Jamaica set to strike in relays
GLASGOW, Scotland — As expected, and to the delight of another packed Hampden Park crowd, Jamaica's men's and women's 4x100m relay teams won their semi-final heats at the XX Commonwealth Games here last night to progress to today's finals.
The team of Kimari Roach, Julian Forte, Nickel Ashmeade and sprint king Usain Bolt clocked a 'Sunday stroll' 38.99 seconds to win heat two.
Roach, running the lead-off leg, sustained a minor injury during his first-leg run.
Other countries into the final today are Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, England, Canada, Nigeria and South Africa.
Like other technical events in track and field, so much can go wrong in the relays. And even as Jamaica boast the world record of 36.84 seconds, Bolt is not being cocky about Jamaica's chances for the gold.
"To me, as long as you are in the final, you (other teams) are the main rivals... it's a relay, so we will see what happens...I need a gold (medal), so it's very important (to win)," he said right after the race.
In the women's run, Kerron Stewart, Veronica Campbell Brown, Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce equalled the games' record of 42.44 seconds to send a strong warning to the medal-chasing field.
The Bahamas, India, England, Nigeria, Australia, Trinidad and Tobago and Canada have made the final scheduled for 8:50 pm (2:50 pm Jamaica time).
Campbell Brown, who won silver in the women's 100m earlier this week, says she was just happy her team made the final, and in a quick time too, as the women got the baton around relatively smoothly.
"It was very important for us to advance to the final... it's key for us to run fast and I think we did a very good job tonight and hopefully we will be even better tomorrow (today)," said the Olympic and World Championships gold medallist.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the Olympic and World Championships gold medallist who has experienced a dip in form in the recent past, said, "I am just excited that everything went okay and I am looking forward to the final."
In response to a question regarding her physical condition, she replied: "I am fine, but I am not one hundred per cent where I want to be, but thank God that I am not injured and I am just looking forward to the final."
In Jamaica's one final on the track yesterday, Danielle Williams barely missed out on a medal in a crack field when she finished fourth in the women's 100m hurdles, clocking 13.06 seconds. The gold medal went to Australia's Sally Pearson, the London Olympics and Commonwealth Games defending champion. She posted 12.67 seconds.
The silver medal was won by England's Tiffany Porter in 12.80secs, and the bronze to Canada's Angela Whye (13.02), who held off the strong challenge of the Jamaican.
Meanwhile, Jamaica's women qualified for today's final of the 4x400m relays by streaking away to win their semi-final heat in 3:28.29 minutes.
The team of Christine Day, Anastasia Le-Roy, Janieve Russell and Shericka Williams looked awesome in the one-mile race.
Australia were second in 3:32.40 and Trinidad and Tobago third in 3:33.20 also automatically qualified from semi-final heat one.
Jamaica's men's team of Chumaine Fitten, Edino Steele, Hugh Graham Jnr, and Omar Johnson also advanced with their second-best effort of 3:03.47 minutes. England won in 3:03.01, with Scotland third in 3:03.94 for the third automatic qualifying spot.
In the women's high jump final, Jamaica's Saniel Atkinson-Grier could not find consistent lift over the barrier and finished seventh from 10 competitors, with a best soar of 1.86 metres.
The gold went to Australia's Eleanor Patterson (1.94m), who opted out of the World Junior Championships held in Eugene, Oregon, to concentrate on the Commonwealth Games. England's Isobel Pooley (1.92m) took silver and the bronze medal was won by St Lucia's Levern Spencer (1.92m).
K'Don Samuels ended seventh in the men's pole vault final, with gold going to Australia's Joel Pocklington, silver to Shawnacy Barber of Canada, and bronze to Scotland's Jax Thoirs.