Record-breaker Nugent looks ahead

February 04, 2019

THERE were many outstanding performances at last Saturday’s Youngster Goldsmith Classics at the National Stadium, as top contenders vying for next month’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletics Championships sent out warning shots.

Several records were broken at the meet with most of these coming in hurdles events. Undoubtedly, the most outstanding performance on the day came in the Girls Class Two 100m hurdles final, which produced a national youth record mark, as 16-year-old fifth form student at Excelsior High, Ackera Nugent, wrote her name in the record books in fine style.

Nugent clocked 12.89 seconds to win the event, which is the best time ever recorded by a Jamaican under-18 female athlete in the event. Nugent removed the previous best of 12.94 seconds set by Yanique Thompson, who did so at the 2013 IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine.

American Tia Jones’ 12.84 seconds, done in 2016, is the current World youth record in the event.

Nugent, the Youth Olympic bronze medallist, was competing in her first race since that medal run last summer in Argentina and came up against the in-form Crystal Morrison of St Jago High, who had picked up three victories so far in the season. In the end, Nugent showed supreme class for a convincing win, as Edwin Allen’s Salieci Myles was way back into second place in 13.76 seconds.

Nugent, who will be celebrating her 17th birthday on April 29, was in a buoyant mood when STAR Sports caught up with her.

“When I heard the time, I could not believe I ran so fast, because I told my coaches Michael Russell and Douglas Williams that I do not expect to run fast this season,” said Nugent.

“When I heard I was in my room upstairs and I ran downstairs to my mother screaming and she was wondering what was wrong. She told me to relax and congratulated me and we prayed together, thanking God for the achievement,” she continued.

Nugent who was plagued with injuries for most of last season, stated that she was motivated by her achievement in Argentina.

“On Saturday, I was very nervous at the start of the race because it was my first for the season and I knew that Crystal was in excellent form and I didn’t know what to expect. We have had some very serious battles for the past year and I was wondering how I would perform,” added Nugent, who stated that Morrison is her best friend off the track.

After an excellent start to the season, she was asked about her projection for the remainder of the season.

“I do not like to predict for the future because at the start of every season you have a different objective and after so many injuries last year, I want to remain healthy and injury free for the remainder of the season and with God’s willing, I want to at least run a 12.6,” she said.

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