Sport

World leaders

Javon Francis leads three other J’cans on top of IAAF list

BY HOWARD WALKER Observer senior reporter walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, April 07, 2014    

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RISING Jamaican stars Javon Francis, Roxroy Cato, Fedrick Dacres, and Stephanie McPherson are currently on top of the IAAF list with world-leading performances four months into the new year.

Francis, 19, lowered Usain Bolt's 400m high school record of 45.35 to 45.00 seconds flat which is the fastest time this year, just ahead of the Brazilian pair of Anderson Henrique (45.03) and Hugo de Sousa (45.09) done in Chile on March 14. Jamaica's Edino Steele with 45.44 seconds was listed as the eighth fastest with Allodin Fothergill 18th quickest, with 45.94 seconds.

McPherson, 26, is the quickest among the women in the 400m with 51.23 seconds done in February, and is just ahead of another Jamaican Kaliese Spencer with 51.39 seconds. Young 20-year-old American Robin Reynolds clocked 51.57 last Friday to be third fastest. Anneisha McLaughlin (52.22) was sixth overall with Ristananna Tracey 12th on the list with 52.50. Jamaican schoolgirls Dawnalee Loney with 52.87 and Yanique McNeil with 52.88 are 25th and 26th, respectively.

Cato, 27, stopped the clock at 48.67 seconds and has the world leading time in the men's 400m hurdles, while schoolboy sensation Jaheel Hyde's national junior record of 49.49 seconds placed him fourth on the list. Jeffrey Gibson (48.95) of the Bahamas and Eric Alejandro (49.12) of Puerto Rico are third and fourth overall.

Former Calabar High standout, Dacres is the only Jamaican on top in any field event, as his 66.75m is the leading mark in the men's discus throw done in Texas on March 29. Benn Harradine of Australia has the second best throw with 65.94m ahead of Cuba's Lois Martinez with 65.13m. Jamaica's Chad Wright (63.47m) and Jason Morgan (61.23m) are 10th and 19th overall.

Meanwhile, other performances emanating from the ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Championships have placed sprinters Christana Williams of Edwin Allen and Bog Walk's Javaughn Minzie in the top five of the 100m.

The injury plagued Williams, 19, returned to top form and ran a blistering 11.19 seconds, and just missed Veronica Campbell Brown's Class One record of 11.13 seconds done in 2001. Williams' time placed her third on the list behind America's Joanna Atkins with 11.09 done last Friday and Australian Melissa Breen's 11.11 seconds in February.

Aleen Bailey (11.29) and Wolmer's Jonielle Smith (11.32) done at Champs are eighth and 11th overall.

Eighteen year-old Minzie's 10.16 second place finish at Champs placed him fifth behind 18-year-old American Travyon Bromell who has the two fastest times of 10.01 and 10.02 seconds done on March 28, and 29 in Texas.

Kingston College's Anguillan Zharnel Hughes, who broke the Champs record with 10.12 seconds, was third overall ahead of his Racers teammate Daniel Bailey of Antigua with 10.15 seconds. Former Wolmer's standout Odeen Skeen is 10th with 10.18 seconds done on March 22 in Texas.

Minzie is also the fastest Jamaican over 200m to date with his 20.37 seconds placing him seventh overall behind Dedric Dukes of the USA with 19.97 seconds. Canadian Aaron Brown with 20.19 seconds was fastest ahead of American Brandon Byram with 20.27. Hughes' 20.32 done in the semi-final at Champs was fourth overall.

Jamaica's Yohan Blake's 20.49 has him at 12th with 17-year-old St Jago student Martin Manley 15th with his 20.57 seconds.

Odayne Richards, with a throw of 20.38m, is seventh on the shot put list behind American Ryan Crouser's 21.27 mark. Russia's Alexandr Lesnoi is second with 21.23m. Jamaicans Raymond Brown (20.17) and Ramone Baker ((19.82) are ninth and 13th overall.

Wolmer's boys' Christoff Bryan's record breaking 2.23m placed him fifth in the high jump behind France's Mickael Hanany's 2.34m.

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