Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter
Michael Dyke, Jamaica's head coach to the 14th International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Junior Championships being held at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium in Barcelona, Spain, is expecting medals on today's second day after a good showing on the opening day which saw nine of the 11 athletes who participated advance to the next round.
The stadium was a far cry from the packed ones for football that are normally seen on television, as only a small crowd gathers to witness the top junior athletes in the world compete.
"We expect to be on the medal podium come tomorrow (today). I can't say how many medals or what colour, but we expect to be there," Dyke said at the close of the yesterday's action.
One Jamaican has already secured a spot in one of the seven finals down to be contested today, as World Youth Championships gold medallist Federick Dacres will seek to add the World Juniors gold to his collection. Dacres advanced to the discus final with the sixth best throw, a distance of 58.90 metres, which he achieved with his final attempt.
Odean Skeen and Jazeel Murphy will attempt to make the final of the men's 100m and continue their quest to extend Jamaica's string of wins in the shortest sprint at the championship to three, following Dexter Lee's victories at the last two World Juniors in 2008 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and two years ago in Moncton, Canada.
Murphy, competing at his first global youth event, won heat eight in 10.45 seconds (-0.4 m/s) to advance to today's semi-final as the fifth-fastest qualifier.
Reigning World Youth Olympic champion, Skeen, took heat eight in 10.50 seconds (zero wind) to be the joint eighth leading qualifier.
The final of the event is slated to bring down the curtains on today's proceedings at 2:45 p.m. (Jamaican time).
"I am happy, just going through the rounds slowly but easy," Skeen said after his victory. "It was very comfortable, no pressure, just relaxed and kept my form to the line. I am very confident going into the semi-final and final tomorrow (today)," he added.
Murphy was extremely slow to get out of the blocks, but promised better execution today.
"I didn't want to false-start, so I sat down in the blocks," Murphy explained. "I am going to work on my start in the semis and final and I know I am going to do good things. I know that I can do it," he added.
Monique Spencer and Shawnette Lewin ran an identical 11.78 seconds to advance as the joint 14th fastest times to the semi-final of the women's 100m. Seventeen-year-old Spencer won heat four, which was run with a wind speed of +0.7 m/s.
"I feel good to make the semi-final, but hopefully I can be in the final tomorrow (today)," shared Lewin, who placed second in heat two, which saw the athletes running into a wind of -0.8 m/s.
The women's final will also be contested today and is set for 2 p.m.
Javon Francis won heat five of the men's 400m in a new PB of 46.31 seconds, bettering his previous best of 47.16 in progressing to today's semi-final.
Lennox Williams missed out after placing fourth in heat seven, timed at 47.31 seconds.
Despite not feeling well, Simoya Campbell's time of 2:06.18 was good enough for third in heat three of the women's 800 metres. She progressed to the semi-final as the 12th-fastest qualifier.
"I want to thank God for another opportunity to represent my country," expressed Campbell, who is participating in her first World Juniors. "[The time] 2:06.18 felt fast because I haven't competed in a long while since trials." she added.
Desreen Montaque did not fare well, as she failed to advance from heat six of the half-mile event after placing fifth in a time of 2:10.22.
Jamaica's 110 metres hurdling duo of Yanick Hart and Stefan Fennell placed second in their respective heats to book their places in today's semi-final.
Fennell ran 13.81 seconds (-1.3 m/s) to secure his place from heat four, while Hart stopped the clock at 13.87 seconds (1.6 m/s) in heat number eight.
"I think it is a fair day's performance as it is the first round, so we asked everybody to try and qualify as comfortably as possible," Dyke said. "Javon Francis went out and looked good in the 400m, but overall we didn't expect anything spectacular today," he added.
Schedule for today
Men's shot put prelim (Ashinia Miller and Emmanuel Onyia) - 2:10 a.m.
Women's 400m heats (Olivia James and Chrisann Gordon) - 3:40 a.m.
Men's 400m hurdles heats (Javon Gallimore and Shavon Barnes) - 4:30 a.m.
Women's 800m semi-finals (Simoya Campbell) - 5:20 a.m.
Men's 110m hurdles semi-final (Yanick Hart and Stefan Fennell) - 11:30 a.m.
Men's high jump prelim (Christoffe Bryan) -11:40 a.m.
Women's 100m semi-final (Monique Spencer and Shawnette Lewin) - 12 p.m.
Men's shot put FINAL - 12:20 p.m.
Men's 100m semi-final (Jazeel Murphy and Odean Skeen) - 12:30 p.m.
Men's 400m semi-finals (Javon Francis) - 1 p.m.
Women's 100m FINAL - 2 p.m.
Men's 100m FINAL - 2:45 p.m.