Athletics-Shericka Jackson and Yohan Blake win Jamaican 100m titles in season-best times

KINGSTON (Reuters) - Shericka Jackson sped to season best 10.77secs (wind +0.9 m/s) to turn back the challenege of Olympic Champion Elaine Thompson-Herah to win her first Jamaican 100m title on Friday in Kingston.

In the absence of four-time World Champion and wild card holder Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who opted not to contest the semifinal after blazing to 10.70 in Thursday’s prelimaneries, Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Jackson, produced a good start and pulled away for a big win.

Even though the start of the race was delayed for 15 minutes by issues with the starters, Jackson a two-time world championship 400m bronze medallist, told Reuters she was never bothered.

“Really and truly, I wasn’t nervous because this is something my coach (Paul Francis) and I has been working on how to perform in the finals. And I think I did that today and ran a massive season best, so I can’t complain,” she said.

“I did pretty good with the start tonight... now I’m looking forward to winning a first world title in the 100m in Oregon. I will be doubling at the world championships and I will now work on winning a gold,” Jackson told Reuters.

Kemba Nelson, fresh off her silver medal at the NCAA Championships in the United States also held off a fast finishing Thompson-Herah, to take second in a career best 10.88secs, some 11 hundredths of a second behind Jackson.

2011 World Champion Yohan Blake rolled back the years logging 9.86secs (wind +1.0 m/s), his fastest time since his career best 9.69 in 2012 - to win a fifth National 100m title.

The 32-year-old outlasted 21 year-old challenger Oblique Seville in a battle to the line. Seville stopped the clock at 9.88secs ahead of 20-year-old Ackeem Blake, who took third in 9.93secs.

The 2012 Olympic double sprint silver medallist said tonight’s race signalled the return of Jamaican male sprinting.

“The 4 by 100m relay is looking great. The male sprint is up there again and we are looking to challenege the world again,” Blake told Reuters.

Blake dedicated the win to his dad, who suffered a stroke a fews days ago. “I just came out here to do this for him because I’ve been in disarray all week and just kept strong to win,”

Olympic finalist Janieve Russell produced a season best 53.63secs on the back of a blazing finish off the last hurdle to catch and pass Shiann Salmon (53.82secs PB) to win her fourth national 400m hurdles title.

Rushell Clayton, the 2019 world Championship bronze medallist ended third in 54.29secs.

Russell, the 2018 Commonwealth Games Champion told Reuters that while her execution wasn’t perfect the win showed that she had grit and a fighting spirit.

“Refreshing, and it shows that you should not give up.” She said.

“It has given me a lot of confidence (going to the world championships). This is the first season I can remember that I don’t have any major injuries. So I just I feel really good,” Russell added.

The men’s equivalent went to Olympic finalist Jaheel Hyde in 48.51secs ahead of Kemar Mowatt 48.53 and Shawn Rowe 49.66secs.

“Everything is coming into place at the right time. I started off the season slow, but having recovered from covid-19 two weeks ago, I’m happy with how things are progressing,” Hyde told Reuters.

Reporting by Kayon Raynor in Kingston; Editing by Michael Perry