Sat | Dec 9, 2023

Jackson is number four, says Track and Field News

Published:Friday | December 30, 2022 | 1:05 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer

2022  World 200 metres champion Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson.
2022 World 200 metres champion Jamaica’s Shericka Jackson.

Respected United States journal Track and Field News has mirrored World Athletics by naming Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis and American 400-metre hurdler Sydney McLaughlin as its male and female athletes of the year. However, while voting for the women’s World Athletics award eliminated Jamaica’s 200-metre World champion Shericka Jackson when the list of candidates was cut from 10 to five, she appears at number four on the Track and Field News list of the top-10 female athletes of 2022, with illustrious compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce at number five.

Twenty-seven of the publication’s 31-member panel of international experts gave McLaughlin their first-place vote. The others in the top five are Venezuelan triple jumper Yulimar Rojas, who received three first-place votes, Kenyan 1500-metre runner Faith Kipyegon, Jackson and Fraser Pryce, who got the remaining first-place vote.

To explain Jackson’s inclusion in the top five, the journal wrote, “long consigned to playing a back-up role behind legends Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson Herah, Jackson emerged as the top Jamaican at age 28. She did end up behind Fraser-Pryce in the World Championships 100m, but added a gold in the 200m. Her best times sent her rocketing up the all-time lists, to No. 2 in the half-lapper (21.45 seconds) and No. 6 on the straight away (10.71 seconds). In the 200m she also cranked out a 21.55 (the number-four performance ever) and had a half-dozen sub-22 clockings.”

The publication gave due credit to Fraser Pryce, noting, “the 35-year-old speedster was spectacularly consistent in the 100m having consecutive finals of 10.67 (A), 10.67, 10.67, 10.66, 10.67, 10.62, 10.73 and 10.65 as she produced the year’s eight fastest times. The World Champs gold medallist was an obvious number-one in the 100m, and also earned a number-two in the 200m, her silver-medal event.”

It was very close. Jackson scored 197 to 196 for Fraser Pryce as the panel polled on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

The World Athletics top five comprised McLaughlin, who set two world records, fellow world record-breakers Rojas and Nigerian 100-metre hurdler Tobi Amusan, double walk World champion Kimberly Garcia of Peru, and Fraser Pryce.

Regarding McLaughlin, Track and Field News wrote on December 28, “the fastest 400-metre hurdler ever may have had just a minimalist four-meet season in her flagship event, but the 22-year-old’s effect on the event’s lists was decidedly maximalist. All-time she produced two world records (51.41 & 50.68) plus the numbers five, six and 10 all-time performances (51.61, 51.68, 52.17). For 2022 she had the year’s five- fastest performances. Her five fastest times averaged 51.510, faster than anybody else has ever run in a single race,” the editors said.

Rojas produced the longest triple jump ever, 15.74 metres, to win the World Indoor Championships. She added the outdoor World Championships and the Diamond League final.

“In many other seasons, the planet’s top triple jumper would have been elected Athlete of the Year, but Rojas had the bad fortune to run into the buzz saw that was McLaughlin,” said the publication.

Amusan, winner of 10 of her 17 races in 2022, appears at number six.