Friday, April 12, 2024

AKELA JONES: A glimpse into the future

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TRACK AND FIELD FANS around the world are learning what Barbadians have known for years – Akela Jones is a special talent.

Last weekend, 20-year-old Jones left fans agog at her performances during the 2016 NCAA Division 1 Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.

But it did not start off well. In the very first event, the 60m hurdles, Jones, a senior at Kansas State University, hit the last barrier and fell, placing last.

VIDEO: @UGATrack‘s Williams runs into the record books as @KStateTFXC‘s Jones trips over last hurdle. #NCAATF pic.twitter.com/18wjUSSNcP

Undaunted, she returned with a personal best of 1.98 metres in the high jump, matching the collegiate record set in 2009.

Not only did it equal the world lead, it was also the second best indoor high jump performance ever, one centimetre behind the mark set by 2008 Olympic high jump gold medallist Tia Hellebaut at that year’s World Indoors.

 Wow! In the NCAA PENTATHLON, Akela Jones cleared 1.98m in the high jump. Second-best HJ in combined events history.pic.twitter.com/LK6yl9EWI0

Still, that was not enough to move Jones from last place.

She responded with 13.59 metres in the shot put.

Not done yet, the 2014 World Juniors long jump champion put on a clinic. She produced a leap of 6.56 metres in the first round and followed that up with 6.67 in the second (below).

VIDEO: @KStateTFXC‘s Akela Jones ties meet record in the pentathlon long jump (6.67m). pic.twitter.com/mDAIUtM9ij

Then she set the arena on fire. Jones sprang off the board for a personal best 6.80 metres.

VIDEO: She’s not done. What a jump by Akela Jones of @KStateTFXC! 6.80m! pic.twitter.com/tg8vjJQIoT

She vaulted from last to third place, but eventually abandoned the 800 metres.

“I just felt like I had enough for the day. I had to listen to my body,” Jones said after the meet.

She went on to claim an individual title with 1.87 metres in the high jump.

Track and field pundits say if Jones had hit the mark in the 60m hurdles and 800 metres, she would have broken the World Indoor record of 5 013 points.

For Barbadians, it is a wonderful glimpse into what to expect later this year ar the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. (SAT)

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