Thu | Jul 19, 2018

J'cans look to continue Gold Coast medal rush

Published:Wednesday | April 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMAndrÈ Lowe/Sports Editor
Jamaica's Javon Francis (right) places third behind gold medal winner Isaac Makwala (centre) of Botswana in the men's 400 metres final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games yesterday. Collin Reid/Photographer: Courtesy of Guardian Life, Courts, VMBS, Sports Development Foundation and Alliance Investments.
Jamaica's Ronald Levy (right) and Hansle Parchment celebrate with the National Flag after capturing gold and silver respectively in the men's 110 metres hurdles final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia yesterday. Collin Reid/Photographer: Courtesy of Guardian Life, Courts, VMBS, Sports Development Foundation and Alliance Investments.
Kimberly Williams (left), 14.64m, and Shaneika Ricketts, 14.52m, celebrate after mining gold and silver respectively in the women's triple jump at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. Collin Reid/Photographer: Courtesy of Guardian Life, Courts, VMBS, Sports Development Foundation and Alliance Investments.
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Jamaican long distance runner Aisha Praught-Leer was full of confidence ahead of her women's 3000m steeplechase final at the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast this morning (Jamaica time).

The Jamaican will be among those looking to continue Jamaica's impressive showing at the championships, after yesterday's double gold and double silver medals performances.

Kimberly Williams produced a lifetime best 14.64m on her last effort to get the better of her countrywoman Shanieka Ricketts, 14.52m, as the Jamaican pair secured the gold and silver in the triple jump final in one of the highlights of the day. Thea Lafond, 13.92m from Dominica, won the bronze medal in the event.

There was another quinella in the 110m hurdles final, where Ronald Levy, 13.19 seconds, edged Hansle Parchment, 13.22 for the gold medal, while De'Jour Russell, the Calabar schoolboy, finished eight in 13.92.

Javon Francis also won his first individual senior international medal, after picking up bronze in the 400m final, with a time of 45.11. The gold medal went to Botswana's Isaac Makwala, 44.35 with the silver medal going to his compatriot Baboloki Thebe, 45.09.

Jamaica's medal count now stands at nine, (2 gold, 4 silver, 3 bronze).

Meanwhile, Praught-Leer, who has the three fastest times ever recorded by a Jamaican in the event, will come up against the likes of Kenyans Celliphine Chespol and Purity Kirui in the steeplechase, but is backing herself to win her first international medal in the 4:45 a.m. start.

"Today I have an excellent opportunity to medal," Praught-Leer told The Gleaner yesterday.

"I am in the best shape of my career and will be looking to challenge Chespol, who is one of the best steeplechasers in the world, over the final laps," she added.

"The conditions are a bit warm for long distance running, so the pace might not be blistering from the gun. The championship record looks achievable, but as we all know, place is more important than a time in a championships. I am ready to give it my best," Praught-Leer said.

Among this morning's (Jamaica time) highlights from the Carrara Stadium, is the women's 400m final, where defending champion Stephenie-Ann McPherson and Anastasia Le-Roy will be carrying Jamaican hopes. Both were pretty impressive in their semis, posting the two fastest times in qualifying, with Le-Roy clocking 51.08 and McPherson logging 51.28 seconds.

Shericka Jackson, Elaine Thompson and Sashalee Forbes will all feature in the women's 200m semi-finals this morning after comfortable runs in their respective heats yesterday. Jackson, 22.87 and Thompson, 23.89 won their heats with Forbes running second in hers in a time of 22.88.

Warren Weir, 20.60; Kenroy Anderson 20.89 and defending champion Rasheed Dwyer, 20.78 also lining up in the men's 200m semi-finals with Weir and Dwyer winning their heats and Anderson running second in his.

Tajay Gayle and Damar Forbes will both feature in today's long jump final at 5:32 a.m.

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls will face their toughest test at 6:02 a.m. when they come up against Australia in netball action, while Alana Bailey and Anthony McNee will face New Zealand's Susannah and Oliver Leyton-Davis in mixed doubles round of 32 badminton action at 4:25 a.m. Katherine Wynter and Samuels Ricketts will line up against Setyana Mapasa and Saran Serasinghe from Australia, in another mixed doubles round of 32 contest.

Andrew Newell had a big day in men's sectional play in lawn bowls action, beating England's Robert Paxton 21-16 after topping India's Krishna Xalxo 21-18 earlier at Broadbeach.