Jamaica youth ready to challenge world
Demar Gayle and Paula-Ann Gayle not only share the same surname, but the same school and coach. And while the two aren't related, they will tomorrow share the common goal of hunting spots in the finals of their respective events at the IAAF World Youth Champion-ships in Donetsk, Ukraine.
The Edwin Allen pair, who are joined here by assistant team coach Marlon Gayle - also from the Frankfield, Clarendon-based school - will join 15 other Jamaicans in action on the championships' opening day inside the RSC Olimpiysky. Demar won last year's Class Two shot put title, before making the final in his first year in Class One at this year's ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls' Athletics Championships, but will need to throw considerably better than his 18.32m personal best if he is to be a factor here.
Paula-Ann faces what appears a similarly tough challenge in the girls' discus, with her best of 47.13m falling outside the top-15 marks recorded this year.
The boys shot put and the girls discus, along with the girls 3000m, are the only finals set for tomorrow's championship opener.
Joint top youth quarter-miler, Devaughn Baker and number six-ranked Martin Manley are, however, both expected to challenge for medals and should qualify comfortably from the 400m heats.
Baker, who shares the fastest time this year - 46.64 with the USA's Chris Platt - says he has been responding well in training and will be going all out to bring home the gold medal.
"I am pleased with my season and I have really been training well, so I am going out there to try and get the gold medal," said Baker.
Top sprinter Michael O'Hara will start his quest for a sprint double, with the running of the boys 100m heats.
O'Hara is already one of the most discussed athletes at these championships, with the world number-two ranked in the 100m coming into Donetsk with a time of 10.39.
Waseem Williams is also set to face the starter in the 100m heats, as the pair look to follow in the strides of Dexter Lee (2007) and Odail Todd (2011) in becoming World 100m Youth champion.
Veronica Campbell-Brown is the only Jamaican to win a girls 100m World Youth title, after her exploits in 1999. This is something that Saqukine Cameron and Joneille Smith will be looking to address, starting with tomorrow's girls 100m heats.
Yanique Thompson has three of the four fastest times recorded in the 100m hurdles this year, with her best of 13.23 coming just a few weeks ago at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures Limited National Junior Champion-ships at the National Stadium.
The youngster will be joined by Carifta Under-17 champion, Rushelle Burton, whose 13.43 makes her the fourth-fastest youth so far this year, in what is a very strong hurdling unit for the Jamaicans.
Yanique McNeil is expected to end up on the podium for the girls 400m, but she will have to safely navigate the heats first with the number two-ranked 53.17 athlete expected to be joined by Tiffany James, who despite not being her dominant self in 2013, is as confident as ever and is also looking likely to challenge for top spot.
"It's my first World Championships, but I am looking forward to it. I am always confident in myself, so I am also looking forward to going there and doing well," said James, who has seen only three young women go faster than her all season.
Number three-ranked Daeshon Gordon and number-nine ranked Andrenette Knight will be looking to make an impact in the 400m hurdles heats, while Tamara Moncrieffe will get started in girls triple jump qualifying.
(Jamaican athletes - Wednesday, July 10)
Girls 100m hurdles heats - 1:30 a.m.)
Girls discus heats (1:35 a.m. and 2:50 a.m.)
Boys' shot put qualifiers (2:05 a.m.)
Girls 400m heats (3:50 a.m.)
Boys' 100m heats (4:45 a.m.)
Girls 400m hurdles (9:00 a.m.)
Boys' 400m hurdles (9:35 a.m.)
Girls triple jump qualifiers (10:10 a.m.)
Girls 100m heats (10:15 a.m.)
Boys' shot put FINAL (11:05 a.m.)
Girls discus FINAL (11:55 a.m.)
The Regional Sports Complex 'Olimpiyskyi'
Ja's previous IAAF World Youth Championships medal tally
(1999) Bydgoszcz, Poland - 8 medals (3 gold, 3 silver, 3 bronze)
(2001) Debrecen, Hungary - 6 medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze)
(2003) Sherbrooke, Canada - 4 medals (2 gold, 2 silver)
(2005) Marrakesh, Morocco - 3 medals (1 silver, 2 bronze)
(2007) Ostrava, Czech Republic - 9 medals (2 gold, 5 silver, 2 bronze)
(2009) Brixen, Italy - 2 medals (1 silver, 1 bronze)
(2011) Lille, France - 9 medals (4 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze)