In the midst of glory, disappointment haunts some J'can athletes
LONDON, England — It was disappointment for Jamaica in the women's triple jump and 400m finals at yesterday's third day of track and field at the 27th Olympic Games at Olympic Stadium.
Kimberly Williams and Trecia Smith finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the triple jump while Novelene Williams-Mills and Rosemarie Whyte were fifth and eighth, respectively, in the women's 400m.
Additionally, Dane Hyatt failed to advance to the final of the men's 400m, finishing seventh in his semi-final, running 45.59 seconds. He told the Jamaica Observer after that being drawn in lane two affected his race.
There was optimism that Jamaica would come away with two medals from both women's events after good performances in the earlier rounds.
Williams had jumped a personal best 14.53m to qualify in second place for the final in Friday morning's preliminaries but managed only 14.48m yesterday, while Smith, who was once again bothered by fouls, had a season-best 14.35m, her second of the Games, an improvement on the 14.31m she got in the first round.
Both women were adamant they
were not disappointed in finishing outside the medals.
"I am not that satisfied, but it happened and it's what I had in me today... I made it to the top eight in the Olympics and I am happy; I made it to the Olympic final so I have a lot to look forward to in the future," said Williams.
Smith, the 2005 World Champion, was gushing with pleasure saying she was pleased with her results and could not wait for next season to start.
"It wasn't the best of seasons for me, so this is an achievement for me," she noted.
After fouling her first two jumps, she said there was some pressure for the third attempt that got her into the top
eight, but said the other jumps did not all come together.
This, Smith claims, has been her best Olympics as she was more relaxed. "I had no form in Beijing and was injured competing in Athens, and then I had more pressure on me to perform as well," she explained.
Williams-Mills, who was making the women's 400m final in her third Olympic Games, was seen as a dark horse medal prospect, but after a hard semi-final the previous day, could only manage fifth place in 50.11 seconds, while Beijing finalist Whyte was eighth in 50.79 seconds.
There was no luck in the men's 400m semi-finals as the lone Jamaican Hyatt struggled in lane two and ended up seventh in the third heat in 45.59 seconds.
Today, Leford Green will seek to be the third Jamaican man to medal in the Olympic Games 400m hurdles after Winthrop Graham in 1992 and Danny McFarlane in 2004 — both won silver medals.
Green qualified for the final in his first Olympic Games after placing second in a season's best 48.61 seconds behind the American Michael Tinsley, who also ran a season-best 48.18 seconds.
After a less-than-smooth effort especially over the final 100m on Saturday, Green said he had enough time to make sure today's run was better. "We will build on it for
the final and see if we can get it smoother," he said.
His coach Lennox Graham told the Observer from North Carolina yesterday that Green needed "to concentrate on the technical aspects" of his race.
"He needs to focus on technical areas... he ran the middle perfectly yesterday, but had errors in the straight," Gaham said.
With barely a day's rest since winning gold and bronze in the women's 100m finals on Saturday night, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Veronica Campbell Brown will be joined by Sherone Simpson in
the first-round heats of the women's 200m this afternoon.