KINGSTON, Jamaica, June 26 (Reuters) - World long jump champion Tajay Gayle left it late to win his second national title on day three of the Jamaican National Trials to punch his ticket to the Tokyo Olympics next month.
Gayle, who trailed Carey McLeod (8.14 metres) after four rounds, cut the sand at 8.22 on his fifth, then 8.23 on his final attempt to signal his readiness ahead of his Olympic debut.
The national record holder with 8.69 told Reuters he has been working his way back from an injury to his right jumping leg, sustained in April.
“My most concern is injury and the knee injury I’ve been trying to overcome since season,” Gayle said.
“Since the Marimar meet I’ve been jumping with a bad knee, but hopefully by the Olympics everything will be OK. I have a meet next week in Stockholm, so I will see how that goes,” Gayle said, adding he was not feeling any pressure as the world champion.
Shanieka Ricketts, the world triple jump silver medallist, cut the sand at 14.46 metres to secure her third national title.
Kimberly Williams, who placed second with 14.19, already secured a Tokyo spot by achieving the Olympic standard last month.
World shot put silver medallist Danniel Thomas-Dodd heaved the 4kg metal ball 19.17 metres to win her sixth national title and secure passage to her second Olympics on the trot.
Reigning world championships discus silver medallist Fedric Dacres, who has battled back from surgery to repair ligament damage in his right throwing hand in November, won with a throw of 64.31 on his fourth attempt.
“Its been a struggle to he honest, but it is what is so you just have to work with the hand that you’ve been dealt,” Dacres told Reuters.
“It was a trashy series of throws, but you can’t really forsake the win, so I’m thankful for it, but I felt I could have done a lot more even with the throw that won,” Dacres said.
‘GO BACK AND REDEEM MYSELF’
On the track, reigning Olympic 110-metre hurdles champion Omar McLeod was effortless in clocking 13.04 seconds (with wind adding 1.3 metres per second) to win his semi-final and progress to Sunday’s championship decider.
Women’s world junior record holder Britany Anderson with 12.65 seconds and 2015 world champion Danielle Williams with 12.70 lead all qualifiers into the final of the 100-metre hurdles.
Natoya Goule-Toppin, a 2019 world 800-metre finalist, clocked a stadium record of 1 minute 57.84 seconds to win her eighth national title in the two-lap event.
Having moved up to number four in the world this season, Goule-Toppin told Reuters she is aiming for redemption in Tokyo after missing out on a podium finish at the last world championships in Doha.
“Whenever you get disappointments you always want to redeem yourself, and that is my aim and desire to go back to redeem myself and let them know that I’m one of the best out there in this event,” the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist said.
“I know I could have run faster - according to my coach the last 100 metres was a bit slow - but I’m really thankful for the effort anyway,” she said. “I’m just glad that my hard work is paying off because I’ve been working real hard this year and I know there’s is more to come.”
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce remained on target for the sprint double after winning her semi-final of the 200 metres, cruising to a season best 22.40 seconds.
Shericka Jackson, the second-place finisher in the 100 metres, enters the half lap final with the fastest time of 22.28 and reigning Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah with 22.90. (Reporting by Kayon Raynor in Kingston; Editing by William Mallard)