Coaching staff expectant
Mason,Williams lead J’can charge at WJC
EUGENE, USA — The Jamaican coaching staff is hopeful that after yesterday's brilliant start to the 15th IAAF World Junior Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, the island will earn its first medals on today's second day.
Up to press time last night all seven athletes who took part in the opening rounds of their respective events had advanced to today's second rounds, including the 100m sprinters, who will have the semi-finals and finals today.
Under mostly cloudy skies and cool conditions the championships got off to a great start and organisers will be hoping the rains will stay away.
Assistant coach Keilando Goburn told the Jamaica Observer the athletes had performed up to expectations for the most part, and with the exception of a few technical glitches, the coaching staff was happy with what transpired.
"We are very impressed, in the team meeting last night that was what we spoke about, executing and advancing, doing what is necessary to get through the first round."
He said nerves might have got the better of some of the athletes, but that was something they could fix going into today.
It was a successful first session with male sprinters Jevaughn Minzie and Michael O'Hara advancing to today's semi-finals, while sprint hurdlers Tyler Mason and Marvin Williams also made progress.
Today O'Hara will run in the first semi-final where he will face world junior record holder Trayvon Bromell, of the USA, who is the fastest qualifier after running 10.13 seconds (0.7m/s) to win his heat.
Minzie, who won his heat in 10.32 seconds yesterday, is in the second of three semi-finals where the top two from each heat plus the next two fastest will qualify for the final later in the evening.
Both men told reporters yesterday they can run faster today after getting the first round out of the way.
Minzie, the Carifta Games Under-20 champion and who had the fourth fastest time yesterday, was not pleased with his time. He said he had some problems in his race. "I felt good, but had started slowing down too early, but then saw the Australian and Japanese runners gaining on me so I had the speed up again."
O'Hara was one of several Jamaican sprinters who had issues with the starting blocks that were used and said it affected his start, but he hopes to be able to get past that by the time today's semis get under way.
In the afternoon, Kedisha Dallas, the only female in the 100m, was second in her heat in 11.68 seconds (0.5m/s) and advanced to the semi-finals today.
She told the Observer she stumbled a bit early in the race but did enough to advance.
Mason, who was the first Jamaican on the track, and Williams, the Central American and Caribbean Juniors Under-20 champion, both won their first-round heats in the 110m hurdles and advanced easily.
Williams, who is hoping to run under 13.30 seconds here, will compete in the second of three semi-final heats set to be run off at 5:42 pm local time (7:42 pm Jamaica time), with Mason in the third semis, seven minutes later.
Mason, who came into the championships with the third fastest time this year, said his first round race yesterday was easy. "It felt like a stroll in the park," he said after winning his heat in 13.46 seconds running into a slight headwind of -0.3 metres per second.
"I feel great, but was slow out of the blocks, but I came through to win the heat," Mason said, explaining that he was unaccustomed to the type of starting blocks that are being used here. He promised he should be better by tomorrow.
Williams, the World Youth Championships 400m hurdles winner last year, ran 13.71 seconds (0.6m/s) in his heat and said his technique was "a bit off". "I did not run so well between hurdles seven and 10, but that will be fixed by tomorrow," he said, adding that his anxiety got the better of him.
Both men's 400m runners Martin Manley and Nathan Allen also advanced, with Manley placing second in his heat in 47.20 seconds, while Allen was third in his heat in 48.06 seconds.
Allen went out hard in his race and paid dearly as after making up the stagger on the field, struggled home to finish behind Japan's Kaisei Yui who clocked 47.06 seconds and Botswana's Karabo Sibanda in 47.96 seconds.