Sport

Skeen cops bronze - Ja earn first medal at World Junior Champs

BY PAUL A REID Observer Writer

Thursday, July 12, 2012    

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BARCELONA, Spain — Odean Skeen won Jamaica’s first medal of the 14th IAAF World Junior Championships at the Montjuic Olympic Stadium here in Barcelona, Spain, last night when he copped the bronze in the men’s 100m in 10.28 seconds.

The Youth Olympic champion, who made the final as one of the fastest losers after placing third in his semifinal heat in 10.43 seconds, got off to a brilliant start and led up to 60 metres before pre-championships favourite Adam Gemili of Great Britain, who won in a new Championships record, personal best and Great Britain Junior Record 10.05 seconds and American Aaron Ernest in a personal best 10.17 seconds overhauled him.

Jamaica ended the second day 15th in the medals table.

The bronze snapped Jamaica’s string of gold at two, but extended the run to five consecutive WJC where they have won a medal in the men’s 100m.

Remaldo Rose took bronze in Italy in 2004 followed by Yohan Blake two years later in Beijing, China, while Dexter Lee won gold in Poland in 2008 and Canada in 2010.

The other Jamaican Jazeel Murphy, who had run a personal best 10.25 seconds in the semi-finals where he was second, was fifth in 10.29 seconds, the same time as fourth-placed Tyreek Hill.

Interestingly, Murphy and Hill were given the same time in the semi-finals earlier.

After another hot morning, the temperature dipped appreciably in the afternoon session, but that did not cool down the atmosphere in what was the largest crowd so far.

After his lacklustre semis, Skeen told reporters that coach Christopher Harley gave him a “pep talk” to get him focused and he responded by “clearing my mind of everything”.

He described winning the medal as “a great feeling” as he had executed his “game plan”.

In a post-race press conference, Gemili, who says his favourite sprinter is Usain Bolt, said the plan at the start of the season was to make the final here, but that changed after he ran 10.08 seconds earlier, making him the fastest Briton so far this season.

Gemili is the fourth United Kingdom sprinter to win the men’s 100m at the World Juniors after Harry Aikens-Aryeetes, Christian Malcolm and Mark Lewis-Francis.

Anthonique Strachan of the Bahamas won the women’s final in a World Junior leading 11.20 seconds ahead of Turkey’s Nimet Karakus.

Six other athletes led by IAAF World Youth Championships long jump gold medallist Chanice Porter will make their first appearance on today’s third day.

Porter, who is ranked sixth in the world with her personal best 6.52m set at ISSA Girls Champs, will take part in the preliminaries this morning, while Janieve Russell will be the only Jamaican entrant in the women’s 400m hurdles event

There will be a lot of anticipation for the 200m first rounds for both men and women. Julian Forte, who comes into the championships with the second best time in the world with 20.38 seconds, and Tyquendo Tracey will seek to advance to this afternoon’s semi-finals in the 200m.

Munro College’s Delano Williams will also represent the Turks and Caicos Islands as well.

World Youths bronze medallist Shericka Jackson and Jodean Williams will compete in the women’s section.

Jamaica will have a representative in the men’s 400m final for the first time since 2006 in Beijing, China, when Edino Steele and Allodin Fothergill made it to the medal round following a heroic run from Javon Francis in yesterday’s semis.

The Calabar high school runner lowered his personal best for the second straight day to an impressive 46.06 seconds, finishing second to American Aldrich Bailey (45.79 seconds) after running 46.31 seconds in Tuesday’s first round after coming into the championships with a personal best of 47.16 seconds.

He was fourth entering the home straight but seem to find a new gear to power past Kenya’s Boniface Ontuga Mweresa (46.20 seconds) and Poland’s Patryk Dobek (46.56 seconds).

Female quarter-milers Olivia James and Chrisann Gordon, as well as men’s 400m hurdlers Javarn Gallimore and Shavon Barnes all qualified for their semi-finals easily.

James ran a season best 52.86 seconds for an automatic spot in this afternoon’s semi-finals where she runs out of lane nine in the third heat.

Gordon cruised to an easy looking 52.99 seconds to win her heat in commanding fashion before telling reporters she was in good condition and just taking it one step at a time as the meet progresses.

Both Gallimore and Shavarn Barnes placed second in their first-round heats of the 400m hurdles and also automatically advanced to the semi-finals to be run tomorrow morning.

Gallimore, who won at Champs, was clocked in 51.40 seconds, while Barnes ran 51.52 seconds.

There were disappointments for several other athletes, however, as they failed to medal or to advance.

After throwing 19.71m in the morning’s preliminaries to advance to his first World Junior Championships finals in his second attempt, shot putter Ashinia Miller could only muster 18.70m in the afternoon’s final finishing 11th overall.

Earlier in the day, Emmanuel Onyia, who will be attending the University of Minnesota next year on a track scholarship, failed to get a legal mark in the shot put prelims.

Sprint hurdler Stephan Fennell suffered a disaster when his running spikes ripped open on the ninth hurdle and he crashed to the track, gashing his left palm in the semis of the men’s 110m hurdles.

Fennell looked well placed to take a place in the final after he also failed to make it to the final in Canada two years ago.

Yannick Hart was sixth in his semi-finals heat in 13.76 seconds and failed to advance.

Sixteen-year-old Christoff Bryan could only clear 2.10m and failed to get past the first round of the men’s high jump.

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