Tue | Oct 4, 2022

Breaking the glass ceiling

Williamson hoping increased number of high jumpers brings new era for Jamaica on world stage

Published:Thursday | June 30, 2022 | 12:07 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
High jumper Kimberly Williamson clears 1.88 metres to win the national title on the opening day of the National Senior and Junior Championships at the National Stadium.
High jumper Kimberly Williamson clears 1.88 metres to win the national title on the opening day of the National Senior and Junior Championships at the National Stadium.

HAVING CAPTURED the national high jump title for the seventh time, Kimberly Williamson is hoping that this year’s World Championships will be the start of a consistent line of athletes challenging for global medals in the event. Williamson caused...

HAVING CAPTURED the national high jump title for the seventh time, Kimberly Williamson is hoping that this year’s World Championships will be the start of a consistent line of athletes challenging for global medals in the event.

Williamson caused an upset last Thursday on the opening day of the JAAA National Senior and Junior Championships, defeating national record holder Lamara Distin of Texas A&M University with a 1.88-metre jump. Distin could only clear 1.85 for second place, while Daniella Anglin of the University of South Dakota was third with 1.80m.

Williamson currently has a personal best of 1.93, putting her 13th in the world this year, and while she did not meet the automatic qualifying height, is in a position to be in the final 32 for next month’s World Championships along with Distin, who qualified automatically and set the new national mark, clearing 1.97 in April.

This will be the first time that two Jamaicans will be competing at the World Championships in the event.

LANDMARK MOMENT

Williamson is pleased with this prospect, calling it a landmark occasion for the country. In 201,7 Williamson was part of another landmark moment, becoming the first Jamaican woman to compete in the event on the world stage.

“We are creating history in the high jump and I am excited to be a part of that. When I went to the World Championships in 2017, I was the first female from Jamaica to have accomplished that,” Williams told The Gleaner.

“So to have two Jamaicans in the high jump, it’s breaking the glass ceiling.”

Williamson said that the increased level of competition this year has been a big benefit. Including her indoor season, she has competed in 10 events in 2022 compared to the six events she competed in last year, all of them in Jamaica.

“One of the things that I have done differently is to compete more. Coming out this season, I made sure that I had more competitions under my belt. It was more about getting ready and focusing on this meet than anything else,” Williamson said.

The year 2019 saw Jamaica getting just rewards for its increased focus on field events, grabbing four of the country’s 12 medals at the World Championships in Doha.

Williamson hopes that the increased representation in Oregon next month will signal a new frontier for Jamaica in the event with the possibilities for medals being endless.

“I think we are breaking barriers. We always had tremendous athletes in the field events. I think in the high jump we are just starting to step out, getting competitive with the rest of the world and just making our name,” Williamson said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com