As they say records are meant to be broken and the Jamaican Women discus record holds true to the saying. But in the sport of track & field where records usually have a long shelf life, it is the exception.
With her throw of 62.73 metres to win the women discus title at the JAAA National Track & Field Championships last night, Kellion Knibb broke the national record, the seventh time the record has been surpassed in the last three years.
Knibb continues to be the main culprit but fellow NCAA standouts Shadae Lawrence and Tara-Sue Barnett, who along with Knibb made history for Jamaica by all qualifying for the Rio Olympics last year, have also taken turns at claiming the record.
It was sweet redemption for the Florida State University graduate, who agonizingly fell from first to third on the final throw of the NCAA Track & Field Championships two weeks ago.
A very focused Knibb demonstrated her intentions from early and with her second effort, the 23-year-old not only secured her second national title, but broke the national record for the third time this season, and fifth since 2014.
She reclaimed hold after relinquishing it in May to Kansas State University sophomore Lawrence, who usurped Knibb’s previous record of 62.07m on May 14 with her personal best 62.59m that won the Big 12 Championships title.
The record keepers have been kept busy as this is the fourth time this season that this record has been smashed, another indication of the rapid improvements in the throws in recent years.
It is interesting to note that it took all of 26 years before Marlene Lewis’ former record of 53.58m set way back in 1986, was surpassed.
But its just been a little over three years since Allison Randall’s monumental 61.21m that attained the Olympic B qualifying standard securing the 2012 London Olympic Games berth, was usurped.
The mark that officially did it was Knibb’s 61.34m set at the NCAA Division One Eastern Regionals in Jacksonville, Florida in May of 2014.
Barnett, the GCU (Grand Canyon University) red-shirt senior, actually surpassed Randall’s old mark before Knibb when she threw a school record 61.28m at the Steve Scott Invitational in California in April 2014.
However, the mark was not recognized by the JAAA but is registered as an official mark by the IAAF.
After a 2015 season shortened by injury, Knibb extended the record to 61.44m with a silver medal winning performance at the 2016 NCAA Championships.
The former St. Jago High School standout then brought the record over the 62m (62.07m) mark at the Penn Relays in April of this year. It was short lived as it lasted less than three weeks before Lawrence improved upon it.
With an advancement of under 2 full metres since Randall’s massive improvement on the 1986 mark, the progress is incremental.
A lot more will be needed for the Jamaican ladies to become true contenders and world beaters to which compatriot Fedrick Dacres is now on the men side.
Knibb’s new record and Lawrence’s old record has them ranked 18th and 19th respectively in the world this year. But Sandra Perkovic’s world lead is over 70 metres (70.23m).
But as they also say, a little is better than nothing, and with the throws still struggling to garner the respect it deserves in the sprint capital of the world, any sort of improvement goes a far way.