Ja top medals table with WYC 6 gold, 2 bronze

Ja top medals table with WYC 6 gold, 2 bronze

Golden Champs

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Monday, July 15, 2013

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JAMAICA ended their best-ever showing at an IAAF World Youth Championships with fireworks as they ran a World Youth best 1 minute 49.23 seconds to win the boys’ medley relays, the final event in Donetsk, Ukraine, yesterday.

With Michael O’Hara winning the 200m event, Jamaica added two more gold medals for a total of six, along with two bronze medals, to top the medals table at a global track and field championships for the first time.

It was the first win by a Jamaica team in the boys’ medley relays, while O’Hara, who ran a personal best and World Youth leading 20.63 seconds, was winning the third gold in the 200m by a Jamaican after Usain Bolt, who still holds the World Youth best 20.40 seconds set in Sherbrook, Canada, in 2003, and Ramone McKenzie in 2007 in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Jamaica had won nine medals on two previous occasions, including two years ago in Lille, France, but this was the first time they were winning six gold medals and topping the table.

Kenya finished second with 11 medals; four gold, three silver and four bronze. Ethiopia were next with three gold, three silver and two bronze; Australia also won three gold and a bronze, while the USA finished fifth overall with two gold, seven silver and eight bronze for a total of 17 medals, the most by any country.

Despite several setbacks before they even left the island, including delays that saw some athletes arriving in the European country two days before the start of the competition last Wednesday, the Jamaicans rose to the occasion with a series of spectacular performances.

Yanique Thompson became the first female to go under 13 seconds in the 100m hurdles when she smashed the previous World Youth best by running 12.94 seconds to land the gold.

Jaheel Hyde, who had temporarily abandoned the sprint hurdles for the 400m earlier this year, lowered his personal best three times and ran a spectacular 13.13 seconds, just off the WYB 13.12 seconds to win the 110m hurdles.

Martin Manley and Marvin Williams also ran World Youth Leading times to win the men’s 400m and 400m hurdles, respectively.

Jamaica also landed bronze medals in the women’s 400m through Tiffany James and the men’s high jump with Christoffe Bryan.

In every event, except the boys’ 200m yesterday, Jamaican athletes were setting new standards with medals in those events.

Yesterday, O’Hara, who was bitterly disappointed with a fourth place finish in the boys’ 100m final last Thursday after going into the championships with double gold medal ambitions, beat Brazilian Vitor Hugo Dos Santos to the line in a new personal best 20.63 seconds.

O’Hara’s time made him the third fastest Jamaican youth over the distance behind Bolt’s 20.40 seconds, and 20.58 seconds set by McKenzie at the 2007 CARIFTA Games.

It was also the sixth medal in the event by a Jamaican, as Omar Brown won silver in 1999 in Bydgoszcz, Poland, Nickel Ashmeade took bronze behind McKenzie in 2007, and Odail Todd won silver in Lille, France, two years ago.

The Brazillian ran a personal best 20.67 seconds for the silver, while Cuba’s Reynier Mena took bronze in 20.79 seconds to go with his 100m bronze last Thursday.

The team of Waseem Williams (100m), O’Hara (200m), Okeen Williams (300m) and Martin Manley (400m) then outclassed the strong field to win Jamaica’s first gold and second medal in the boys’ medley relays.

The USA were second with 1 minute 50.14 seconds and Japan third in a new National Youth best 1 minute 50.52 seconds.

Williams, who was a last0minute replacement for 400m hurdler Devaughn Baker, was winning his first gold medal after tripping over the eighth hurdle in the 400m hurdles final the previous day.

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