Jones in record form
AFTER TAKING the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) by storm last year, multi-talented Barbadian athlete Akela Jones wasted no time in setting a slew of records at this year’s Indoor Championship at SPIRE Institute, Geneva, Ohio.
Jones, a sophomore at Oklahoma Baptist University, won gold with a record-breaking 4 153 points in the pentathlon, her first year doing the event in college competition.
She shattered the record of 3 943 set by Natasha Miller back in 2009 on Thursday.
Cornerstone took second and third, respectively, through Brittany Green and Anita Souza with 3 730 and 3 437 points.
Jones also set three individual marks en route to the record.
Her 8.43 seconds in the 60m hurdles replaced the 8.73 set last year by Briana Vander Woude.
The former Hilda Skeene Primary and Springer Memorial student/athlete removed Vander Woude’s mark of 1.72 metres in the high jump, replacing it with 1.83, and leaped 6.01 metres, up from 5.45 in the long jump.
Jones started the high jump at 1.71 metres when all of the others had finished. Green was out at 1.68m, but Jones took one attempt each to clear 1.71m, 1.74m, 1.77m, 1.80m and the final jump of 1.83. She did not attempt to go any higher.
Her other performances were 12.49m in the shot put behind Green’s record 12.62 (12.39 was the old mark) and two minutes, 41.26 seconds, 14th overall in the 800m. She was six seconds faster than Green, so her gold medal was not under threat.
Jones has a full load in this year’s Indoors. The defending champion in the outdoor 60mh, long jump and high jump will be competing in those events as well as the 60m dash and shot put.
“I am doing six events this year, but this is by far the most challenging,” Jones told reporters after the record-setting day.
“My coach and I knew exactly what I needed to get in the 800 – my least favourite event – for the NAIA record so that is what I aimed for.”
She has the leading marks in the high jump (1.87), long jump (6.15) and 60m hurdles with 8.30m. Barbadian Shakera Hall, Jones’ schoolmate, is fourth overall in the hurdles with 8.72.
Jones is also ranked second in the 60m with 7.49 seconds behind Jamaican sprinter Jura Levy (7.44) and is sixth overall in the shot put with 14.16m.
Also in competition will be Shani Adams (formerly Coleridge and Parry/Combermere School) who leads all comers in the 600m with 1:32.51, while her Wayland Baptist teammate Kesley Gittens
(The Lodge School) is tenth overall with 1:37.20. Gittens is also in the finals of the 4×400 and 4x800m relays.