Tia Clayton basks in stellar personal best, Paris Games qualification

Tia Clayton basks in stellar personal best, Paris Games qualification

Having secured a spot on Jamaica’s team for the Olympic Games in Paris this summer, young Jamaican sprinter Tia Clayton is aiming to win her first global medal at the prestigious event.

Clayton delivered a stellar performance in the semi-finals of the women’s 100m competition on Friday, clocking a massive personal best time of 10.86 seconds. The 19-year-old significantly improved upon her previous best of 11.02, which she achieved in the heat of the competition on Thursday. Her personal best time entering the championships was 11.23.

Clayton, who is coached by Stephen Francis at MVP Track Club, continued her impressive form by racing to 10.90 in the final on Friday, finishing just behind her training partner Shericka Jackson, who won the event in 10.84.

Reflecting on her journey, Clayton, who did not advance past the 100m semi-finals at last year’s championships, expressed her emotions after securing her spot on Jamaica’s senior team for the first time since turning professional two years ago.

“This is all a part of my dream, because last year I didn’t even make it to the semi-finals, and I just came out here with a different mindset to make the team and make my mom and family proud,” Clayton said.

“I am feeling very great that I made the team, and all that I can do now is to stay mentally focused and healthy and just continue to do my best at all times and aim to win a medal at the Olympic Games.

“I always had it in mind to make the team this year, because you cannot doubt yourself. I knew that based on the form that I am in now, once I came out and executed the race properly, I would have made the team for the Paris Olympic Games.”

Clayton, the twin sister of World Under-20 100m champion Tina, acknowledged her struggles with a hamstring problem this season but was determined not to let it affect her ahead of the National Championships.

“I trained very hard, especially after my hamstring injury, because I knew that I would come back very strong, and you saw the results at these championships, I am now going to the Olympic Games in Paris,” she said.

Clayton reflected on her performances over the three rounds of competition in the 100m.

“I can’t say that I am surprised by my performance at this championship, because I have been working very hard for this. But I must say that the time in the semi-final really shocked me.

“I think I was a bit nervous in the semi-final, but not in the final, because I knew what I was going to do in the final after my semi-final run,” she explained.

The 2024 Paris Olympics is set to run from July 26 to August 11.