Van Niekerk is back to his previous best. Russel runs world lead at the Texas relays, the Jamaican Champs delivered new stars, and Fraser-Pryce debuted her season at Zyon’s school.
What a week we’ve had in Track and Field! The Jamaican Secondary School Championships brought the athletics world to a standstill with astonishing performances from Bouwahjgie Nkrumie and Alana Reid, who won the boys and girls 100m titles. At the Texas relays, the international field was just oozing with class all over as the women’s 4x100m produced fast times while Masai Russel runs a world lead in the women’s 100m Hurdles. At the South African Championships, Wayde van Niekerk looks like he’s back to his top form after storming to yet another 400m National title and running the fastest time on South African Soil.
Wayde Van Niekerk is back, for real, this time!
It’s been almost five years since we saw Wayde Van Niekerk this dominant and imperious. That was his At the South African National Championships last weekend, we say a different Van Niekerk. This time he looks completely reborn.
Since suffering that horrible injury in 2017, his journey back to the top seems to be nearing top shape after he ran 44.17s to win his fifth national title, the first of which he won in 2013. He cantered through his semis in 45.99. Does that mean he is back to full form? Not quite yet.
Smooth, calm, and powerful. This was his trademark style when he had a stranglehold of the 400m between 2015 and 2017 before his career-halting injury. It was during this period he won two world titles and an Olympic title and broke the world record.
Van Nierkerk’s journey back to the top has been long and arduous. He started to build back momentum in 2020, shortly before Covid-19 hit, and got to the semi-final of the 400m at the Tokyo Olympics. Prior to the Games, he had run under 45s for the first time in three years. Last year, he peaked at 44.33.
Surly, he’s really looking like his previous self, and the win just shows how much patience is needed on the journey back to the top. There is a strong feeling this is the year he reaps the full dividend.
Bouwahjgie Nkrumie and Alana Reid hug the headlines at Jamaican Champs.
For a championship that has spanned over a century, the Jamaican High school championships, popularly known as “CHAMPS,” always find a new way of thrilling audiences all the time. New discoveries are made, records are broken, and already-made superstars tweet about it; it is safe to say it’s the world championships for Secondary school.
And, like every world championship, new stars are born. This time, both Bouwahjgie Nkrumie and Alana Reid stormed to victory in the Boys and Girls 100m finals in record time. Nkrumie of Kingston College ran a blazing 9.99s, a new personal best, a Jamaican national U-20 record, and a Champs meet record. Only Letsile Tebogo of Botswana (9.91 World U20 record at Cali, Colombia in 2022) and Trayvon Bromell of the U.S. (9.97 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2014) have run faster as teenagers.
Interestingly, Nkrumie won Silver at the World Junior Championship last year in Cali behind Tebogo. However, what the CHAMPS does to him is to give him an aura that he’s the best junior going into the rest of the season.
It was a tale of the impossible getting done for Reid. The Hydel senior ran an astonishing 10.92s to break the Jamaican Champs and National U20 records. Reid, the World U20 bronze medalist last summer, moved ahead of Brianna Williams (10.97) and Tina Clayton (10.95) on the World U20 all-time list. Reid joins the collection of young Jamaican sprinters who have broken through the last two years. She added the 200m title to it too. With Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah, and Shericka Jackson either winding down the clock on their careers or getting past their peak, the Island nation obsessed with the sport knows fully way the future is safe for them.
Erriyon Knighton wins 100m at Florida Relays and shows improvement.
US sprint sensation Erriyon Knighton is undoubtedly one of the most prodigious sprinters of his era. As seen by his exploits over the 200m in the last two years, the 19-year-Old has broken all of Usain Bolt’s junior records in the half-lap as well as adding a world championships medal.
Although Knighton rarely races over the 100m, he opened his season over the distance with a 9.98s (+2.1m/s) to win over Liberia’s Joseph Fahnbulleh. His Personal Best still remains at 10.04s because of that. There is no straight line as to how sprinters can tackle both the 100m and 200m, but it is clear to see Knighton has shown some improvements, especially with his start.
It was a fantastic way to open up his season, and although there is a very small chance Knighton will take on the 100m for the rest of the season. The competition there this year is just unreal, and the world championships bronze medalist will not want to derail his chances by not optimizing his full reach over the 200m this year. His time for the 100m will come, but not this year.
Masai Russel lays down the marker in the women’s 100m Hurdles at the Texas Relay, but can she keep the momentum?
Last year was arguably one of the most competitive in the women’s 100mH. Tobi Amusan, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Keni Harrison, and Brittney Anderson all locked horns against each other in the Diamond League and world championships. It resulted in Amusan breaking the world record in Oregon.
Masai Russell has broken ANOTHER COLLEGIATE RECORD! 🥳🎉
— BBN Tonight (@BBNTonight) April 3, 2023
Now, we can safely add Masai Russel to the list. The graduate student from Potomac, Maryland, exploded to the top of the charts at the Texas Relays in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, setting the collegiate record in the event with a scintillating time of 12.36 (2.0) seconds. Russell eclipsed the mark of 12.39s set by Brianna Rollins of Clemson in 2013.
Though it was a perfect wind reading gauge, the time would have been much lower in normal conditions. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that we have another major competitor to spice things up over the distance as the season takes shape.
Hat off: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce makes light work of high school mothers
One of the trending videos in the world of sports this weekend was multiple world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser jogging to victory in a mother’s race at her son’s prep school inter-house sport. It got fans salivating, brought back memories, and, most importantly, got people talking about the sport. Not times were recorded, but it still went viral.
These are some of the contents the global body of the sports world athletics should be looking at. Stories that stir emotions. The sport is too much confined to particular narratives, and non-fans of the sports most times don’t understand. Telling the stories of the superstars we have come to adore outside the realm of what they do on the track is important to get Track and Field to another level.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce 🇯🇲 showed up and floored everyone in the parent’s race at her boy’s school.😂😂
She is surely having fun! pic.twitter.com/F3HSg5g4c7
— oluwadare (@Track_Gazette) March 31, 2023