The Five Athletes to Watch at Jamaica’s Olympics Trials This Weekend

Jamaica first competed in the Olympic Games in 1948, sending 13 athletes as competitors in three sports: athletics, boxing, and weightlifting. Ten of the Jamaicans competed in athletics, and Arthur Wint won the first Olympic medal in history for Jamaica with a silver in the men’s 800-metre event. A few days later, Wint won Jamaica’s first Olympic gold medal in the 400 metres.

Since that historic beginning, Jamaica has won a total of 87 medals, 86 of them in athletics and 83 in individual and relay sprints. Hoping to continue this winning tradition at the 2024 Paris Olympics are these outstanding athletes who will be competing to secure a spot on team Jamaica in this weekend’s Olympic trials at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Krystal Sloley

The 24th Jamaican women to go under 11.00 seconds
Photo Credit : @utechjamaica via Instagram

Krystal Sloley, 22, ran a personal best of 10.99 seconds in the women’s 100 metres at the Jamaica Athletics Invitational on June 1, 2024, reflecting her persistence and dedication in overcoming significant challenges. Sloley discovered her love for track and field competition while a student at Ardenne Preparatory and then at Campion College.

As a third-year architecture student at the University of Technology, Sloley acknowledged that it has been difficult to balance her training with the MVP Track Club and her academic studies, joking that she feels like she is taking “two degrees” and remembered times when she was “crying on the dorm floor, wondering how I’m going to manage to strike the balance at this level.”

She credited God and her mother for carrying her through the difficult times. “My mother is my rock, my biggest inspiration,” Sloley said in an interview with SportsMax TV, adding that her mother “never lived the life that she gave me, so that also motivates me to reward her for what she has done for me because I’m so grateful and thankful for her.”

Ryiem Forde

Holds a personal best of 9.95 in the 100m

Ryiem Forde, 23, was born in 2001 in Jamaica and attended Jamaica College in Kingston. He was the runner-up at the 2023 Jamaican national championships in the 100 metres with a personal best time of 9.95 seconds.

He was one of the athletes chosen to compete at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, where he qualified for the 100-metre final, finishing in eighth place, and was on the 4x100m relay team that took the bronze. He was selected to be a member of Jamaica’s team competing at the 2024 World Athletics Relays in Nassau, Bahamas, in 2024.

Kishane Thompson

Wrapped 2023 season with consistent sub-10s

Kishane Thompson, 22, was born in 2001 and is a member of the MVP Track Club. He ran the 100 metres in 9.91 seconds at the 2023 Jamaican national field trials to qualify but ended his participation in the competition before the semi-final race.

According to his coach, Stephen Francis, this was a planned move because Thompson had suffered several injuries in previous years, and his schedule was organised to allow him to avoid many rounds of running during the year.

In his Diamond League debut, Thompson finished fifth in the 100-metre event in Monaco in July 2023 with a time of 10.04 seconds. His personal best over the distance was achieved in September 2023 with a time of 9.85 seconds for a second-place finish at the Diamond League event in Xiamen, China.

Oblique Seville

fastest time by a Jamaican athlete since Usain Bolt at the 2016 Olympic Games

Oblique Seville, born in 2001, attended Calabar High School. His coach is Glen Mills of the Racers Track Club. In 2019, he won the 100-metre event at the CARIFTA Games with a time of 10.24 seconds. He was also the winner in the 4×400-metre relay. Seville won the 100 metres at Jamaica’s U-20 Championships in 2019 with a time of 10.13 seconds, finished second in the 100 metres at the Pan American U-20 Championships in Costa Rica with 10.21 seconds, and won a silver medal at the 4×100-metre relay as well.

He did not compete most of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic but ran the fastest time in the 100 metres at the 2021 Jamaican Olympic Trials qualification. He ran the fourth fastest time at 10.10 seconds at the actual Jamaican Olympic trials in June 2021 for the delayed Summer Games of 2020. At the Tokyo Olympics, Seville won a place in the semi-finals and also qualified for the final event at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in 2022.

At the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, he ran the 100 metres in 9.86 seconds, equaling his personal best in the first qualifying heat and finishing fourth in the final. He ran a personal best in the 200 metres in March 2024 in Kingston with 20.17 seconds, and in May 2024, he ran the distance in 19.96 in Atlanta, Georgia.

At the June 2024 Racers Grand Prix in Kingston, he clocked a personal best and world-record time of 9.82 seconds in the 100 metres.

Omar McLeod

Only hurdler in history to go below 10 seconds

Omar McLeod, 30, is making a comeback and is considered a contender in the men’s sprint hurdles. He attended Manchester High School, Kingston College, and the University of Arkansas and medaled in the men’s 110-meter hurdles at the 2016 Summer Olympics, becoming the 2016 Olympic champion and 2017 World Champion.

During his last year in high school, he set Jamaica’s junior records in the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles with times of 13.24 seconds and 49.98 seconds, respectively. He was the first Jamaican high school athlete to break the 50-second barrier in the 400-meter hurdles. He won the 2014 NCAA indoor championships in the 60-meter hurdles in his first year at the university with a finals time of 7.58 over the distance. McLeod decided to pursue a professional athletic career in 2015 after the end of the collegiate season.

He entered into an endorsement deal with Nike but stayed in Arkansas to finish his studies in business. He is ranked in seventh place in the world’s all-time fastest 110-metre hurdles with a personal best of 12.90 seconds.

McLeod is the first athlete to finish the 110-metre hurdles in under 13 seconds while also breaking the 100-metre 10-second barrier in the 2016 outdoor season with a time of 9.99 seconds. He won a gold medal in the 110-metre hurdles at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

This story has been edited : In earlier versions of this article, we listed Brianna Lyston as an athlete to watch at this week’s Olympic trials; that was incorrect. According to reports, Lyston will in fact not be competing at the trials, we apologise for the error.