Sport

Silver lining! Girls end World Juniors on high with 4X400m medal

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Monday, July 16, 2012    

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BARCELONA, Spain — Jamaica’s women’s 4x400m team delivered a silver medal in a season best time of three minutes 32.97 seconds as the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships came to a close under cool skies here at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium here yesterday.

The team of Sandrae Farquharson, Olivia James, Shericka Jackson and Janieve Russell, finished behind the USA (3:30.01), who swept all four relays here in World Junior leading times, while Russia were third in 3:36.42.

The men’s team were in medal contention until the final 50m where Trinidad’s Machel Cedeno swept past Jermaine Fyffe, who finished fifth in a season’s best 3:07.31.

Jamaica finished with five medals — two gold, two silver and a bronze — their eighth best performance ever since the inception of the championships in 1986. Jamaica finished seventh overall in the medals tables that were led by the USA with 20 (nine gold, four silver and seven bronze) followed by Kenya on 13 medals (4-4-5) and Ethiopia seven medals (3-3-1).

It was also the seventh time that Jamaica were winning at least two gold medals at the World Junior Championships as the Bahamas finished in ninth position with four medals and Trinidad and Tobago in 14th position with two, Turks and Caicos had one (Delano Williams’ gold in the men’s 200m) of the 40 countries that won at least a bronze.

Yesterday after five days of blazing sun and warm conditions, the weather changed abruptly yesterday with cool temperature from the start of the afternoon turning into a steady drizzle by the end.

That did not put a damper on the celebrations that are typical of these championships as the athletes from over 170 nations mixed and mingled, some exchanging uniforms, while others sought photo opportunities.

Head coach Michael Dyke told the Jamaica Observer that “given the circumstances and challenges we had to face here, five medals is not bad but we were hoping for more”.

Dyke, who also led the team to the Caribbean and Central American Junior Championships in El Salvador two weeks ago, said coming into the games he had thought 10 or 11 medals would be a distinct possibility. “We brought the best people available, with all that happened, we have to be satisfied,” he said.

Among the calamities that struck the team here were Julian Forte’s leg injury while leading in the men’s 200m finals, Simoya Campbell’s collapse while on the team bus to the stadium to contest the semi-finals of the women’s 800m as well as several athletes complaining of not feeling well due to the food and flu-like symptoms.

In the women’s mile-relay final, the US-based Farquharson set the pace by leading off with a fast 52.44 seconds before handing off to Olivia James (53.53 seconds) behind the Americans. Shericka Jackson then managed to close the gap with a 52.94 seconds split before handing off to 400m hurdles gold medallist Janieve Russell, who cruised home with a 53.78 seconds split. Russell later told journalists that she had to back off coming into the home stretch as tendinitis in her right ankle flared up.

The men’s team of Shavon Barnes (46.9 seconds), 400m finalist Javon Francis (46.5), Lennox Williams (47.4) and Fyffe (46.2) were expected to finish in the top three, but faded badly as the USA won in 3:03.99 ahead of Poland who ran a National Junior Record 3:05.05 and Trinidad (3:06.32).

Also Chanice Porter and triple jumper Clive Pullen were also in the finals yesterday but failed to come up with medals.

Porter, the IAAF World Youth Championships bronze medal winner last year, finished a disappointing 13th in the women’s high jump, clearing just 1.73m after failing to get over 1.78m and said after that she felt pain in her groin that started during the long jump finals two days before.

She had passed at the opening height of 1.68m.

Porter, who has a personal best 1.86m set at the ISSA Girls Championships in March and who cleared 1.82m in the prelims two days before, said despite the fact she did not get a medal, she was satisfied with the National Junior record of 6.58m she set while coming fourth in the long jump on Friday evening.

After jumping his personal best 15.92m in the preliminaries on Friday, Pullen could only manage 15.79m in the first round of the final and failed to move on, finishing ninth.

The Kingston College athlete who had contested the long jump at last year’s World Youth Championships in Lille, France, opened with 15.03m then had a wind-aided 15.41m (2.8m/s) in the second round.

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