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”.
Dan Cohen AUTHOR A planned reduction of 600 personnel at Red River Army Depot (RRAD), Texas, announced last month is a result of a declining workload that follows a drop in the tempo of the military’s overseas operations over the past 10 years. “Peak operational tempo for the present campaigns was achieved around 2008,” said Dennis Lewis of the Texas Military Preparedness Commission. “Since then, we’ve been in a gradual state of reduction of operations. Equipment has been repaired, refitted and returned to their respective units, which is what RRAD does,” Lewis said. Unless Congress allocates funds to increase readiness, Red River’s workload soon will reach pre-9/11 levels, he added.Additional staff cuts may be necessary if the depot’s decline in work tempo persists, reports the Texarkana Gazette.Photo by Jennifer Bacchus
Twitter The GRAMMY nominee is raising awareness for mental health while on tour through her CAST on Tour program, which kicked off Feb. 26 in San DiegoRenée FabianGRAMMYs Feb 27, 2018 – 2:24 pm As she embarks on her Tell Me You Love Me tour in support of her 2017 album of the same name, Demi Lovato isn’t just sharing her inspirational music with fans around the world, she’s making a difference by raising awareness for mental health.For the second consecutive tour, the GRAMMY nominee is again bringing along CAST on Tour, an initiative of the mental health advocacy organization CAST Foundation. She previously teamed with the recovery center during last year’s co-headlining Future Now tour with Nick Jonas.The pre-show sessions will allow Lovato and Mike Bayer, founder/CEO of CAST Centers and chairman of the CAST Foundation, to discuss mental health awareness while giving space to attendees to share their own personal experiences with mental illness.The initiative kicked off Feb. 26 in San Diego, where Lovato invited student survivors of the recent school shooting in Parkland, Fla., to attend the session. Lovato also brought the students — Julius Castillo, Mackenzie Marie Chapman, Samantha Megan Deitsch, Maia Hebron, Eden Hebron, and Sarah Stricker — onstage during her performance later in the evening, in addition to inviting the audience to donate toward mental health resources for the students impacted by the school shooting through a CAST Foundation text donation.Tonight is the night! We also have #CASTontour back!! Make sure you guys are following @castcenters and @castontour on Instagram for a chance to join us and see who is speaking — Demi Lovato (@ddlovato) February 26, 2018CAST on Tour will follow Lovato for 20 tour dates, including stops Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Philadelphia, among others, concluding on March 31 in Tampa, Fla. Lovato’s world tour, with special guests DJ Khaled and Kehlani, will continue around the globe through June 27.”Bringing CAST on Tour was very important to me because I want to be able to reach and inspire my fans. Tonight was our first night of the tour and it was incredibly special,” Lovato said in a statement. “I was able to bring out and meet a few of the students that had to experience the shooting in Florida on the 14th. It was such an honor to meet them and hear their courageous stories. I want to make sure their voices are being heard and we can provide them with the mental health and post-trauma care they need.”Catching Up On Music News Powered By The Recording Academy Just Got Easier. Have A Google Home Device? “Talk To GRAMMYs”Read more Email Facebook Demi Lovato Advocates For Mental Health On Tour demi-lovato-brings-mental-health-front-and-center-during-tour Demi Lovato Brings Mental Health Front And Center During Tour News