Hyde set to claim 110m hurdles gold
JAHEEL Hyde chases history and a World Youth best in the 110m hurdles as he aims to begin Jamaica's medal haul on the fourth day of track and field at the Second International Olympic Committee (IOC) Youth Olympics at the Olympic Stadium in Nanjing, China, today.
Jamaica won two medals, both by Odean Skeen, in the inaugural Youth Olympics held in Malaysia four years ago and the expectations are for that total to be surpassed today with two more days to go in track and field.
Jamaica also participated in swimming, beach volleyball and female fencing with no medal success. The fencer Tia Simms-Lymn made it to the quarter-finals of the epee individual, while neither of the two swimmers got past the first round of any of their three events, and the volleyballers lost all five pool games.
Today five athletes will contest A finals, including World Youth Championships 400m gold medallist Martin Manley, Raheem Chambers in the men's 100m, Janeek Brown in the women's 100m hurdles and Lushane Wilson in the high jump.
It will be Hyde, though, who will carry the highest expectations after running 13.16 seconds in the preliminaries of the 110m hurdles three days ago, and the World Youth best of 13.12 seconds held by France's Wilhem Belocian looks to be in trouble.
Another five athletes will participate in consolation finals today as well, while four confirmed their places in finals for tomorrow after quality performances on yesterday's final day of qualification.
Hyde will start as the red-hot favourite to add the Youth Olympic title to the IAAF World Youth title he won last year in Ukraine, as well as the IAAF World Junior 400m hurdles gold he won last month in Eugene, Oregon.
He has two of the three fastest times ever at this age group, the 13.13 seconds he ran at the World Youth Championships which is the second best and the 13.16 seconds he did in the qualifying rounds on Wednesday.
On times, Hyde should win by a wide margin as his time puts him well ahead of everyone else in the field with Colombian Jashuan Berrios with a season and personal best 13.42 seconds being the closest to him.
Manley will be seeking to atone for not making it to the final of the quarter-mile in Eugene, bowing out at the semi-final stage, and he has the fastest qualifying time going into today's medal decider.
He ran 47.14 seconds to win his heat, but will be hoping to get closer to his season's best 46.24 seconds.
Chambers has been passed fit to contest the 100m final, but his and the country's hopes for a medal will depend on his hamstring after pulling up in the first round, despite winning in 10.68 seconds.
Australia's Trae Williams, who ran a personal best 10.51 seconds, has the fastest time going in to the final, followed by Zambia's Sydney Siame with 10.58 seconds, and Japan's Kenta Oshima with 10.62 seconds.
Janeek Brown will fly the flag in the women's 100m hurdles final, while Wilson will hope to add to his personal best 2.07m which he accomplished in the first round qualifying.
Also today, a number of athletes will seek to end their season on a high while competing in consolation finals, some just missing a place in the A finals.
Shanice Reid will contest the women's 100m B final; World Youth Championships bronze medallist Tiffany James competes in the women's 400m B final; Junelle Bromfield runs in the women's 800m B final, while Janell Fullerton and Vashon McCarthy will participate in the women's and men's discus throw B finals, respectively.
Yesterday, Jordan Scott, Shenice Cohen, Chad Walker and Nattaliah Whyte all qualified for their respective A finals set to be run tomorrow.
Scott got a personal best 15.36m in the men's triple jump, the fourth best overall.
Cohen was second in her heat of the 400m hurdles running 1 minute 00.24 seconds, behind Slovakia's Michaela Peskova's 59.44 seconds.
Walker overcame a poor start, stumbling out of the blocks to take second place in this men's 200m heat in 21.17 seconds behind Botswana's Baboloki Thebe 20.99 seconds.
Whyte, the World Junior Championships finalist, clocked 23.79 seconds to win her heat.
The men's beach volleyball team lost their fifth match in a row going down 0-2 to Lithuania 21-18, 21-10, while swimmer Timothy Wynter did not show up for his 200m backstroke qualifying race.