Hyde launches bid for unique double

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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EUGENE, USA — Jamaica's Jaheel Hyde will start his quest for a unique double today when he competes in the first round of the men's 400m hurdles on the second day of the IAAF World Junior Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.

Hyde won the 110m gold medal at last year's IAAF World Youth Championships in Ukraine and earlier this year set a new national junior record 49.49 seconds, which was the leading time in the world for any age group for a week.

No male athlete has won both events at the age group level, but American Jason Richardson won the 400m hurdles at the World Youth level before winning the 110m hurdles at the senior World Championships level.

Okeen Williams, who went into the 400m hurdles final last year as red-hot favourite for the gold medal before hitting the eighth hurdle and falling, will be seeking redemption as well as he seeks a medal.

Meanwhile, Jamaicans will also be in action in first-round heats of the women's 400m and the men's high jump qualifications.

Both Hyde and Williams, who has a personal best 50.88 seconds set this year, are expected to advance past the first round of the intermediate hurdles.

Williams will be first to run when he lines up in the fourth of the six heats, with Hyde running two heats later. The first two from each heat will automatically advance along with the next eight fastest.

Christoff Bryan, who won a bronze medal at the World Youth Championships last year, will get his second try at winning a medal at the World Junior level after failing to get past the first round two years ago in Barcelona, Spain.

Carifta Games Under-20 champion Clayton Brown will also be in the event where championships organisers have set 2.19m as the qualifying mark for the finals to be held Friday.

Despite improving his personal best to 2.23m this year, fourth best in the world so far, Bryan has not been as dominant as he has been in the past, but is expected to at least make it to the finals.

Another World Youth bronze medallist Tiffany James and Yanique McNeil will also line up in the women's 400m set to start at 11:35 am local time (1:35 pm Jamaica time).

McNeil's personal best 52.88 seconds has her ranked at number eight coming into the championships, while James is number 12 with her 53.21 seconds.




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