With the island's top stars off to Europe, Tissanna Hickling delighted fans at Saturday's Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) All-Comers meet with a booming long jump effort that surpassed the World Championships qualifying standard.
Jumping in the white and brown of the GC Foster College for Physical Education and Sport, Hickling lined up her first jump perfectly and soared 6.82 metres.
The personal best mark put her 10 centimetres past the World Championships qualifying standard of 6.72 metres and made her the number 3 Jamaican long jumper of all time.
Hickling, a star during her days at St Jago High School, wasn’t surprised. “For the past weeks, I’ve been working really hard, so it was expected this evening, ” she said afterwards. Nevertheless, she was grateful that the qualifying mark had been attained. “I’m very relieved, I’m relieved and I give God thanks for that as well,” she said.
Her performance on Saturday also buried her former lifetime best in the sand at 6.70 metres and leaves her behind only Elva Goulbourne, the 2000 Olympic finalist, and Lacena Golding on the Jamaican all-time list at 7.16 and 6.87 metres, respectively.
Seemingly an inch or two taller than she was in high school, Hickling is looking ahead to the June 20-23 National Senior Championships and to jumps beyond 7 metres. “Just putting in the work, getting the right technique off the board, getting the right aggression in the run-up and I should get there by Trials, hopefully,” she said.
The meet also saw a smooth 100 metre effort from 2014 Commonwealth Games champion Kemar Bailey-Cole. The Racers Track Club sprinter left the pack at the halfway point and strode to a time of 10.26 seconds. Queried late in May, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic relay gold medallist stated: “I always show up at Trials so I’m just looking forward for Trials right now and make the team.”
The 400 metre hurdles events went to Bailey-Cole’s fellow 2014 Commonwealth champion Kaliese Spencer-Carter in 57.24 seconds and 2017 World Championship team member Ricardo Cunningham in 50.57 seconds, respectively. First year professional Anthony Carpenter looked steady in his section of the 200, winning in 20.89 seconds, and Petersfield’s 400 and 400 hurdles Carifta champion Shaquena Foote did some speed work with a 12.11 second trip in the 100 metres.
Kevona Davis of Edwin Allen High School, and St Jago’s sprinter/hurdler Vashon Vascianna controlled their wins in the 100 metres. Davis was alone when she covered the ground in 11.36 seconds and Vascianna cruised home in 10.69 seconds.