Initially fearful “I was scared when my coach told me I was going to run the 200m at trials. But, I worked with him. He’s a great coach so I tried to execute and follow his instructions,” Thompson said. “I am surprised because I didn’t love the 200m. I had always told myself that I cannot run the event, but my coach said to take that out my brain because I can be a good 200m runner and I just worked with him and he turned me into a good 200-metre runner,” Thompson added. The youngster will now turn her attention to the women’s 4x100m where she is expected to feature in the final. – A.L. Tried hard BEIJING, China: Between 2009 and the end of last year, Elaine Thompson had competed in a mere eleven 200-metre races. Before her heat at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing on Wednesday, Thompson had made only two international appearances in the event. Two races later, she is the World Championships silver medallist in an event she had no idea she would be good at. Thompson signalled her intention from her very first race at the championships, easing to a conformable 22.78 seconds win before also taking her semi-final in another comfortable display, posting 22.13, setting up a clash with Dutch star Dafne Schippers, the 100m silver medal winner, who had also looked impressive throughout the two rounds. In the final, Thompson came off the curve in front of the powerful Dutch sprinter but could not hold her off as Schippers crossed the line in 22.63 making her the second-fastest woman in history. Thompson took the silver in an equally jaw-dropping personal-best time of 21.66 with Veronica Campbell-Brown finishing third in 21.97. Thompson was elated with the result, stating that she did everything she could to hold off the towering Dutchwoman, but underlining that she had no regrets given her efforts. “I have to give God thanks. I came back second with a big PB. I cannot complain. I was really trying to get to the line. I saw her coming and I was trying to pull through, but I came in second,” said Thompson, who is now the second-fastest Jamaica in the event after Merlene Ottey’s national record 21.64 set in 1991. “My coach Stephen Francis has prepared me well physically and mentally, so I just came out here, delivered and executed as best as I can,” Thompson said. “The plan was to come out as quickly as I can. I knew she has a strong finish and I had to get out first but she still caught me.” Thompson said she is extremely surprised by her performances and by the new personal best mark that she achieved, especially considering she never considered the 200m an event she is good at.
PRESIDENT of the Jamaica Volleyball Association (JaVA), Rudolph Speid, says the success of the island’s players at the CAZOVA Under-19 Championships on the weekend is the reward of a decision to invest in the sport’s youngest.”We decided to invest heavily in youth development,” a pleased Speid told The Gleaner yesterday.The Jamaicans dethroned Barbados to take home the title, becoming the first Jamaican team to win an international indoor volleyball title.Jamaica’s female volleyballers won the regional beach volleyball title in May.”This is the best-prepared volleyball team to ever come out of Jamaica. We scouted these players five months ago. We did three weekend camps and, over the last three weeks, they have been in permanent camp,” said Speid.”We have natural athletes; we just need to harness the talent,” he added.JaVa’s VISIONThe success of the teams was part of Speid’s vision, which he and his team, that includes Tracy Findlay, Steve Davis and G.C. Foster College, embarked upon a year ago when he assumed the presidency.”They are the ones who brought out the vision of JaVA,” he said.Part of the youth investment involves the primary-school competition, the formation of parish associations – seven have been formed so far – as well as the re-launch of the adult male and female Premier Leagues.”We are decentralising the control of volleyball from the Corporate Area and spread it right across Jamaica. Some of these players are from right across Jamaica,” he said.”Our mandate was always to move volleyball from recreational to commercialise, professionalise and popularise … that’s our mantra what we are working on now, and that’s how we approach things now,” he said.He noted that volleyball is played islandwide despite its low profile, and the plan was to start a church league.”Sports administration is sport administration anywhere, and once you follow them, you get good results.”With our natural athletes, the sky is the limit,” Speid said.