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Brilliant! - History made as McLeod mines Olympics gold in 110m hurdles

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2016 | 12:00 AMAndre Lowe
Omar McLeod (centre) celebrates as he crosses the line in first place in yesterday's men's 110m hurdles final at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
McLeod clears another hurdle effortlessly on his way to the gold medal.
Shericka Jackson displays her medal during the presentation ceremony for the women's 400 metres inside the Olympic stadium at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last night.


Omar McLeod created history, becoming the first Jamaican to win the 110m hurdles at any major championships after an imperious 13.05 win at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games last night.

Jimmy Cliff's 1983 single Reggae Night blared from the speakers as the Jamaicans inside the sparsely occupied Olympic Stadium - and no doubt those in Half-Way Tree - celebrated the island's fifth medal (3 gold, 2 bronze) at these Games.

McLeod's golden run follows Hansle Parchment's bronze at the London 2012 Games.

Spain's Orlando Ortega, 13.17, and France's Dimitri Bascou, 13.24, took silver and bronze, respectively.

It was a fitting highlight of what has been a dominant season for the Jamaican.

Jamaica has medalled in every women's Olympic 200m final since 1980, and freshly minted 100m champion Elaine Thompson will look to continue that trend when she takes her marks in tonight's final set for 10:30 (8:30 Jamaica time).

Thompson can become the first Jamaican since Veronica Campbell-Brown in 2008 and only the second in history to win gold in this event, but will have her work cut out after several marks were laid in last night's semi-finals.

The Jamaican's time of 22.13 was her best for the year, but she had to watch as Dutch star Dafne Schippers motored away in 21.96 in their semi-final clash, with another Jamaican Simone Facey, 22.57, failing to advance after her third-place finish in another semi-final.




Usain Bolt jogged his way into the men's 200m semi-finals, which are set to go off at 10 (8 Jamaica time) tonight, when he will meet the fastest qualifier into the round and 100m bronze medallist Andre de Grasse (Canada).

Bolt was casual as he won his heat in 20.28 and will have the company of his countrymen Nickel Ashmeade, 20.15, who was also first across the line in his race and Yohan Blake, who was passed on the line as he stepped on the brakes and ended up in second place in 20.13.

Gold medal hopefuls LaShawn Merritt, 20.15, and Justin Gatlin, 20.42, both from the United States, were also easy in advancing to the next round.

For the first time in Olympic history, three Jamaican women will line up in the 400m hurdles final after Janieve Russell, Leah Nugent and Ristananna Tracey all booked their spots with solid performances in last night's semis.

Previously, only five Jamaican women had qualified for the Olympic 400m hurdles final, with Deon Hemmings and Melaine Walker going on to win gold medals at the 1996 and 2008 Games, respectively, with Hemmings also claiming silver in 2000.

Tracey, who has bounced back strongly after a couple of poor seasons, was the most impressive Jamaican, registering the fourth-fastest time in qualifying after her 54.80 second-place finish in her semi-final.

Russell, who was injured just before the national trials after a dominant campaign, says she is beginning to regain her confidence after last night's second-place finish, which came in 54.92. Leah Nugent, who had to endure an emotional evening on Monday after being reinstated following a disqualification and surviving an appeal of that decision by the Belarusian association, finished third in her heat in a personal best time of 54.98.

The final is set for tomorrow at 10:15 p.m. (8:15 p.m. Jamaica time), with Nugent running out of lane two, and Tracey and Russell getting lanes seven and eight, respectively.




There's also a full slate of Jamaicans in today's women's 100m hurdles semi-final, with national champion Megan Simmonds, Shermaine Williams and Nickiesha Wilson looking to become the first Jamaicans since Delloreen Ennis-London and Brigitte Foster-Hylton in 2008 to advance to an Olympic final in the event.

Simmonds, 12.81, was second in her heat, while Wilson, 12.89, who ran third in her race, secured automatic qualification, while Williams, who ran fourth in her heat in a time of 12.95, advanced as one of the fastest outside the automatic spot.

The women's 100m hurdles semi-finals are set to begin at 8:45 p.m. (6:45 p.m. Jamaica time) with the final set to 10:55 p.m. (8:55 p.m.).

Annsert Whyte continues to impress at these Games, winning his second straight race, again in personal best time, clocking 48.32 to better his 48.37 in the heats, as he became the fifth Jamaican to make an Olympic men's 400m hurdles final.

Jaheel Hyde, who finished fifth in 49.17 in his semi, and Roxroy Cato, who was disqualified after crossing the line at the back of the pack, will, however, have to watch from the sidelines after failing to advance.

Kemoy Campbell will be the first Jamaican in action today as he lines up in the men's 5000m heats at 10:05 a.m. (8:05 a.m.), running out of heat one, with Kenia Sinclair, Natoya Goule and Simoya Campbell featuring in the women's 800m heats, which start at 10:55 a.m. (8:55 a.m.).

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