Golden day for Jamaica
Jamaica had a golden day at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland, yesterday.
Briana Williams, 16, captured the women's 100 metres event while Damion Thomas gave the country its first-ever win in the men's 110 metres hurdles as he led home a Jamaican one-two with Orlando Bennett taking silver.
Both Thomas and Bennett went into the championships as favourites for the two top medals, following their performances at the National Championships, where they produced 12.99 and 13.00 seconds to be ranked number one and two in the world.
Thomas, who won bronze at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, was determined to make up for his mishap two years ago in Poland, when he ran into the first hurdle in his semi-final and failed to finish.
Yesterday, he took control of the final from the start and crossed the line in 13.16. Bennett hit the eighth hurdle, but kept his composure to finish second in 13.33. Japan's Shunsuke Izumya was third in 13.38.
Williams entered the Champion-ships at number two, behind American Twaneisha Terry, but gave signs that she was ready for something special after doing little in the preliminary round the previous day winning in 11.28.
In the semi-final earlier yesterday, Terry sped to a championships 11.03 and entered the final with the psychological advantage. However, the very confident Williams flew out of the blocks in the final and held on for the biggest win of her young career clocking 11.16. Terry was second in 11.19 while Great Britain's Kristal Awuah was third in 11.36.
TALLY COULD INCREASE
The medal tally could be increased today as there will be two finals involving two outstanding Jamaicans.
Female team captain Shian Salmon will take the track at 12:26 p.m. for the women's 400 metres hurdles final. Yesterday, she looked quite relaxed in winning her semi-final heat in 56.29 seconds to be the fastest qualifier for today's final. World leader Zeney Van Der Walt of South Africa is her main rival. The South African, who won gold at last year's IAAF World Under -18 Championships, is the second fastest qualifier after winning her heat in 56.72. Jamaica's Sanique Walker who won silver at the World Under-18 last year, failed to report for the semi-finals due to an injury.
Male team captain Christopher Taylor will be hoping to go all the way in the men's 400 metres. Taylor, the world's fastest junior in the event this year with 44.88 seconds, took things very easy in his semi-final yesterday to win in 46.18 seconds. He is the third fastest qualifier, but should have no difficulty here in going all the way. His teammate, overseas-based Chantz Sawyers, finished second in his semi-final in 46.19 to be the fourth fastest qualifier. The event will get under way at 12:35 p.m Jamaica time.