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South-central athletes shine in Rio

Thompson, McLeod lead the way

BY PAUL A REID Observer Central reporter

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Historic performances from former Manchester High School students Elaine Thompson and Omar McLeod highlighted the contributions of athletes from the south-central region in Jamaica’s outstanding display in the track and field portion of the just concluded XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Thompson became the first Jamaican woman to win the sprint double at the Olympics, while McLeod won the men’s 110m hurdles, the first by a Jamaican man, to add to his historic World Indoor 60m hurdles in March.

Fifteen athletes, with connections to south-central Jamaica, competed in individual events. Several contested the relays.

After languishing in the shadow of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce in her short career, Thompson grabbed all of the spotlight for herself with the sprint double, the first ever by a Jamaican woman at the Olympic Games and first since American Florence Griffiths-Joyner in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea.

Thompson just missed equalling her personal best 10.70 seconds set in July when she ran 10.71 seconds to win the 100m, then upset pre-Olympic favourite Dafne Schippers in the 200m, avenging her loss at last year’s World Championships, by running a season’s best 21.78 seconds.

McLeod shook of two falls leading up to the Olympics to win the 110m hurdles with a flawless run, clocking 13.05 seconds, to confirm he is the best in the obstacle race in the world this year.

Shericka Jackson, a former Vere Technical standout, repeated her bronze medal performance from last year’s World Championships in the 400m, running 49.85 seconds behind The Bahamas’s Shaunae Miller and American Allyson Felix in one of the more exciting races in Rio.

Except for the men’s 4x100m relay team that won gold, athletes from central Jamaica contributed to the three silver medals won in the other relays.

Christania Williams, Thompson and Veronica Campbell Brown were part of the women’s 4x100m silver medal run, after Simone Facey and Sashalee Forbes (Holmwood) ran in the heats.

Jackson and former Holmwood Technical standout Anniesha McLaughlin helped the women’s 4x400m team win the silver, while Rusheen McDonald ran the heats on the men’s 4x400m team that also won the silver medal.

Performances in individual events:
Women’s shot put:
Danniel Thomas (Edwin Allen)
25th out of 36 with a best of 16.99m

Women’s 100m:
Elaine Thompson (Manchester High) Gold
Christania Williams (Edwin Allen) 8th; ran PB 10.96 in semi-finals

Women’s 200m:
Elaine Thompson –
Gold, 21.78 seconds
Simone Facey (Vere Technical) – semi-final
Veronica Campbell Brown (Vere Technical) – first round

Men’s 400m:
Rusheen McDonald (Garvey Maceo) – semis-finals

Women’s Triple jump:
Kimberly Williams (Vere Technical) – 7th, 14.53m

Women’s 400m:
Shericka Jackson (Vere) – Bronze, 49.85 seconds

Women’s discus throw:
Tarasue Barnett (Edwin Allen) – 16th, 58.09m

Men’s 110m hurdles:
Omar McLeod (Manchester High) – Gold, 13.05 seconds

Women’s 400m hurdles:
Ristananna Tracey (Edwin Allen) – 5th, 54.15 PB
Janieve Russell (Holmwood Tech) – 7th, 54.56

Men’s 5,000m:
Kemoy Campbell (Bellefield) – 25th, 13:30.32