Jamaica Premier League
Jamaica Premier League
Jamaica Premier League
Thea LaFond is gearing up for another successful season after achieving remarkable success last year. LaFond, who is based in Ashburn, Virginia, is excited to see how her hard work during the offseason will translate into her performances this year.
The year 2022 was a massive one for the 29-year-old LaFond, who won gold at the NACAC Championships in The Bahamas and a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games Birmingham, England. She was also fifth in the finals at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon. However, with that success she has no intention of resting on her laurels as the 2023 season continues to unfold.
“Last season’s medals were truly an amazing experience,” she told Sportsmax.TV. “To build on last year’s success, I have gotten stronger and faster, and I’m eager to see how that translates through the season.”
LaFond has set her sights on achieving a jump of 15m or more this year.
“15m plus is definitely one of the major goals for championships and beyond,” she said. “This season, we are really focused on upping the energy and working on timing up the phases a bit better for even bigger and active contacts in the jumps.”
Despite fierce competition from the imperious Venezuelan triple jumper, three-time world champion Yulimar Rojas, the current world record holder, who has dominated the event in recent years, LaFond maintains a positive mindset.
“I think that my mentality is that I am always battling it out for three medals. Always,” said LaFond. “Rojas is very good, there is no denying that, but anything can happen at any meet. Coming into a competition with anything less of that mentality is setting yourself up for failure. I’m bringing my best and trying to win.”
Despite the hard work put in during the off season, her indoor season-opener of 14.08m at the Don Kirby Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico was less than impressive but being a quick study, she made the necessary adjustments and did much better shortly thereafter popping a 14.60m jump. She cited approach issues for the relatively poor opener.
“One of the major takeaways was to be patient in my drive phase and to bring my knee higher so I’m not getting over-rotated in my second phase,” said LaFond who is set to compete next in May at a meet in Savona, Italy.
She acknowledges the impact her recent success has had on the youth of Dominica and is grateful for their support.
“The Commonwealth and NACAC medals were received with such joy in Dominica. I think that as an athlete that lives and trains abroad, I’m really only privy to what people say online,” she said.
“I was grateful for the online posts of love and support that followed those medals. However, when I finally got to go home the love was overflowing. I really had no clue how much I impacted the youth of Dominica and how much I was seen as an inspiration. I am so grateful to have the support of my people and it is always an honor to represent my nation.”
LaFond is also focused on the upcoming World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, with her coach Aaron Gadson. “My plans for Budapest are to go and compete with all my heart. The goal is a medal and 15m. It’s time for Dominica to have a woman World medalist, and I’m ready to do the work to get there,” she said.
Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion – sports.
Edwin Allen standout sprinter Serena Cole has signed a professional contract with Nike, well-placed sources have confirmed to Sportsmax.TV. According to other sources, she will train under the guidance of world-renowned coach Stephen Francis at the MVP Track Club in Kingston.
A talented long jumper, Cole, who turns 19 in June, is the latest Jamaican female sprinter to join the professional ranks straight out of high school following on the heels of World U20 100m champion Tina Clayton, her twin sister Tia and Kerrica Hill, the World U20 100m hurdles champion.
Several calls to Edwin Allen Head Coach Michael Dyke and a call to MVP President Bruce James went unanswered on Thursday.
The two-time World U20 champion was a member of Jamaica’s 4x100m team that set three World U20 records in the Women U20 4x100m relay. She was the lead-off runner when the team ran 42.94 at the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya in 2021.
Cole was also the lead-off runner in April 2022 on a team that also included the Clayton twins and Brianna Lyston that established a new record of 42.58 at the 49th edition of the Carifta Games in Kingston, Jamaica. Unfortunately, that record was not ratified by World Athletics because one member of the team, Tina Clayton, was not drug tested.
However, at the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia in August last year, Cole, the Claytons, and Kerrica Hill ran 42.59, which was later ratified as the new world record.
With personal best in the 100m of 11.13, Cole was heading towards an epic showdown with Hydel High School’s Alana Reid at the 2023 ISSA GraceKennedy Boys and Girls Championships in March but suffered a hamstring injury while cruising to victory in her semi-final heat in 11.17.
Reid won would go to win the final in a new ‘Champs’ record of 10.92, becoming the first Jamaican high school girl to break the 11-second barrier. Reid is reportedly matriculating to the University of Oregon in the fall.
Cole is currently with the Edwin Allen team at the Penn Relays in the United States.
St. Elizabeth Technical, Kingston College, Wolmer’s Boys and Jamaica College were among the fastest qualifiers to the High School Boys Championship of America 4x100m final on Thursday’s day one of the 2023 Penn Relays at the Franklin Field.
STETHS with 41.32 were joint fastest qualifiers alongside Florida’s IMG Academy. Kingston College was next fastest with a 41.72 clocking to win their heat. Wolmer’s Boys (41.79) and Jamaica College (41.85) also advanced as heat winners. Camperdown (42.03) and St. Jago (42.03) will also be in the Championship of America final scheduled for Friday.
The High School Boys International final, also scheduled for Friday, will feature seven Jamaican schools as well as one each from the Bahamas and Trinidad & Tobago.
St. George’s College, Calabar, Excelsior, Herbert Morrison, St. Catherine High, Edwin Allen and William Knibb all advanced as well as Queen’s Royal College from Port-of-Spain and St. Augustine’s from Nassau.
In the 4x800m, Kingston College and STETHS both advanced to the final set for Friday.
KC won their heat in 7:54.79 while STETHS recorded 7:55.96 to finish second in their heat behind Charlotte Catholic (7:54.44).
Defending champions Jamaica College originally ran 7:49.29 to comfortably win their heat but were subsequently disqualified after it was revealed that they used an ineligible runner.
In the field, Calabar’s Kobe Lawrence won the High School Boys shot put with 20.43m ahead of St. Rose’s Joshua Huisman (19.40m) and St. Jago’s Shaiquan Dunn (18.07m).
JC’s Raquil Broderick was third in the discus with 61.92m behind University Garden’s Nathan Villegas -Reyes (62.49m) and Southern Regional’s Fabian Gonzalez (61.94m).
St. Jago’s Demario Prince jumped out to 7.42m to win the long jump ahead of Archbishop John Carroll’s Camren Williams (7.32m) and KC’s Nathan Wade (7.22m).
Three men cleared 1.98m in the high jump with the KC pair of Isaiah Patrick and Aaron McKenzie finishing second and third, respectively, behind Bloomfield’s Ja’Mari Manson.
JC’s Gabriel Lim won the javelin with 61.24m ahead od Danville’s Bronson Krinak (60.31) and Riverside’s Joseph Reed (59.26).
15.17m was the winning mark in the triple jump by JC’s Trevon Hammer. Potomac’s Ty’heak Buie produced 14.88m for second while KC’s Javar Thomas was third with 14.81m.
Ray Harvey, the co-founder and organizer of the MILO Western Relays on Monday pleaded with authorities to expedite repairs to the track at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, the traditional home of the relays. The track has been out of commission for the past five years.
“I am one of hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people who want Western Relays to go back home. I have been waiting patiently for five years for the track to be repaired, it just hasn’t happened and we just have to keep our fingers crossed that it will happen sometime soon,” Harvey said during a ceremony at GC Foster College in St Catherine on Monday when cash prizes were handed over to the schools who participated in this year’s meet at the sports college that has hosted the meet for the past few years.
Harvey noted that having a working track in Montego Bay is integral to the development of track and field in western Jamaica. In addition to the Milo Western Relays and other athletics meets, the Montego Bay Sports Complex also used to host a number of other events leading up to the relays.
They include seminars for coaches and athletes regarding drugs in sports, physical fitness and nutrition and baton-passing clinics for 10 and 11 year olds as well as training sessions for meet officials.
Those activities have ceased for the past five years.
“It is kind of a tragedy what is going on in Western Jamaica regarding the track and everything that is happening and what has been in the news recently,” said Harvey while making reference to a revelation that racing cars were being driven on the worn-out running surface.
“I would like to take this opportunity to call on the government to restore that track, get it back up because it is a pride for the Western teams and they have always been consistent and I think not having access to that facility is kinds robbing Western Jamaica of their true and full potential,” Harvey continued.
“We are looking forward to going back to Montego Bay because we are also robbing the spectators or the ardent track and field supporters that opportunity to see their home grown talent performing with the best in the country.”
The meet organizer also revealed that he would be subsidizing the travel expenses of the teams that had to travel from western Jamaica to St Catherine to collect their prize money.
“We have a special programme to support the teams from the West. We recognize that they are not able to be at home in Montego Bay. They have to travel. It is expensive to travel so we are offering six teams a subsidy towards their travel here coming to GC Foster College. They are getting two touches. One, this prize money and two the transportation money so the teams from the West, several of them will get two cheques.
Edwin Allen were big winners as they collected a cheque for JMD$210,000 having won five of six relays at the last meet. Coach Abna Stoner and athletes Jounee Armstrong and Dylan Logan, were on hand to receive the prize money.
The Clarendon-based track power’s girls won the Class I 4x100m, 4x400m and the 4x800m relays while the boys won the Class I 4x100m, 4x400m and placed third in the 4x800m.
Edwin Allen bagged the largest cash bounty of the 10 schools that benefited financially. The other winners included Kingston College (JMD $50,000), Holmwood Technical (JMD $50,000), Excelsior High School (JMD $40,000), St. Jago High School (JMD $20,000), Vere Techincal JMD ($20,000), Mt. Alvernia High School (JMD $15,000), Bellfield High School (JMD $5,000) and Green Island High School (JMD $5,000).
“I am happy to come all the way from the West to GC Foster College to present Edwin Allen a decent cheque. Its $210,000. They have supported Western Relays from (the) beginning and one of the schools we can always count on at Western Relays to put on a show and to make our product into something special,” said Harvey
Coach Stoner of Edwin Allen was gracious in his reply.
“We are so grateful for (this) presentation because I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it and looked at the figure. This is really a shot in the arm and it will go a long way in contributing to the programme,” he said.
“This week we will be departing for Penn Relays and with all the logistics – airfare, pocket money for students, it is a pretty penny and this money that we got, it really can help to develop the programme.” Edwin Allen departed the island for the Penn Relays on Tuesday.
Apr 25, 2023 Athletics
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