Sat | Sep 23, 2017

'The party has started' Rio 1-3 sparks wild celebrations

Published:Sunday | August 14, 2016 | 8:00 AM
Jamaica's Aisha Praught (second from right) competing in the women's 3,000 metres at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics yesterday.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil:

It came with a price.

A few scrapes and bruises on her arm and shoulders, but Aisha Praught will not be complaining too much after she became the first Jamaican to qualify for the women's 3,000 metres steeplechase final at the Olympic Games.

Praught ran 9:35.79 to finish eighth in her heat, but not before she fell with about 600m to go after she was impeded by an athlete who had stopped suddenly in front of her to fix her shoe.

The Jamaican team manage-ment filed an appeal to the IAAF's Jury of Appeal, which ruled in favour of the Jamaican, who was then advanced to the final.

Speaking before the decision was made, Praught, who was born in the United States to a Jamaican father, expressed pride at wearing the Jamaican colours at the Olympic Games.

"How great does it look?" she laughed in reference to the black, green and gold Puma kit.

"It's an honour. I could have never dreamed that I would be here and I would be bracing up an entire nation of people who deeply care. I care for our nation, and I hope to inspire some people along the way," Praught said. "This is one of the greatest honours a human being can achieve, and I am really grateful.

"I'm happy with the run. I was four seconds off my season's best [with a fall]. That is really good, I think. It (the mishap) was really disappointing," said Praught. "A woman apparently lost her shoe and decided to stop in the middle of lane one to put it back on. She stopped on a dime and I was immediately behind her when she stopped, so I went down, she went down. I'm not sure if anyone else went down, but I was feeling great and feeling really good before that point.

"I got up and passed a lot of people to finish as best as I could, to leave everything of what I had left on the track," she added. "I was executing my race plan perfectly. I was staying relaxed, and that's the hardest thing to do in a heat considering, too, that this is my first Olympics."

The women's 3,000m steeple-chase final will take place tomorrow at 11:15 a.m. (9:15 a.m. Jamaica time).