Russell, Team Americas win Continental Cup
Janieve Russell followed up wins on day one by compatriots Danielle Williams and Fedrick Dacres in the IAAF Continental Cup by capturing the Women's 400m hurdles on the second day in Ostrava, Czech Republic, yesterday.
The Americas dethroned defending champions Europe to take home the team title after scoring 262 points. The defending champions were second with 233 points, ahead of Asia Pacific, third on 188, and Africa, fourth, with 142 points.
Russell, the Commonwealth Games 400m hurdles champion, despite being drawn in the dreaded lane one, was brilliant in her execution in the event. Changing her race tactics this time around, she was out of the blocks very quickly, covering her rivals before motoring away after the final barrier to upstage teammate Shamier Little, who ran out of lane five. Russell, who had played second fiddle to the American the last four times they met, clocked 53.62 seconds for the win, her second fastest for the season. Little ended second in 53.86 seconds as Anna Yaroshchuk of Ukraine, representing Europe, was third in a season's best 54.47 seconds.
Russell was pleased with her success yesterday. "It's my first Continental Cup, and I'm really happy to win here and happy that we were the winning team," she said. "I was blessed to achieve both of these goals, because I had some hamstring problems before Ostrava. This win gives me more confidence for next season when I aim to stay injury free," said Russell.
Earlier, in the first track final on the day, Commonwealth Games champion Ronald Levy finished second in the Men's 110m hurdles. Drawn in lane three beside Diamond League winner, Sergey Shubenkov, Levy was out very quickly, taking the lead up to the fourth barrier, but the slow-starting Shubenkov found his stride approaching the fifth hurdle to go by the Jamaican before winning in an impressive 13.03 seconds. Levy was timed in a season's best 13.12 seconds for the runner-up spot, while Pascal Martinot-Lagarde of France finished third in 13.31 seconds as the European team occupied two of the three podium spots.
Having her best season this year, Natoya Goule showed another good performance in the Women's 800m. Despite the outstanding Caster Semenya, of South Africa, representing the African team, leading all the way for an impressive win in 1:54.77 minutes, Goule had a good battle with teammate Ajee Wilson before finishing third in 1:57.36 minute, as the American took second in 1:57.16.
Following her third-place finish in the Women's 400m on Saturday, Stephenie Ann McPherson ran the third leg on the successful Americas 4x400m mixed relay team, which finished in 3:13.01 minutes. The team included Shauna Miller-Uibo, Christian Taylor, and Luguelin Santos.
There was no luck for the other Jamaicans on the day in individual events as Danniel Thomas-Dodd had to settle for sixth in the Women's Shot Put with a throw of 16.96m. Aisha Praught was pulled out of the Women's 3000m Steeplechase with one lap to go after being in fifth position. Only the top four athletes at this stage were allowed to continue the race. Former 100m World champion Yohan Blake pulled up injured midway the Men's 100m before walking through the finish line as the United States' Noah Lyles won in 10.01 seconds.