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AWESOME START! Jamaicans perfect in heats as track events get under way

Published:Monday | July 28, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Veronica Campbell-Brown - PHOTOS BY Ricardo Makyn/Staff Photographer
Christine Day cruising to the finish.
Jason Livermore in winning form.
Kemar-Bailey Cole cruising in his 100m heat.
Kerron Stewart wins easily.
Stephenie McPherson winning her 400m heat.

 GLASGOW, Scotland:

Jamaica flexed their track and field muscles yesterday with a dominating performance in the first athletics session at the Commonwealth Games, while swimmer Alia Atkinson will be looking to stroke her way to another medal, as the Glasgow 2014 gold rush hits another gear.

Eight athletes will be gunning for medals at Hampden Park today, as all nine Jamaicans on the track won their respective heats yesterday, with shot put competitors O'Dayne Richards and Raymond Brown also securing spots in their final with contrasting performances in qualifying.

Jamaica's netballers will face a tough Malawi team in another keen event at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre at 7 p.m. (1 p.m.), after easing Scotland aside 68-26 at the same venue yesterday.

In the pool, Alia Atkinson, the 50m breaststroke silver medallist, will look to bounce back from her miserable seventh-place finish in the 200m breaststroke final.

Her 1:06.87 makes her the fastest swimmer heading into the 100m breaststroke final today at 8:26 p.m. (2:26 p.m.) at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre.

Many believe that this is actually Atkinson's best event and will looking for her to add to her bounty.

With Usain Bolt likely to be watching from the Athletes Village and Yohan Blake on a television set somewhere, Jamaican sprinters Nickel Ashmeade, Kemar Bailey-Cole and Jason Livermore will be looking to continue the island's sprinting dominance, when they line up in today's 100m semi-finals at 7:35 p.m., with one eye on the final at 9:50 p.m.

All three won their heats comfortably - Bailey-Cole the second-fastest qualifier overall with 10.16, Jason Livermore clocked 10.26 and national champion Ashmeade - one of only three qualifiers to have gone below 10 seconds this year - posting 10.40.

Fast qualifiers

The women were just as commanding and there were three Jamaicans among the four-fastest qualifiers to today's semi-finals, with Nigerian Blessing Okagbare's 11.20 leading the way.

Veronica Campbell-Brown, the fastest Jamaican this year with 10.86 seconds and an impressive Schillonie Calvert - who celebrated her birthday yesterday - were next best, both stopping the clock comfortably on 11.29. Kerron Stewart won her heat in 11.35. The women's 100m semi-final is set for 7:10 p.m., with the final running off at 9:35 p.m.

"It's my birthday so I just wanted to go out there and have fun and ensure I qualified," said Calvert, who was planning to celebrate quietly last night.

Also on the track, all three Jamaicans in the women's 400m won their respective heats with ease and qualified for today's semis (8:15 p.m.); Christine Day and Stephenie-Ann McPherson both claiming winning times of 52.25, with Novlene Williams-Mills easing to a 52.39 clocking.

Natalie Grant and Vanessa Levy finished 15th and 16th in women's hammer qualification with marks of 56.10m and 50.29m.

Zara Bailey finished fifth and seventh in the women's 200m individual medley (2:19.83) and 100m breaststroke (1:14.49), respectively, while Marloe Rodman did not finish in the men's 20km scratch race final at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.

Timothy Wynter (200m backstroke heats), Jevon Atkinson (50m freestyle), Trudiann Patrick (200m butterfly) and Dominic Walter (1500m freestyle) will all compete at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre today, with Kimberly Williams and Shenieka Thomas set for triple jump qualifying.

Akheem Gauntlett, Rusheen McDonald and Hugh Graham will compete in the men's 400m heats, with Darrell Garwood lining up in men's high jump qualifying.

In boxing, Kestna Davis will fight Jangra Mandeep in men's welterweight round of 16 action.