MONTEGO BAY, St James — Jamaica’s young track and field ambassadors turned in yet another breathtaking display on yesterday’s third day of the Eighth IAAF World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, winning two gold medals and a bronze to sit on top of the medals table.
Following Yanique Thompson’s heroics on Thursday when she set a new World Youth best 12.94 seconds to win Jamaica’s first-ever gold in the women’s 100m hurdles, Jaheel Hyde and Martin Manley rewrote the history books with wins in the 110m hurdles and 400m, respectively, first ever by Jamaicans at this level.
Hyde ran a stupendous championship record 13.13 seconds in the men’s 110m hurdles, a scant one hundredth of a second outside the World Youth best 13.12 seconds set by France’s Wilhem Belocian in Lens in July last year, while Manley turned in a big personal best 45.89 seconds, a World Youth leading mark and second best ever by a Jamaican to win the quarter-mile race.
Tiffany James added a bronze in the women’s 400m, the fourth medal in this event, as Jamaica topped the medals tables ahead of the People’s Republic of China with two gold, two silver and two bronze followed by Australia with two gold medals.
The United States have 10 medals, the most won by any country but only one gold along with five silver and four bronze.
In one of the best showing ever at this level so far, the quality of the performances by the Jamaicans have also been commendable with several World Leading or personal best marks being established. Jamaica has twice won nine medals at the World Youth Championships including in Lille, France, in 2011.
Meanwhile, the medal chase is expected to continue on today’s penultimate day of competition as Jamaica will field four athletes in three finals, Christoff Bryan in the men’s high jump, Andrenette Knight in the women’s 400m hurdles and the duo of World Youth Leader Okeen Williams and Marvin Williams in the men’s 400m hurdles.
Also today, Tamara Moncrieffe will contest the preliminaries of the women’s long jump while the heats of the ‘Swedish’ Relays (100m, 200m, 300m, 400m) will be run as well as the semi-finals of the 200m where Jamaica are well represented.
After a quiet morning session, Jamaica ended the third day in spectacular fashion with two gold medals and a bronze in a 35-minute span that also saw a championship record and a sublime well-timed run.
Hyde, who had walked away from the national Under-17 football team that was preparing for a CONCACAF Finals tournament then switched to the 400m, ran a series of stupendous races.
The Wolmer’s student who had only returned to hurdles training three weeks ago, had run 13.47 seconds in his first round on Thursday before sending out warnings with a smooth 13.22 seconds World Youth leading run in the semi-finals, minutes after American Marlon Humphrey had clocked a then personal best and World Youth leading 13.28 seconds in the previous semi-final heat.
Two and half hours later, Hyde who had skipped the hurdles at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Junior Trials in mid-June, ran an almost perfect race as Humphrey, who was seeking the hurdles double, had to settle for silver in a personal best 13.24 seconds with China’s Yang Lu third in 13.33 seconds, also a personal best.
Earlier, Manley who had played second fiddle to Devaughn Baker all season, completed a satisfying championship with the second best time ever by a Jamaican, behind Usain Bolt’s 45.35 seconds and ahead of Michael McDonald’s 46.17 seconds.
He set a new personal best 46.65 seconds in the semi-finals a day earlier and in yesterday’s final, catching American Ryan Clarke in the home stretch and blowing by him, taking almost a full second off his time a day earlier.
“I felt very confident in myself, Manley said afterwards... I’ m proud that I have the World youth title,” he said.
Baker finished seventh in 47.97 seconds.
James, who had come to the fore last year when she became the first athlete in the history of Papine High to win a gold medal at the ISSA Girls Champs, had a steady series of run that culminated in a gritty performance, placing third in 53.86 seconds behind Great Britain’s Sabrina Bakare (52.77 seconds) and American Olivia Baker (53.38).
Also yesterday, all four 200m runners qualified for today’s semi-finals, with 100m finalist Michael O’Hara winning his heat while the other three all finished second in their heats for automatic qualifying places.
After his 100m setback, placing fourth, O’Hara bounced back with a good 20.96 seconds outing, second overall to Cuba’s Reynier Mena, the 100m bronze medallist.
Odane Bernard, who is making his national team debut, was second in his heat, running 21.71 seconds to finish behind Trinidad’s Jonathon Farinha (21.46 seconds).