Juniors end Trials with world-leading performances
CALABAR High's Michael O'Hara and sprint hurdler Holmwood's Yanique Thompson established World Youth leading times on yesterday's second and final day of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association/Supreme Ventures National Junior Championship with two exquisite performances.
Despite a brief but heavy shower of rain and strong winds that delayed the meet by almost an hour, the performances were outstanding as the Jamaican team got ready for the first of two major summer championships.
After his personal best and new world-leading run of 10.39 seconds in the 100m on Saturday's opening day, O'Hara has established himself as one to beat at the World Youth Championships to be held in two week's time in Donetsk, Ukraine, with a second personal best 20.75 seconds tied for the best in the world with Cuba's Reynier Menya.
The Calabar High student destroyed a solid field as he came off the bend in first place and powered away to win easily ahead of Donald Quarrie's Odane Bernard (21.66 seconds) with Ivan Henry of St Jago third in 21.92 seconds.
Jonielle Smith of Wolmer's also copped a sprint double as she just caught Edwin Allen's Saqukine Cameron on the line to win the Under-18 200m, both timed in 24.27 seconds with Shanice Reid of St Jago third in 25.02 seconds.
Odail Todd won the Under-20 boys' race in 21.12 seconds beating Oshane Burrell of Manchester High (21.23 seconds) and Jevaughn Minzie of Racers TC took third in 21.25 seconds.
Earlier in the afternoon, Thompson improved on her World Youth leading 100m hurdles time running 13.23 seconds to beat her previous 13.36 seconds to move to within one hundredth of a second of the best ever by a Jamaican, the 13.22 seconds set by Latoya Greaves.
Rushell Burton of St Andrew High, who is ranked number two in the world, was second in 13.65 with Tishanna Monteith of St Jago third in 13.67 seconds.
The University of Technology's Megan Simmonds won the Under-20 race in 13.38 seconds ahead of St Jago Chrisdale McCarthy's 13.85 seconds.
The Under-18 boys' 400m final lived up to its pre-race billing as one of the most competitive events on the list as World Youth Leader Devaughn Baker of Jamaica College won in 46.90 seconds ahead of Martin Manley (47.21 seconds) and Jaheel Hyde of Wolmer's Boys' (47.47).
The runners were locked in a close race until about 50 metres to go when Baker separated himself from the pack.
Papine High's Tiffany James won the Under-18 400m in a season's best 53.44 seconds upsetting World Youth leader Yanique McNeal 55.92 seconds and Segale Brown of Petersfield-570.02 seconds.
James' time makes her the second-fastest athlete in the world so far this year, with the fourth best time, all behind McNeil, whose 53.17 seconds is still the best in the world so far.
Favourite and world number two ranked Shericka Jackson won the girls' Under-20 400m in 53.68, holding off a hard-charging Asaine Hall of Petersfield who ran 54.09 seconds with Samantha James of UTech third in 55.86 seconds.
US-based Steven James won the Under-20 boys' 400m in 46.83 seconds to beat Munro College's Herbert Thomas (48.07 seconds) and Manchester high's Derron Wright (48.14 ).
Edwin Allen High's Demar Gayle produced a brilliant series to win the boys' Under-18 shot put in a lifetime best 18.32m, pencilling in his name on the list for the World Youth Championships expected to be released on Wednesday; he threw over 17.00m on all six attempts after winning the discus the previous day.
All three medallists had new personal bests as Vashon McCarthy of Ascot was second with 17.39m and Munro College's Kino Dunkley was third with 17.10m.
Gayle opened with 17.09m then achieved the WYC standard 17.70m with 17.79m on his second attempt, then finished with 17.47m, his winning throw of 18.32m, and 17.84m on his final throw.
Afterwards, Gayle told the Jamaica Observer he was expecting to go over 19.00m after achieving the mark in training, adding that he expected to do even better should he be selected.
St Jago's Roje Jackson-Chin won the boys' Under-18 long jump with a wind aided 7.26m (2.1m/s), Ajani James of Jamaica College was second with 7.12m (2.8m/s) and Campion's Lorne Barrett third with 6.83m.