Jamaica draws blank in Cali
AFTER THUNDERSTORMS and heavy showers the previous day previewed Tia Clayton’s championship-record-winning gold medal, yesterday in Cali, Colombia, sunshine spelled doom for Jamaican athletes.
In the men’s 400 metres final at the World Under-20 Championships here, Delano Kennedy, the fastest qualifier, was disqualified for false-starting while the fast-starting Shamer Uter, running out of lane eight, faded to sixth to end in 46.36 seconds.
Lyte Pillay of South Africa won in a personal best 45.28, ahead of the United States’ Steven Mcelroy, second in 45.65. Bahrain’s Yusuf Ali Abbas finished third in a personal best 45.86.
In the women’s 400 metres, Dejanea Oakley could only manage fifth in 52.31, while Great Britain’s Yumi Mary John struck gold in 51.50. Damarius Mutongo of Kenya took second in 51.71, and third went to India’s .Rupal in 51.85.
In the final event of the day, the men’s 200 metres, Bryan Levell could not reproduce his semifinal heroics, settling for sixth in 20.72 seconds.
Blessing Akawsi Afrifah of Israel and 100-metre champion Letsile Teboga of Botswana were involved in a tight finish for gold, with both producing 19.96. Afrifah was eventually given the win, denying Teboga a famous double, while Calab Law of Australia ended third in 20.48.
In early action yesterday, the Jamaicans got off to a perfect start with female sprint hurdlers Alexis James and Kerrica Hill leading the way with excellent qualifications for the women’s 100 metres hurdles semifinals today.
Hill, the world number one, easily won her heat in 13.30 seconds to advance, while James breezed to a personal best 13.04.
J’Voughn Blake will be the only Jamaican in today’s semifinals of the men’s 800 metres following first-round action yesterday. Blake ended fourth in his heat, clocking one minute, 48.97 seconds (1:48.97).
Blake’s teammate, Adrian Nethersole, could only manage a seventh-place finish in his heat, crossing the tape in 1:53.91.
Triple jumper Jaydon Hibbert, who is ranked number one in the world, qualified for today’s final after leading all qualifiers, hopping, skipping, and jumping to 16.37 metres.
Teammate Royan Walters, however, failed to advance. Competing in Group A, Walters finished seventh with a best of 15.29 metres, leaving him one place short of qualification.
There were better moments in the early part of the afternoon session, with the women’s 4x100 metres relay quartet of Serena Cole, Tina Clayton, Alexis James, and Tia Clayton cruising to a 43.65 seconds to win their heat ahead of Italy, second in 44.69 seconds. The team will be strengthened for the final with Hill reuniting with her world record team-mates.
The men also advanced to today’s final, the quartet of Bouwahjgie Nkrumie, Adrian Kerr, Mark Anthony Daley, and David Lynch, finishing second in 39.24 seconds in their heat behind Japan (39.12). Levell is expected to strengthen the Jamaican team for the final.
The women’s 200 metres witnessed a Briana Lyston in total command, the Hydel High School standout strolling to 22.83 seconds ahead of the United States’ Mia Brahe Pederson (22.95). Alana Reid is also through to the final after producing a personal best 23.16 seconds for second behind the United States’ Jayla Jamison (23.01).
Roshawn Clarke is through to the final of the men’s 400-metre hurdles after what was a very competitive heat. The top-three finishers ran personal bests to qualify fastest going into the final.
Clarke led the way with 49.35 seconds, followed closely by Qatar’s Ismail Doudai Abkar in 49.48, and Slovakia’s Matie Ian Gucek in a national record 49.72.
Antonio Forbes failed to advance to the final after a sixth-place finish in his semifinal in 51.42 seconds.