Shericka Jackson having fun over 200m

Observer writer

Friday, June 29, 2018

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She runs with a smile that tells the tale of someone enjoying what she does.

Since leaving high school, Shericka Jackson has concentrated almost exclusively on the 400m, but while at Vere Technical, she competed in a lot of different events for her school.

This season Jackson has almost reverted to her high school days, but the big difference is that there is no championship on the line.

The 23-year-old has shelved her regular 400m for the 200m and, more recently the 100m this season, and has been having a lot of fun running the shorter distances.

One of the benefits of switching to the 200m this year is that she claimed her first national title at the distance at the recently concluded Jamaica Administrative Athletic Association (JAAA)/Supreme Ventures Senior and Junior Championships.

Her cheerful post-race interview told of the joy the MVP athlete had at the championships, where so many things seemed to go wrong in other areas for other people.

“It was a pretty good run tonight (Sunday). I said it before coming to the trials, about two weeks ago, that the slowest I wanted to run was 22.2, and I ran 22.2 so I am grateful,” said Jackson.

The newly minted 200m women's champion ran 22.28s to win the final ahead of Sprintec's Shashalee Forbes, who was second in 22.93, and Jodean Williams of UWI Mona third in 23.53s.

The 2016 Olympic Games 400m bronze medallist admitted to having benefitted from helpful scheduling changes at the championships.

“Not having any heats and semis helped a lot, because after the 100m my legs weren't feeling so well, but I think not having to run the semi-final last night was a pretty good thing. I think it helped me a lot,” she noted.

The 100m results that she was able to achieve came as a huge surprise to her.

“I guess [running] the 100m was to gain some speed. I didn't know I would have come third in the hundred, but I wanted a personal best. When I heard I must sign up for the 100 along with the 200, I was kind of having a little doubt then, but I said I must trust my coach and trust the training, and I came out with a personal best so I am happy,” Jackson said with her infectious smile.

This season has revealed to most of the rest of the world the level of versatility that Jackson has and she is “grateful” for the opportunity to showcase her vast talent.

“It's good that I can do the 100, 200 and 400. Not many athletes can do that, so I am grateful I am one of them,” she beamed.

Despite all the fun she has been having, however, the 2015 Beijing World Championships 400m bronze medallist will revert to her specialist event in 2019.

“I think I will be going back to the 400m. It's good that I am having a lot of fun in the 200m and running faster,” she explained.

Having fun is important, but it is fun with a purpose. Clearly the emphasis on the 200m is to increase her sprinting speed ahead of the next three years when back-to-back major championships will be held.

“Last Olympics, when I was running 22.8, I ran 49.8, so I just want to ensure I stay on the right path and see how fast I can go in the 200m,” she reasoned.

At the rate that she is cutting down her 200m time, Jackson may be looking to challenge the national 400m record of 49.30 set by Lorraine Fenton way back in 2002 when she returns to running the distance next year.

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