Tue | Aug 20, 2019

National champion racing against time

Published:Wednesday | May 22, 2019 | 12:19 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Jahnoy Thompson (centre) winning the men 200m ahead of Nigel Ellis (right) and Rasheed Dwyer (left) at the JAAA/SVL National Senior Championships in 2018.
Jahnoy Thompson (centre) winning the men 200m ahead of Nigel Ellis (right) and Rasheed Dwyer (left) at the JAAA/SVL National Senior Championships in 2018.

Jahnoy Thompson, last year’s national men’s 200-metre champion, is racing against time. Slowed by a foot injury, the 6’ 2” sprinter is just getting back into the training groove he feels he needs to retain his title. Speaking recently, Thompson remains hopeful of a timely return to full fitness.

“I had a stress reaction in my left foot, so I missed a lot of training”, said the White Hill native. “I missed like two solid months of training, so right now, I’m just trying to get back into the groove of things.”

The recurring injury worsened this year. “It started late January, so it was from like from February and ‘March-ish’, so basically I couldn’t like jog on it, couldn’t do anything on it,” he reported.

At the 2018 National Senior Championships, Thompson produced personal-best times of 20.29 and 20.21 seconds in the semis and final to book a ticket to the NACAC Championships and the CAC Games, where he finished fifth and fourth, respectively. Having run for Maggotty High, Manchester High, Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO) and now Louisiana State University (LSU), he relished the international experience.

“It’s like I got a little piece of the cake, you know, and it just made me more hungry for the whole cake,” he declared.

A consistent block of training has made him cautiously optimistic about the upcoming NCAA Regional Championships and the Nationals, which are set for Kingston next month. “Let’s say I run like a 20.4 comfortably, I’d know that I could come and retain my title.”

So far, Akeem Bloomfield is the fastest Jamaican in the 200 metres at 20.24 seconds.

While this year’s big target is the World Championships, Thompson has Olympic aspirations.

“I feel like every athlete’s dream is to go to the Olympics”, he stated plainly. “If this season doesn’t work out as I planned it to work out, I just got to refocus and get right for next season, 2020 Olympics.”

By then, he could be running the 400 metres, an event in which he has run 46.67 seconds.

“This might sound kind of stupid, but I really love the 400m,” Thompson intimated. “I prefer the 400m over the 200m.”

“I missed out on training and stuff, so I just switched to the 200m,” the LSU senior outlined with regard to his 2018 event choices. “But I feel like in the future, I’m going to probably go back to the 400m.”

Last year, the long strider was the first-choice first-leg man for the LSU 4x400m team that clocked 3 minutes 00.55 seconds.