Tue | Nov 30, 2021

True talent

Jackson learns much about sprint potential in 2021

Published:Wednesday | September 29, 2021 | 2:41 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Shericka Jackson
Shericka Jackson

SHERICKA JACKSON believes her switch to the 100m and 200m has put her true athletic ability on display. In an interview posted on Monday on the World Athletics webpage, Jackson surmised that her potential went unnoticed because she ran the 400...

SHERICKA JACKSON believes her switch to the 100m and 200m has put her true athletic ability on display.

In an interview posted on Monday on the World Athletics webpage, Jackson surmised that her potential went unnoticed because she ran the 400 metres when most fans pay attention to the short sprints.

“Because I have always run 400m, a lot of people don’t actually know how good a talent I am,” reasoned Jackson, winner of bronze medals at the 2015 and 2019 World Championships and the 2016 Olympics over the one-lap distance.

“I am so grateful for this year. This year has led to so many people who never knew, to see I had that talent,” she said.

Though she placed second over 200 metres at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in Australia three years ago, 2021 was a revelation. Second to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the Jamaican Championships with personal bests of 10.77 and 21.82 seconds along the way, Jackson took the bronze medal in the 100 metres at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In all, she clicked off eight clockings under 11 seconds and shaved her best to 10.76 seconds in Tokyo.

SPRINT CAMPAIGN

Though she miscalculated her speed in the Tokyo 200-metre first round and was eliminated early, she smashed her old personal best of 22.05 seconds down to 21.81 in a whirlwind debut sprint campaign.

“I have learned so much from this year just sprinting. I have run personal bests, won medals, it was a wonderful season for me,” she told World Athletics.

“For people to see how great an athlete I can be, to run great for 100m to 400m, it’s a good feeling. A lot of people never knew I was that good,” declared Jackson.

“In 2019 I ran the 400m and got a medal, then I came back and ran the 4x400m relay, and I ran 4x100m. Basically, it went unnoticed because most people watch the sprints,” she reminded.

The interview revealed some surprise at her emergence in the short sprints.

“A lot of people don’t know, half of this season I was training for the quarter-mile,” she admits. “It was only once the season got under way that I realised I was going to sprint.”

She did 11.02 over 100 metres on May 28, and she and her MVP track club coach, Paul Francis, decided to instead focus on the 200m, also tackling the 100m in a bid to earn a relay spot.

A splendid season ensued, capped by her anchor leg on Jamaica’s Olympic gold medal-winning 4x100m unit in Tokyo.

She also ran on Jamaica’s bronze medal 4x400-metre relay team.

Now, the 27-year-old Jackson is looking ahead.

“I love challenges and this year was one of them. The sprinting challenges me a lot. If my coach and I discuss that and I go back to the 400m, I have no problem,” she concluded.