Shericka Jackson and Roshawn Clarke produced sizzling performances to highlight an action-packed four-day Jamaica National Senior Championships held 6-9 July in Kingston.
The 200m world champion delivered a scorching run, and statement of intent, to win the women’s 100m in a lifetime best and world-leading 10.65 seconds. Jackson, who moved to equal fifth on the world all-time list, indicated afterwards that her winning time did not come as a surprise and was one of her predictions for the season.
“I wrote down this time in my phone from June when I ran 10.78 at the Racers Grand Prix,” Jackson said gleefully. “I was supposed to run 10.6 in Oslo, but so many things happened when I arrived, including my luggage going missing. PUMA saved the day when they flew in some gear for me to compete. However, I made a promise then that once the time didn’t happen in Oslo, it would definitely be at the Jamaican championships, and tonight I’m grateful to do it in front of the people I love the most.”
Jackson pulled runner-up Shashalee Forbes to a new personal best of 10.96 seconds, with 2015 World Championships finalist Natasha Morrison claiming third in a season’s best of 10.98. ALSO READ: Coach Stephen Francis Reveals Strategic Plan Behind Kishane Thompson’s Limited Participation at Jamaica Trials
Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah’s injury-plagued season had raised doubts about her competing in Budapest. And so it proved she was not in mint condition finishing no higher than fifth in a season’s best of 11.06 seconds.
The search for Jamaica’s next crop of male sprinters was answered emphatically, with some fresh faces dipping below 10 seconds. Favourites Oblique Seville and Ackeem Blake were stunned by the unheralded 21-year-old Rohan Watson, who became the joint tenth-fastest Jamaican ever after running a lifetime best of 9.91 seconds (+1.1 m/s) to claim his first 100m title at any level. Florida-based Ryiem Forde (22) ensured the script was truly shredded when he powered his way to a new personal best of 9.96 seconds to clinch second ahead of Seville (10.00).
“I’m feeling good at this moment after getting a big personal best, and I’m looking forward to the World Championships,” said the vastly improved Watson, who trains at the MVP club and whose personal best at the beginning of the 2023 season stood at 10.41 seconds.
Nineteen (19) year-old Roshawn Clarke became the first man to dip below 48 seconds in a men’s 400m hurdles event on Jamaican soil. The world U20 bronze medallist and two-time CARIFTA Games champion, who came off the final barrier with good momentum, triggered unrestrained joy from the appreciative crowd when he burst through the tape in 47.85 seconds en route to becoming domestic champion. Clarke’s amazing performance not only saw him equalling Sean Burrell’s world U20 record, but it also made him the second-fastest Jamaican all-time behind Winthrop Graham (47.60).
It was the second time a world U20 hurdles record was being equalled in Jamaica following Damion Thomas Jnr’s achievement in the men’s 110m hurdles in 2018.
Following in Clarke’s wake was two-time World U20 champion Jaheel Hyde, who clocked a season’s best 48.45, with Assinie Wilson finishing a close third (48.50).
“Going sub-48 is not a simple task for anyone, I put in the hard work, and I’m proud of myself,” Clarke opined. “My event is very exciting, and I’m definitely looking forward to going up against the big guys in Budapest.”
The women’s 400m hurdles served up a thrilling three-way tussle that resulted in a blanket finish with seasoned veteran Janieve Russell (53.75) edging Andrenette Knight (53.78) and 2019 bronze medallist Rushell Clayton (53.81). All three women registered season’s best times.
“This is my first time making a senior team, and I’m happy,” said Knight, who fell in last year’s final while leading coming off the top bend. “I wanted to win, but I played it safe and followed my coach’s instruction to not get ahead of myself and ensure that I finished in the top two.”
Andrew Hudson, who switched allegiance from the USA to Jamaica in July last year, comfortably retained his domestic 200m title in 20.11 (-0.2 m/s) ahead of Rasheed Dwyer in 20.26. Shericka Jackson completed a fine sprint double, winning the women’s 200m in 21.71 seconds (-0.5 m/s) ahead of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in 22.26.
2017 World U18 champion Antonio Watson ran a personal best of 44.54 seconds but saw his unbeaten streak come to an end in the men’s 400m after narrowly losing to Sean Bailey (44.48).
Olympic bronze medallist Megan Tapper, who registered a personal best (12.44) to win her semifinal, produced a flawless display to solidify her status as the best female 100m hurdler on the day, winning a close contest ahead of World U20 and NCAA champion Ackera Nugent 12.64 to 12.67.
Commonwealth Games champion Rasheed Broadbell produced a scintillating personal best run of 12.94 seconds (0.7 m/s) to supplant Hansle Parchment (13.12) as 110m hurdles champion.
Elsewhere, world leader, world U20 champion, and record-holder Jaydon Hibbert continued his purple patch this season, taking top honours in the men’s triple jump, bounding out to 17.68m.