Sun | Oct 1, 2023

Triumph over injuries equals big throws for Thomas-Dodd

Published:Tuesday | May 30, 2023 | 1:09 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Danniel Thomas-Dodd
Danniel Thomas-Dodd

A respite from injuries has allowed Jamaica’s shot put queen Danniel Thomas-Dodd to train and compete at a new level in 2023. The relief saw Thomas-Dodd smash her own national record on Saturday in Los Angeles with a new mark of 19.77 metres. Her new-found fitness has the 30-year-old conceptualising throws beyond 20 metres once again.

Her series at Saturday’s Los Angeles Grand Prix includes marks 19.15m, 19.44m, and 19.54m. This display follows a big performance on April 14 in Gainesville, where she threw 19.52m, just three centimetres off her former national record.

The 19.77m placed her third in Los Angeles and third on the 2023 world performance list behind Americans Maggie Ewen and World champion Chase Ealey. Ewen won the Los Angeles matchup with a world-leading throw of 20.45m, with Ealey second at 19.98m.

Speaking two days after her record throw, Thomas-Dodd pinpointed the reason for her current proficiency.

“I haven’t really been doing anything much different other than I’m a little bit healthier this season. I was plagued with injuries two seasons straight, which was kind of frustrating, but this year, you know, my coach-husband has been very diligent in trying to keep me healthy throughout the season, and I’m somewhat at my healthiest since the past two years,” she explained with reference to back and foot maladies that slowed her progress.

With husband Shane steering her clear of trouble, she’s excited about this World Championships season.

“For any athlete, we know that injury is a part of the game, and for me to not be able to perform at my best in the past two seasons was kind of sad, and I was down for the most part. So now, I’m really happy with where I’m at,” she said.

At the 2019 World Championships, when she won the silver medal, Thomas-Dodd had a big throw that landed on the 20m line but was ruled a foul. The same thing happened in Los Angeles, and it has her thinking.

“Unfortunately, it wasn’t part of the results, but it’s a good indicator of where I’m at. It’s just now that I’ve seen that, yes, I’m still able to compete at that level,” she said confidently.

“I’m just excited to see at what point in the season I can get that on paper,” she wondered aloud. That point could arrive on June 4 in Hengelo, Holland, when she next steps into the circle to compete. The woman who beat New Zealand legend Valerie Adams at the 2018 Commonwealth Games views Hengelo as preparation for the Jamaican championships.

“It is a stepping stone for Trials for sure,” she indicated, “and one of the things on my list of accomplishments is to do really well at the National Championships.”