Take one look at Jamaican Olympic triple jump hopeful Shanieka Thomas and her potential is obvious. At six-foot tall and 145 pounds, she is built almost exactly like world record holder Inessa Kravets. Thomas, 11th at the 2015 World Championships, knows the similarity and hopes one day to match the Ukrainian’s fine achievements. Kravets set the record – 15.50 metres – at the 1995 Worlds and took gold as well at the 1996 Olympics. “The fact that the world record holder has the same build as me is encouragement to show I’m able to achieve the world record or even more,” she observed after a training session at the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies last week. “A lot of people don’t remember that the world record holder has a really slim build,” she pinpointed. Thomas, a three-time US collegiate champion at San Diego State University, left California to train at Mona last season. “Everyone was asking me, ‘Why come back to Jamaica and there’s not a lot of people doing well in the field events?’,” she recalled. “It’s hard to have a lot of people doing well in the field events if nobody actually comes home to show the talent the coaches have here,” she analysed. “So it’s a big jump, and it was risky at first, but I like the transition because it’s been going well.” With astute advice from her coach, Kerry-Lee Ricketts, the former Vere Technical High School student-athlete qualified for the Worlds at the last opportunity with a winning 14.23-metre jump at the NACAC Championships in Costa Rica. Now their goal is to make her faster and stronger. MORE SPEED “This year,” she revealed, “we’re focusing on getting more speed down the runway, as well as strengthening, making sure I’m more powerful.” Now almost 24, Thomas has great respect for retired 2005 World Champion Trecia Smith and her former Vere Technical teammate, Kimberly Williams, who in 2014 succeeded Smith as Commonwealth champion. Mention of Smith’s national record of 15.16 metres and Thomas glows. “That’s a really big performance, and I would love to jump at least 15.01,” she envisioned, “just to be over the mark.” During her San Diego years, the 2008 Carifta Games Under-17 champion ran relays on a regular basis. Now she dreams of running the 4×400 in black green and gold. “Every season, I contemplate doing the 400, but when I start thinking about the training for the 400,” she shudders, “I’m like, no. I’m going to stick with the triple jump.” She is encouraged by the relay running of World and Olympic triple jump men’s champion Christian Taylor at the 2014 World Relays. “If it’s not the Olympics or the World Championships,” she said, “if it’s even like the Pan-Am Games or something like that, I want to run a 4×4 … for Jamaica.” Runs over 350 and 400 metres are part of her background training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and she says “you’ll maybe see me on the 4×4 for UWI for the preparation towards Rio”.
“I would like to assure any fan, of any gender, (sexual) orientation, religion, race to rest assured that Qatar is one of the most safe countries in the world — and they’ll all be welcome here,” said chief executive of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Nasser al-Khater.He was responding to media questions on Wednesday about the position of transgender fans who might want to attend the World Cup but are unclear what legal and human rights protections they will have.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSBecoming his own manSPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40“The safety and security of every single fan is of the utmost importance to us,” Khater said at the al-Janoub stadium, adding that he expected “a little over one million fans” to visit Qatar during the tournament.“There’s a lot of training going into security personnel to make sure that things that are culturally different are seen in that frame.” Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “We’re trying to find designated locations to have alcohol other than traditional locations.”Currently, alcohol consumption for non-residents is restricted to bars and restaurants in a few dozen luxury hotels and a pint of beer typically sells for more than $10.Asked about the risk of fans becoming drunk and disorderly and how security forces would respond, Nasser said that “as long as people are happy, that’s fine”.It is a crime to be drunk in public in Qatar.“As long as they’re not miserable and too upset, we don’t have any issues,” said Khater.“But we do have plans for that, our security teams have been working very closely with the authorities… in various countries that have teams that traditionally qualify to the World Cup.”Nasser said that while he believed hooliganism was declining worldwide, organizers were aware that Qatar presented a different policing challenge to the last two hosts.“Hooliganism in the World Cups has decreased drastically. We saw Russia, no problems whatsoever. Brazil there wasn’t hooliganism, per se. There were other issues that were pertaining to Brazil,” he said.“We are a small country but we have the numbers necessary to keep the World Cup safe.“What we’ve seen here is the possibility of altercations between fans because of the size of the country, and a lot of fans being in the same vicinity.” This jewelry designer is also an architect Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics P11-B loan for SEA Games hosting not an issue — Cayetano New-look Oklahoma City Thunder ready for training camp DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ LGBT issues are sensitive in Qatar, as in the rest of the conservative Gulf region. A website that published a story in 2016 by an anonymous Qatari author about being gay, later went briefly went offline in the emirate.“Public displays of affection is frowned upon, it’s not part of our culture — but that goes across the board to everybody,” Khater said.Asked about availability of alcohol during the tournament, he said “Qatar is a conservative country, a modest country. Alcohol is not part of our culture — however, hospitality is.”‘Possibility of altercations’ “Alcohol is obviously available here, but it’s not as readily available as in some other parts of the world,” he said. “For the World Cup, we want to make sure it’s accessible for fans that travel from abroad and want to have a drink.ADVERTISEMENT Becoming his own man MOST READ Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue Qataris gather at the capital Doha’s traditional Souq Waqif market as the official logo of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is projected on the front of a building on September 3, 2019. (Photo by – / AFP)A top Qatari World Cup official has said that transgender and gay fans would be welcomed to the 2022 tournament but stressed that visitors would have to respect Qatari customs.Homosexual acts are banned in Qatar but the law around transgender people is unclear and the issue is seldom addressed in public life or by the authorities.ADVERTISEMENT View comments