Big wins for Williams, Dacres
Jamaican athletes were among the stars on yesterday's opening day of the two-day IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Led by individual wins by Danielle Williams and Fedrick Dacres and top three finishes from Annsert Whyte and Stephenie Ann McPherson, the Jamaicans scored well for the Americas who are on top of the standings on 135 points, ahead of defending champions Europe (123), Asia-Pacific (89) and Africa (74).
The Americas got off to a good start in the first track event as Williams won the women's 100m hurdles in 12.49 seconds to upstage her teammate, American world record holder Kendra Harrison, who clocked 12.52 for second. Germany's Pamela Dutkiewicz, 12.91, was third.
"To be honest, I didn't expect to finish first, but I was ready to fight," said Williams.
After a shaky start where he had an average throw of 58.38m then a foul on his second outing, Jamaica's outstanding discus thrower Dacres showed his class on the third with a 66.64m effort which put him into the semi-final round, where he then threw 66.94m to go into the fifth and final round as the leader. His main opponent, Andrius Gudzius of Europe, who had an effort of 64.84m, failed to advance to the finals after a no-throw in the semis. In the final, Dacres threw a big 67.97m for the win as Matthew Denby of the Asia-Pacific team could only manage 54.53m.
" It was an incredibly interesting competition," said Dacres. "I like these new rules, especially when I won and it was helpful for my team."
The next best individual performance on the day by a Jamaican came from National 400m hurdles champion Whyte. He finished second in a season's best 48.65 as Qatar's Abderrahman Samba remained unbeaten in the event this season with a 47.37 run to equal the World/Continental Cup record set by Edwin Moses in Rome some 37 years ago. World champion Kersten Warholm of Europe was third in 48.56.
The consistent McPherson was third in the women's 400m in 50.82. Bahrain's Salwa Ed Naser, representing Asia-Pacific, won in 49.32, holding off a late challenge from South Africa's Caster Semenya, who was second in a personal best and National record, 49.62.
Yohan Blake and National 100m champion Tyquendo Tracy also tasted victory. They were members of the Americas 4x100m team which clocked 38.05 seconds to beat Europe (38.96) and Asia-Pacific (39.56).
Seven more Jamaican athletes will be hoping for good individual performances on today's final day of the meet.
In action today are Ronald Levy (110m hurdles), Blake (100m), Natoya Goule (800m), Shericka Jackson (200m), Aisha Praught Leer (3000m steeplechase), Janieve Russell (400m hurdles) and Danielle Thomas Dodd (shot put).
• 7:38 a.m.: M Hammer Final
• 7:43 a.m.: W High Jump Final
• 8:00 a.m.: M Triple Jump Final
• 8:03 a.m.: M 110m Hurdles Final
• 8:24 a.m.: W 800m Final
• 8:32 a.m.: M Pole Vault Final
• 8:48 a.m.: W 200m Final
• 8:57 a.m.: M 400m Final
• 9:05 a.m.: M Javelin Final
• 9:10 a.m.: W 3000m Steeplechase Final
• 9:25 a.m.: W Long Jump Final
• 9:30 a.m.: W 400m Hurdles Final
• 9:48 a.m.: M 1500m Final
• 9:57 a.m.: W Shot Put Final
• 10:13 a.m.: W Javelin Throw Final
• 10:15 a.m.: M 3000m Final
• 10:39 a.m.: M 100m Final
• 10:59 a.m.: X 4x400m Relay Final