NACAC an important step, says team leader May
For athletes who aspire to success in athletics, the North American Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Senior Championships is an important step. That's the advice from Dennis May, team leader of the 37-member Jamaica team to this week's staging of the meet in Freeport, The Bahamas.
"NACAC, for me, is an important step," May said yesterday. "For me, meets like the Central American and Caribbean Games, Pan American Games, Commonwealth Games, World Championships, Olympic Games, these are the steps you make after you become a senior and leave Carifta Games. Some athletes don't understand the importance of this, what I call continuous improvement through a series of meets."
The NACAC meet is an event where athletes can earn cash. Prize money will be distributed as follows: US$2,000, first place; US$1,000, second; and US$500 third place. These prizes are for individual events. Relay teams will earn US$4,000, US$2,000, US$1,000 for podium finishes. In addition, the first two teams in the relays will qualify for next year's Pan American Games in Chile.
The NACAC team includes 200 metres national champion Andrew Hudson, whose transfer from the USA to Jamaica was incomplete at the time of the World Championships.
"I'm certain that it will be a proud moment for Andrew, having waited so long to represent his country, for various reasons. But the point is that he is here now," May commented.
May is delighted to have World 200m champion Shericka Jackson, who is down for the 100m. "I met her through Neville Myton, who was one of the persons who helped to mentor her, and I am not surprised at where she is. Neville always told me that she is one of the best 100 to 400m sprinters that Jamaica has ever seen, and she will do well because of her mindset," he said.
Jackson won the silver medal in the 100m at the recent World Championships and lowered her lifetime best to 10.71 seconds in Monaco last week.
The meet will be a platform for the continued return to fitness for 2019 World long jump champion Tajay Gayle.
"He's on his way back and I'm certain that he will embrace this competition," May commented. Gayle leapt to a season's best of 8.06 metres last week.
This team is smaller than Jamaica's 42-member 2018 squad but does include newly crowned Commonwealth 110-metre hurdles winner Rasheed Broadbell, whom May described as "a young man with a tremendous amount of potential", Olympic 100m hurdles bronze medallist Megan Tapper, and Fedrick Dacres and O'Dayne Richards, who won World Championship medals in the 2019 discus and the 2015 shot put, respectively.
In 2018, Jamaica finished second to the USA with seven gold, 10 silver and five bronze medals.