…as nation looks to sprint hurdlers for success
EUGENE, USA — Jamaica failed to earn a medal in either section of the 100m at the 15th IAAF World Junior Championships here at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, yesterday, after none of the three athletes managed to get past the semi-finals.
Despite having the seventh fastest time of 10.43 seconds (-0.3m/s), Jevaughn Minzie was third in his semi-final, missing an automatic qualifying spot, while Michael O'Hara jogged to a 10.70 seconds (0.0m/s) clocking in his semi-final and was never a factor.
In the women's event, Kedisha Dallas finished fourth in her semi-final in 11.77 seconds (0.9m/s) and bowed out of competition.
There was better news in the men's 110m hurdles, however, as Tyler Mason won his semi-final in 13.45 seconds (-1.7m/s) to advance to today's final with the joint third-fastest time. He told reporters he was confident he could win today.
Marvin Williams, the other Jamaican in the sprint hurdles, just missed advancing as he had the ninth fastest time of 13.70 seconds (0.3m/s) after being fifth in his semi-final heat.
Both men's 400m runners Nathan Allen and last year's World Youth Championships winner Martin Manley failed to advance to today's final after performing dismally to finish down the track in yesterday's semi-finals.
Manley, who told the Jamaica Observer on Monday that he was certain he would win the gold medal, could only manage 48.38 seconds for seventh place in his semi-final, and 23rd of the 23 runners who finished, as Jamal Walton of the Cayman Island did not finish.
Allen ran 47.56 seconds for fifth in his semi-final and was 16th overall, as Trinidad's Machel Cedeno eased to a 45.90 seconds time, the fastest of the day, and established himself as the favourite to win gold.
Jaheel Hyde, Jamaica's main hope for an individual gold medal here, said he is on course for a fast time in the 400m hurdles.
After cruising through yesterday's first round that was contested in a heavy, cold drizzle, the national junior record holder and world junior leader, with 49.49 seconds, told Jamaican media he hopes to run even faster.
Asked what time he was aiming at, the confident Hyde simple advised the journalists "just watch".
Hyde and Okeen Williams, as well 400m runners Tiffany James and Yanique McNeil all advanced past the first round, but McNeil had to wait before qualifying as one of the fastest losers.
Hyde cruised to 51.60 seconds in his first-round heat, behind Ali Khamis Khamis of Bahrain, who ran a national junior record 51.10 seconds to be the fastest qualifier.
He shuffled his feet just before the final barrier but told the media: "Normally I would lead with the left foot, but was surprised when I saw it was the right foot (that I would have to hurdle with) so I had to adjust," said Hyde, who added: "This is the heat, and I'm not too worried as the aim was the qualify."
Of the four Jamaicans who competed in the rain he was the only one who had no complaints. "It was cold, but everyone is running in it, so I can't be the exception and complain. It's a part of track and field and we have to deal with it."
Williams, a finalist at the World Youth Championships last year, ran 52.88 seconds behind Japan's Yusuke Sakanashi (52.46 seconds) and said, while he was not pleased with the time, he was happy to advance.
He got off to a fast start and explained that he was on the outside lane so he knew he had to get out fast and try to stay ahead. He said the race was okay, and that he had to adjust because the weather conditions were bad.
James, who said she had a touch of the flu, was second in her heat, in 54.58 seconds, to world leader Kendell Baisden of the USA, who won in 53.28 seconds.
McNeil was distraught after a pedestrian 55.01 seconds and sixth place in her heat, but after a long wait, she got the chance to fight for a place in the final.
But for the disqualification of five runners she would have had to watch the rest of the championships from the stands. However, she earned one of the four slots reserved for fastest losers.
Among those who were disqualified for running on the line or in another lane is Guyana's highly rated Kadeicia Baird.
McNeil told reporters, "I am not sure what happened, I was trying very hard but it did not work... I was hoping to run 53 seconds."
Meanwhile, late on Tuesday both Jamaican female long jumpers Claudette Allen and Annastacia Forrester failed to get past the first round, finishing 18th and 20th overall of the 33 jumpers who made a legal mark.
Allen, who had a good season, achieving a personal best 6.45m while winning at the ISSA Girls' Champs and Penn Relays, was expected to make it to the top 12. She had one legal attempt, getting to 5.97m (-0.6m/s) on her second of three jumps.
Forrester, a medallist at the Central American and Caribbean Junior Championships three weeks ago, had a best of 5.82m (0.8m/s) on her second jump. She had opened with 5.80m (0.5m/s) before ending with 5.61m (-0.1m/s).