Calabar's Taylor steals show at Jamaica Invitational

Sunday, May 20, 2018

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Calabar High School star Christopher Taylor brought the house down inside the National Stadium last evening when he won the International Men's 200m in 20.49 seconds ahead of American great Lashawn Merritt in 20.70s.

In front of a relatively small gathering, fans witnessed the coming of age of the 18-year-old Taylor, who running blind from lane seven with no one in lane eight, was never headed and actually was going away at the end for a most facile victory as the crowd went into rapture.

Anaso Jobodwana of South Africa was third in 20.70s. The 2015 World Championship 200m bronze medallist who has a best time of 19.87s, challenged Taylor off the curve but faded after the schoolboy turned on the afterburners.

“It's a motivation for me going forward seeing that I am just 18. I came up against the big boys and I came out victorious and this just motivates me for the World Juniors,” said Taylor.

Merritt, who has a personal best of 19.74s, interrupted Taylor's interview and congratulated the young Jamaican prodigy.

“He is a great competitor. I have seen him run some 400s and I knew he was ready to come run in front of his home crowd and I congratulate him,” said Merritt.

The ever-improving Shericka Jackson won the Women's International 200m in 22.55s (0.4 mps) as she powered away from Nigeria's world leader Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor who was second in 22.66s. American Phyllis Francis was third in 22.76s.

“The first 100m wasn't so good but then I had another 100m to go and I am a quartermiler so all I had to do run home strong and I did that and I got the win,” said Jackson.

Meanwhile, Jamaica's double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson won the Women's International 100m in 11.06s (-0.3 mps) in a clean sweep by the Jamaicans. Kerron Stewart was second in 11.25s with Natasha Morrison third in 11.26s.

“I am pleased but it is still difficult to push from the blocks but I tried to pick up and push from there. The start is not great now but I am still working on it,” Thompson revealed.

Commonwealth Games champion Jenieve Russell easily captured the Women's 400m hurdle in 54.26 ahead of American Ashley Spencer in 55.23 with Jamaica's American based Leah Nugent third in 55.37. London World Championship bronze medallist Ristananna Tracey was sixth in 56.38.

Howard Walker

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