-rounder is the first player in history, male or female, to ever achieve the number one ODI ranking in both batting and bowling simultaneously. At 19, she became the youngest woman to reach 1,000 One-Day International runs. She led the West Indies to a World T20 title in 2016. Taylor has the third-highest runs in a series, by a captain, in cricket history.

 

Shericka Jackson:

There aren’t many athletes who can run both the 400m and 100m sprints successfully. Shericka Jackson has been able to do so and is the fifth-best combination sprinter in history, having medalled for Jamaica in both the 100m and the 400m. She cracked the top 10 in the 200m and defines versatility.

 

Briana Williams:

She proves the adage ‘age is nothing but a number’ when it comes to her achievements on the track. The female rising star inspired her peers to dream big when she became the youngest athlete to win the women’s 100 metres and 200 metres double at the 2018 World Under-20 Championships in Tampere at the age of 16. In 2020, Briana ran a blistering first leg on the women’s 4x100m at the Olympics, becoming the youngest Olympic Gold medallist in Jamaica’s history, male or female.

 

Romelda Aiken-George:

Jamaica has done creditably in netball and none more than Jamaica’s ace goal-shooter Romelda Aiken, who became the first player to score 4,000 goals in the ANZ Championship. The six feet four inches shooter has won three netball titles with the Queensland Firebirds and has represented longevity in the sport, having played professionally in New Zealand and Australia since 2008. Aiken, along with Jamaica teammates like Jhanielle Fowler, has shown that Jamaican women have earning power in the world’s top netball leagues.

 

Alia Atkinson:

Counting 31 major medals in her long career, Alia Atkinson is the fastest black woman in swimming history. She tied the short course 100-metre breaststroke record in 2014 and became the first black woman to win a world swimming title in the process. Atkinson also set the world record in the short course 50-metre breaststroke twice, making Jamaica a bona fide contender in the event and showing the diversity of Jamaican women.

 

Tanya Lee Perkins is the head of LEEP Marketing, an author and an athlete manager.