Thompson, Day, Francis earn first national senior titles

Changing of the guard?

By Howard Walker Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, June 29, 2015

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Elaine Thompson, Christine Day and Javon Francis all crowned themselves first-time senior national champions as they Supreme Ventures JAAA Senior Championships concluded last night at the National Stadium.


Elaine Thompson of MVP presented herself a wonderful gift by winning the women's 200m final in 22.51 seconds to celebrate her 23rd birthday in convincing fashion.


The UTech student, running out of lane five, had a narrow lead over the two-time Olympic champion Veronica Campbell-Brown in lane four and Sherone Simpson in lane six coming into the straight before turning on the after burners to pull away impressively for a facile victory.


"I just tried my best to come off the corner pretty fast as my coach told me to do and I just did that and I came out victorious and for that I am happy. I am excited because I get a birthday present," said Thompson.


The 2006 Commonwealth Games champion and 2008 Olympic 100 silver medallist Simpson was second in 22.77 seconds, while Campbell-Brown, now 33 years old, just held on for third in 23.04 seconds ahead of Simone Facey with 23.05 seconds.


Meanwhile, 25-year-old Ashmeade finished strongly from lane four to capture his first 200m crown in 20.36 seconds ahead of 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Warren Weir in 20.40 seconds. Both had to work hard to catch Julian Forte, who ran a superb curve but faded into third with 20.51 seconds.


The promising Francis of Akan won his first senior national title after he held on from the fast-finishing Rusheed McDonald to win in 44.70 seconds. McDonald, who went out too slowly in the first 300m, came home like a freight train but too late in 44.73 seconds.


Ricardo Chambers was third in 45.10, but was later disqualified. Peter Mathews, who clocked 45.24 was promoted to third, while Edino Steele finished fourth with 45.25 seconds.


Day of MVP won her first senior title in the 400m in 50.16 seconds, equalling her personal best after successfully chasing race favourite Stephanie McPherson, who went out too fast and finished third in 50.49 seconds. Shericka Jackson left it late, but finished fast into second spot with a personal best of 50.31 seconds.


It was a sister act that brought a curtain down on the four-day championship as the Williams siblings comprising Danielle and Shermaine finished first and second in the 100m hurdles final. Danielle won in 12.71 seconds ahead of Shermaine in 12.84 seconds. Kimberley Laing was third in 12.89 seconds.


Earlier, Olympic 400m hurdles champion Melanie Walker, whose switch to the 100m hurdles resulted in a break-up with the MVP camp, finished fifth in semi-final two in 13.59 seconds and failed to qualify for the final. The race was won by Daeshon Gordon of the Louisaiana State University in 13.20 seconds. She ended fourth in the final.


Walker won the 2008 Olympic Games 400m hurdles in Olympic record time of 52.64 seconds and improved that to 52.42 seconds while striking gold at the 2009 World Championships, which is the second fastest time in history.


The promising Megan Simmonds of UTech failed to make the final after falling at the last hurdle while leading. She got up and desperately threw herself across the line in fifth in 14.40 seconds.


Kimberley Williams won the women's triple jump with a leap of 14.34m and surpassed the World Championships qualifying mark of 14.20m. Shanieka Thomas of UWI with 13.69m was second, while Imani Thomas was third with 13.57m.


Veteran Olivia McKoy won the women's javelin with 46.45m ahead of Kateema Riettie of New Balance with 46.29m. Taleika Nelson of GC Foster was third with 40.74m. But McKoy's winning throw was well below the qualifying mark of 61.00m and below her national record of 61.10m.






 


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