Fri | Aug 18, 2017

McLeod takes gold

Published:Monday | March 21, 2016 | 3:00 AMDania Bogle
Jamaica’s Omar McLeod (centre) crosses the finish line to win the men’s 60-metre hurdles final during the World Indoor Athletics Championships yesterday in Portland, Oregon. France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (right) finished second and France’s Dimitri Bascou finished third.

PORTLAND, USA:

As evidence of his superiority, Omar McLeod hit down almost every hurdle, but still clocked a world- leading and national record 7.41 seconds in an easy run as he claimed Jamaica's lone gold medal in the 60m hurdles on the final day of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Indoor Championships at the Oregon Convention Centre here yesterday.

McLeod got a quick start out of the blocks and then eased away from his competition to finish three metres ahead of France's Pascal Martinot-Lagarde in a season's best 7.46 second, and Dimitri Bascou in 7.48 seconds.

"Never in a million years would I think I'd be world champion at the age of 21, but thanks to God, he made this possible," an elated McLeod said afterwards.

"Coach (Douglas Case) said that if you want to win that race, you've got to get out, tunnel vision, and just own the race. I knew that those two French guys would have been there, so I really just wanted to be there with that (in mind). He knew that's what it would take for me to win that race," he added.

McLeod's win took the Jamaican medal tally to three, adding to the silver won by Asafa Powell in the men's 60m on Friday and the bronze won by Elaine Thompson in the women's 60m on Saturday.

Jamaica finished fourth on the medal table, three behind hosts United States with 23 (13 gold, six silver, four bronze); Ethiopia, with five medals (two gold, two silver and one bronze); and France with one gold, one silver and two bronze.

McLeod had earlier sprinted away from the field to win semi-final two in a time of 7.52 seconds, equalling the fastest time of the other top-two qualifiers, Martinot-Lagarde of France and Jarrett Eaton of the USA.

It was Jamaica's lone medal on the final day of competition.

The women's 4x400m literally crashed out as Patricia Hall went tumbling to the ground on the second lap of the opening leg of the event. It appeared that Hall's heel was stepped on by either the athlete from Poland or Nigeria and she stumbled and fell, taking with her any medal hopes the Jamaicans might have had.

The remaining members of the quartet, Chrisann Gordon, Stephenie Ann McPherson and Anneisha McLaughlin-Whilby, were forced to watch in disbelief as their last hope dissipated.

The United States went on to win the event in a world-leading 3:26.38 seconds, ahead of Poland in a season's best 3:31.15 and a fast-finishing Romania, also in a season's best 3:31.51.

The men's 4x400m team of Ricardo Chambers, Dane Hyatt, Demish Gaye, and Fitzroy Dunkley finished fourth in the final event of the evening.

Dunkley ran a brave anchor, but could not pull back the fast- flying Americans, who won in a world leading 3:02.45, and the Bahamas with the evergreen Chris Brown on anchor in a national indoor record 3:04.75.