The Star (Jamaica)
GOLD MEDAL CHASE!
Tina Clayton, who celebrated her 17th birthday on Tuesday, remains on course to deliver herself a belated gift when she participates in the women’s 100 metres final at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, this morning.
Clayton emerged the real bright spark for Jamaica when the championship got under way yesterday, by advancing to the 100metre final as the fastest qualifier, this after winning her semi-final in 11.34 seconds.
Clayton, who is the number oneranked female 100m athlete at the Championships, had earlier won her heat quite easily and in the semi-final, she looked quite relaxed as she began easing up with around 30 metres to go. Ivana Ilic of Serbia was second.
Another Jamaican, Kerrica Hill, the National Under- 20 100 metres hurdles champion who was surprisingly taken out of event by the management staff and inserted in the 100 metres – ahead of Serena Cole who is ranked higher – had to settle for fourth in her semi-finals, in
11.60 seconds. Fortunately, Hill qualified for the final as the seventh fastest athlete overall.
Hill’s semi-final was won by Namibia’s Beatrice Masilingi in 11.35 seconds ahead of Melissia Gutschmidt of Switzerland, 11.50 seconds.
Praise Ofoku of Nigeria won semi-final three in 11.57 seconds.
The final is scheduled this morning at 9:30 (Jamaica time) and Clayton will be hoping to make Jamaica retain the title, following Briana Williams’ success three years ago in Tampere, Finland.
Masilingi, who finished sixth in the women’s 200 metres final in Tokyo, is a real threat to the Jamaican, as in the preliminary round she clocked a national record 11.20 seconds.
In the men’s 100 metres, Jamaica’s Alicke Cranston and Bryan Levell failed to advance to the final. Cranston, after a quick first 30 metres, struggled from then and eased up in the end to finish eighth in a disappointing 10.94 seconds.
It was even more disappointing for Levell, who was the fourthranked athlete in the event. After looking quite relaxed in winning his heat, Levell was disqualified for a false start in his semi-final.
In the first final on the track, the mixed 4x400m relay – which was being contested at these Championships for the first time – the quartet of Shaemar Uter, Aaliyah Francis, Aaliah Baker and Malachi Johnson had to settle for fourth in 3:23.04 minutes.
In a close finish, Nigeria captured the gold medal in a Championships record of 3:19.70. Poland, 3:19.80, and India, 3:20.60, finished second and third, respectively.
Only one of four Jamaicans advanced to the final of the 400 metres, which is set for Saturday (tomorrow Jamaica time).
Oneika McAnuff won her heat in 54.13 seconds to qualify as the fifth fastest going into the final. Analee Robinson ended fifth in her heat in 56.56 and failed to advance. Among the males, Jeremy Bembridge pulled up and fell to the track with 90 metres to go, while Tahj Hamm ended seventh in his heat in 47.73 seconds.
Kobe Lawrence, who qualified with the sixth best mark of 18.65 metres in the morning session of qualifying for the men’s shot put, will be the first Jamaican in action on today’s second day of competition, when he contests the final at 7:20 a.m.
Cedricka Williams, the fourthranked female discus thrower at the Championships, will also be involved in a field event final, as the women’s discus medal round is slated to begin at 8:25 a.m. Jamaica time.