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Stars hail Jamaican hospitality

Welcomed return for Racers Grand Prix

Published:Monday | June 5, 2023 | 12:27 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Winner of the Racers Grand Prix men’s 200 metres, American Noah Lyles (left), with world record holder Usain Bolt at the National Stadium on Saturday night. Noah clocked a meet record 19.67 seconds.
Winner of the Racers Grand Prix men’s 200 metres, American Noah Lyles (left), with world record holder Usain Bolt at the National Stadium on Saturday night. Noah clocked a meet record 19.67 seconds.
Nigerian world record holder  Tobi Amusan checks the time after winning the women’s 100 metres hurdles at the Racers’ Grand Prix at the National Stadium on Saturday night. Amusan won in 12.57 seconds.
Nigerian world record holder Tobi Amusan checks the time after winning the women’s 100 metres hurdles at the Racers’ Grand Prix at the National Stadium on Saturday night. Amusan won in 12.57 seconds.
Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa celebrates after winning the men’s 400 metres at last Saturday’s Racers Grand Prix in a meet record  44.21 seconds.
Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa celebrates after winning the men’s 400 metres at last Saturday’s Racers Grand Prix in a meet record 44.21 seconds.
Shericka Jackson powers to victory in a meet record 10.78 seconds in the women’s 100m A final at the Racers Grand Prix on Saturday night.
Shericka Jackson powers to victory in a meet record 10.78 seconds in the women’s 100m A final at the Racers Grand Prix on Saturday night.
Christian Coleman of the United States wins the men’s 100m  A final at the Racers Grand Prix on Saturday night at the National Stadium. Coleman won in 10.03 seconds.
Christian Coleman of the United States wins the men’s 100m A final at the Racers Grand Prix on Saturday night at the National Stadium. Coleman won in 10.03 seconds.
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The heavens might have opened and some of the highlighted stars were missing, but the return of the Racers Grand Prix on Saturday gave the Jamaican crowd at the National Stadium a night of season-changing performances, with international stars embracing the Jamaican atmosphere and a potential symbolic passing of the torch between the past and present world 200 metres champions.

The first Racers Grand Prix since 2019 could not thwart the showers that fell at the stadium pushing back the start of the women’s triple jump, but it subsided in time for the events on track to start promptly. The meet was highlighted by great performances on the track and in the field.

World Championships silver medallist Shericka Jackson clocked a meet-record 10.78 to win the women’s 100m A final. It was a target that she manifested having reassessed her goals as she continues her march towards surpassing her 100m season last year

“I was actually rewriting my goals and I took them down because there was something more inside of me that I really wanted to achieve,” Jackson said, “And I think the goal I set for the 100m I definitely was satisfied. I actually wrote 10.78 on a piece of paper. I wanted to run 10.75, but I would take 10.78.”

World 200m champion Noah Lyles delivered on his promise to make a statement of intent in front of the Jamaican crowd, winning the men’s 200m in a meet record and world-leading time of 19.67. His performance was lauded by the fans as well as multiple world and Olympic champion Usain Bolt whom he shared a moment with at trackside.

BETTER PERFORMANCE

“A good crowd makes a better performance. What we got (on Saturday) was nothing short of amazing,” Lyles said in his Television Jamaica interview.

That sentiment was shared by many of the international stars including world 100m hurdles champion and world record-holder Tobi Amusan who won her event in a season’s best of 12.57.

“On Friday I was having a conversation with my coach and I felt like this is the first time that I am heading to a track meet and I feel like an athlete. The love, the treatment, and the hospitality is massive. I’m just thankful for the atmosphere,” Amusan said.

Former World and Olympic 400m champion and current world record-holder Wayde Van Niekerk who made his return to Jamaica was glad to be back in familiar territory after winning the men’s 400m A final in 44.21 seconds, a new meet record

“I was excited to be amongst the Jamaican crowd. I was hoping to use the energy to my advantage so I feel like it was a positive show and I was very confident,” Van Niekerk said.

Former world 100m champion Christian Coleman who won the Men’s 100m A final in 10.03 is looking forward to a return to Jamaica, relishing his first experience competing at the National Stadium.

“If you guys will have me back, I will be back. I had a lot of fun.,” Coleman said, “Jamaican track fans are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the sport and that’s what makes it fun when you have fans that appreciate the talent in the track and field world.”

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com