World champion Tajay Gayle stamped a ticket to his first Olympics Games on Saturday night when he jumped 8.23m to win the men’s long jump title at the JAAA National Championships at Kingston’s National Stadium.
Gayle, who upstaged the competition in landing gold at the 2019 World Championships in Qatar, won his second National long jump title in the process but was made to work hard for the victory as CareyMcLeod of the University of Tennessee forced him all the way.
Gayle took an early lead with 8.03m but McLeod, who also qualified for the men’s triple jump competition at next month’s Tokyo Olympics, assumed the lead with 8.06m.
Tajay Gayle responded like a champion and leapt 8.22m on his second last jump and although McLeod reacted positively with 8.14m, Gayle proved too good in the end and extended his lead to 8.23m on his final effort.
Also qualified to don the black, green and gold of Jamaica at the Olympics are World Championships silver medallist Shanieka Ricketts, who won the women’s triple jump with 14.46m in a dominant display, and Kimberly Williams, who landed at 14.19m for second place.
Also on that plane to Asia will be Danniel Thomas-Dodd, who also won silver at the last World Championships in the women’s discus. Thomas-Dodd threw 18.51m for the top spot ahead of Lloydricia Cameron, who threw 18.05m, which is below the Olympic qualifying standard of 18.0m.
However, Cameron is ranked at 31st and is within the World Ranking quota of 32, which means she could earn a special invite to fill out the quota.
Another athlete who qualified for the Japan Olympics was Natoya Goule-Toppin who won her eighth 800m National title with a 1:57.84 minutes clocking.
Fedrick Dacres, who won the silver medal at the last World Championships in Qatar, also qualified for the Olympics when he threw 64.31m to win his fifth National title.
Dacres won ahead of Kai Chang with 62.68m and Chad Wright with 62.52m. Chang has not managed the qualifying standard but Wright has and will partner Dacres at the Games.
The four-day National Championships ends on Sunday with the finals of the men’s and women’s 200m and 400m, the women’s 100m hurdles final, the men’s 110m hurdles final, the men’s shot put, and the women’s 3000m.