It is undeniable that Jamaicans’ passion for track and field runs deep. Equally indisputable is the supremacy Jamaican female sprinters have held on the track in the 100m and 200m, with the likes of Veronica Campbell-Brown, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and Elaine Thompson-Herah dominating the sport.
But as the country’s expanding pool of female hurdlers gradually gain international prominence, can Jamaica’s sprinting supremacy be duplicated in the hurdles?
2021’s breakout star Megan Tapper captured the attention of audiences with her historic Olympic Games run in Tokyo, Japan. The then 27-year-old became the first Jamaican woman to win an Olympic 100m hurdles medal with her 12.55-second bronze finish, giving the nation a hint of a new division of track and field that could be dominated.
Tapper’s compatriot Britany Anderson, a World U18 and Carifta Games champion, was also a finalist at the Tokyo Games but made her mark the following year at the World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, with a silver in the 100m hurdles.
Also excelling in the sport with recent notable performances are 25-year-old Demisha Roswell and 20-year-old World U20 60m hurdles record holder Ackera Nugent. Nugent set a new personal best with a 7.88-second victory on the second day of the Razorback Invitational in the United States on Saturday. On the other hand, Roswell lowered her Texas Tech school record to 7.98 in the 60m hurdles at the Red Raider Open last week.
Jamaica’s history of producing distinguished female hurdlers goes back to the 1990s, with Michelle Freeman and Dionne Rose becoming the country’s first Olympic finalists in 1996. Competing alongside compatriot Gillian Russell at the World Indoor Championships, Freeman won first place, with Russell claiming second.
Giving further notable performances was Brigitte Foster-Hylton, who won silver at the 2003 World Championships and a bronze in 2005.
Foster-Hylton went on to win gold at the 2009 World Championships, with Jamaica’s Delloreen Ennis-London winning bronze. Ennis-London previously won a silver at the 2005 World Championships and a bronze in 2007.