Todd seeks second gold medal

BY PAUL A REID Observer writer

Sunday, July 10, 2011

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JAMAICA'S World Youth Championship 100m champion Odail Todd will today seek to become the second man to win the sprint double when he takes the fastest time into the finals of the 200m on today's final day of the seventh staging of the IAAF event in Lille, France.

The Green Island High student signalled his impressive form yesterday when he won his semi-final in a personal best 21.02 seconds, the fastest on the day after running 21.60 seconds in Friday's first round.

He will seek to equal the feat of Great Britain's Harry Aikens-Aryeetey who won the sprint double in Marrakesh, Morocco in 2005.

Japan's Akiyuki Hashimoto, who will run in lane eight, is the fastest in the field with a personal best 20.91 seconds, while France's Michael-Meba Zeze, who was third in the 100m, and American Ronald Derby, have both run 21.05 seconds already this season.

Todd, who took the sprint double at the JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Junior Trials last month, is also seeking to become the first Jamaican male since Nickel Ashmeade in Ostrava in 2007 to win two individual medals.

Ashmeade won the silver in the 100m behind compatriot Dexter Lee, and the bronze in the 200m won by another Jamaican, Ramone McKenzie.

Jamaica's second entrant in the 200m, Odean Skeen, false-started in his semi-final race and was disqualified.

Meanwhile, after failing to add to their five medals yesterday, Jamaican athletes will feature in five finals today in seeking to surpass the nine won in Ostrava four years ago.

Meanwhile, Jamaica slipped to sixth overall in the medal tables after yesterday's fouth day, overtaken by Kenya with eight medals, China five, Cuba and Russia, four each. THe Jamaicans are however expected to rebound today. The United States lead with 11 medals.

In addition to Todd in the men's 200m, World Youth leader Shericka Williams will line up in the women's equivalent; high jump bronze medallist Chanice Porter qualified for the long jump final, while both Swedish Medley relay teams are also safely through to the finals.

In the only final contested by a Jamaican yesterday, hurdler Omar McLeod finished last in the 400m hurdles in 52.82 seconds, after just managing to get into the medal race with the seventh fastest time of 51.91.

This was his second final of the championships after running a personal best 13.61 for fourth in the 110m hurdles on Friday and anchoring the medley relay in the heats yesterday morning.

In the women's 200m semi-finals yesterday, Jackson won her semi-final heat in 23.65 seconds to book her spot in the final, but the other Jamaican, Kadisha Dallas, was not so lucky, placing seventh in her semi-final heat in 24.72.

Earlier, Porter jumped 5.92m to qualify for the long jump final, her second final this week, and should be a medal contender with a personal best 6.35m done at the Junior Trials.

The girls' medley relay team of 100m bronze medallist Christania Williams, 100m, Jackson, 200m, Olivia James, 300m, and Chrisann Gordon, 400m, clocked the fastest time and a World Youth-leading 2 minutes 05.59 seconds, the only squad under 2:08.00 on the day.

The boys' team of sprint hurdler Tyler Mason, Todd, Lennox Williams and McLeod was second in their heat in 1:53.66 behind Trinidad and Tobago, with the seventh fastest time coming into the final.

Unlike the girls' team which is unlikely to make any changes to the team that ran in the semis yesterday, Skeen is expected to come in on the start for Mason in the boys' team.

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