Jamaicans stamp class in Atlanta
GEORGIA, United States:
Two senior runners underlined their form ahead of this month's national trials, while several juniors helped stamp Jamaica's quality on the first Atlanta All Heart Track Club Relays here last weekend.
Despite competing far away from track's glamour Diamond League circuit occupied by more high-profile compatriots, quarter-miler Javon Francis and sprinter Jason Livermore showed they'll be pushing for places on Jamaica's team to the IAAF World Championships (WC) late August.
In testing conditions - but against mostly mild competition - common to Jamaicans throughout the meet at Langston Hughes High School, Francis clocked 44.96 seconds to win the 400 metres open. His closest rival ran 47.26.
Francis, relishing brutal 90?F temperatures, finished shy of his personal best (PB) 44.90 set in Kingston last month, but the former Calabar star was pleased.
"I'm satisfied with the time," said Francis, who anchored Jamaica's silver-winning 4x400m team at WC 2013. "I had to get out and maintain my focus."
Sunday's win boosted his confidence ahead of the June 25-28 trials to select Jamaica's team to China.
"I'm ready," Francis declared, "more than 1,000 per cent sure going into the trials."
Livermore took the open sprint double. He won the 200m on Saturday in 20.85 and returned the next day to claim the 100m in 10.36. Jamaica's Oshane Bailey - 20.97 and 10.49 - was second in both races.
Livermore's Sunday best, however, was bittersweet. Primed to eclipse his personal best 10.05 set a year ago and crack the elusive 10-second barrier, he stumbled from the starting blocks and almost fell face first before powering past the 100m field.
"My nine (-second run) is gone! That should have been my nine!" an animated Livermore said post-race. "The blocks shifted. Someone was holding my blocks, but it still slipped. That would have been my sub-10. But for me that's life. The rest of the race was perfect. The recovery was great.
"Very much ready for the trials," he added smiling. "I'm in top form."
Two St Jago schoolboys did manage PBs. Timar Barrett won the 400m hurdles for boys ages 17-18 in 52.89 seconds, while Leon Clarke took the 800m in the same age group in one minute 53.09 seconds. Clarke also won the 400m in 48.66. Teammate Keenoon Lawrence scored a double as well, landing the 800m (2:01.73) and 1500m (4:22.77) for boys 15-16.
double victory for shaw
St Jago's Kimone Shaw won the girls' 100m final for high schools 15-16 in 12.27. She ran 12.16 in the preliminaries. Shaw was also a member of St Jago's victorious 4x100m relay for 17-18 (48.70). Teammates Safiya Thompson (15.13) and Tissanna Hickling (5.85m) won the 100m hurdles (ages 15-16) and long jump (17-18), respectively.
St Jago's Maliek Williams won the 13-14 boys 100m in 12.21. He finished third to teammate Taiwane Garriques (23.36) in the 200m for 13-15. Schoolmate Michael Bentley won the 15-16 200m in 22.34 and was part of the team that landed the 4x400m (3:32.00) in the same category.
Boys' Champs winners Calabar showed their class, winning the high school 4x100m (40.56) and 4x400m (3:27.61) for ages 17-18. Calabar also swept the top places in the 100m for 15-16, with Dejour Russell (10.82) leading home Daniel Bogle (10.94) and Alex Robinson (11.04). Anthony Carpenter (48.03) won the 400m in that age group, while Aykeeme Francis landed the 17-18 category in 47.38, ahead of Reynardo Wilson (47.91).
Wolmer's Boys were the other Jamaican school that participated at the meet.