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World U-20 Champs: All eight J'cans advance on day two

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

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TAMPERE, Finland — Jamaica's joint World Junior Record holder in the 110m hurdles Damion Thomas and National Junior Record holder in the 400m Christopher Taylor led all eight Jamaicans pass the first round on today's second day of action at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland.

The young Jamaicans continued to impress and, with few exceptions, won their first round heats.

Thomas and Orlando Bennett both won their sprint hurdles races and advanced to the semi-finals set for this afternoon, while Taylor and Chantz Sawyers also won their 400m races to secure their places in the semi-finals set for Thursday afternoon.

Intermediate hurdlers Shiann Salmon and Sanique Walker made progress from their first rounds as did 100m runners Briana Williams and Okera Myrie.

Thomas led all qualifiers in the 110m hurdles with 13.41 seconds (1.0m/s) while Bennett also won his heat in 13.65 seconds (0.9m/s) and look set to secure their places in the final on Thursday afternoon.

It was a feeling of relief for Thomas who had crashed out of the first round two years ago in Bydgoszcz, Poland and said afterwards “the first run is the hardest one as you get used to the track and the stadium but it will get better”.

He said also: “the race felt good, I am getting my legs back under me, I was off a bit but will be ready to run, the plan is just to survive and move on.”

Bennett said his plan was simple, “come out and execute,” and said that a recall after a faulty start did not affect his focus. “It did not affect me I was focussing on my lane so I did not allow it to affect me.”

Both Taylor and Sawyers were in control of their races, Taylor clocking 46.14 seconds, second to Barbados' Jonathon Jones' personal best 46.05 seconds with Sawyers' 46.52 seconds being the fourth best overall.

In the women's 100m first round, Briana Williams surprised herself with a fast 11.28 seconds (1.9m/s) to lead the entire field while Myrie was third in her heat in 11.70 seconds (1.8m/s) but was an automatic qualifier for the semi-finals.

Salmon who is expected to battle for the gold medal, had the third best time overall of 58.14 seconds with South African favourite Zeney Van Der Walt leading with 57.78 seconds and Canada's Xahria Santiago next with 58.09 seconds.

Walker, the World Under-18 silver medallist, finished in 58.45 seconds and eased up noticeably in her heat after leading off the last hurdle but was passed at the line by American Brooke Jaworski who ran 58.42 seconds.

Paul Reid

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