Clayton happy with ‘realistic’ bronze
Okeil Stewart, the coach of Rushell Clayton, had to fight hard to hold back tears as the reality of Clayton’s bronze medal-winning performance at the 2019 IAAF World Championships dawned on him as he made his way out of the Khalifa International Stadium yesterday.
The founder of Swept Track Club was almost speechless when speaking with The Gleaner.
“Words can’t explain how I feel,” Stewart said. “We stuck together through the good and bad times and now this happened.”
Clayton claimed the bronze medal in the fastest women’s 400m hurdles race ever as American Dalilah Muhammad lowered her world record to 52.16 seconds to win the gold medal.
Clayton stopped the clock at 53.74, a personal best, to finish behind Sydney McLaughlin (52.23 PB), who went toe-to-toe with Muhammad.
“Realistically, those girls (McLaughlin and Muhammad) are at a different level, and I told her that McLaughlin will catch her at some point in time in the race and she should hold her nerves and focus on her race plan,” Stewart explained. “I knew she would have executed a good race if she did that, and that’s exactly what she did.”
He continued: “Where Clayton is concerned, there is little or no limitation you can put on her. She is the type of athlete that rises to the occasion, so come next year, we can expect more from Rushell Clayton.”
Clayton’s medal increases the country’s medal tally at these championships to seven: two gold, three silver, and two bronze.
Demish Gaye missed out on adding to the medal count as he finished fourth in the men’s 400m final.
Gaye clocked a personal best of 44.46 seconds as Bahamian Steven Gardiner won in a national record of 43.48 seconds while Anthony Zambrano of Colombia ran 44.15 seconds.
Akeem Bloomfield finished eighth in the race in 45.36.
“My body has been feeling a bit tired. I’m happy to be in the final and valuable experience can be taken from the final,” Bloomfield said.
Jamaica’s women’s 4x100m relay team qualified for today’s final with the fastest time. The team of Natalliah Whyte, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jonielle Smith, and Natasha Morrison posted 42.11 seconds.
“The objective was to get the stick around, and we did that. I am glad the ladies held it together and brought the stick,” Fraser-Pryce said after the race.
Shericka Jackson, the women’s 400m bronze medallist, is expected to be added to the team for today’s final.
The men’s team failed to advance to the final for the first time since 2001. The team of Oshane Bailey, Yohan Blake, Rasheed Dwyer, and Tyquendo Tracey registered 38.15 seconds for fifth in their heat.
Shanieka Ricketts, who is coming into today’s final with the farthest jump in the qualifying round, will be hunting her first medal at a global athletics championships when she and Kimberly Williams contest the women’s Triple Jump final at 12:35 p.m.
Ricketts has jumped 14.93m this season, and she is hoping to become the second Jamaican to go beyond the 15m mark as national record holder Trecia Smith achieved the feat four times in her career. Smith has the Jamaican record at 15.16m.
The preliminary round of the women’s 100m hurdles race will be contested at 9:15 a.m. Danielle Williams, Megan Tapper, Janeek Brown, and Yanique Thompson will represent the country in the event.
The women’s and men’s mile relay heats will be contested today at 11:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m., respectively.
Today’s full schedule:
8:30 a.m. Men’s Javelin Throw Qual A
9:15 a.m. Women’s 100m Hurdles Heats
9:50 a.m. Women’s Long Jump Qual
10:00 a.m. Men’s Javelin Throw Qual B
11:55 a.m. Women’s 4x400m Relay Heats
12:05 p.m. Men’s Shot Put Final
12:25 p.m. Men’s 4x400m Relay Heats
12:35 p.m. Women’s Triple Jump Final
12:55 p.m. Women’s 1500m Final
1:25 p.m. Women’s 5000m Final
2:05 p.m. Women’s 4x100m Relay Final
2:15 p.m. Men’s 4x100m Relay Final
3:59 p.m. Men’s Marathon Final