Foote makes big stride

...throws down gauntlet in Class 2-800m

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

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Shaquena Foote of Petersfield High threw down the gauntlet on yesterday's opening day of the 2018 ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys' and Girls' Championships at the National Stadium, when she clocked a sparkling two minutes 07.91 seconds to win her heat of the girls' Class Two 800m.

The 2017 IAAF World Under-18 Championships relay medallist was just outside the 17-year-old record of 2:07.74 minutes set then by Carlene Robinson of Christiana High and now the coach of the Montego Bay High. Foote looks well set to rewrite the record, maybe as soon as tomorrow's semis-finals.

Foote, who was second last year and who won the Western Championships title in 2:07.83 minutes, easily outclassed the field, opening up an 80-metre gap and eased down as she went through the finish line.

Defending champion Cemore Donald of Edwin Allen, also won her heat in a more moderate 2:16.58 minutes, while Holmwood Technical's Danielle Deer ran 2:19.50 minutes to win heat four, same time as Abigail Pinnock of St Mary High.

After yesterday's opening day that saw only qualifying in several events, the race for honours among the 118 girls' schools will step up a couple of notches as the race for points continue.

Two finals will be contested on today's second day, the discus throw Class One and shot put Class Two, and Edwin Allen head coach Michael Dyke told the Jamaica Observer yesterday they were well set to commence the defence of their title.

Defending champions Edwin Allen will start as favourites to win their fifth straight title and sixth in seven years come Saturday evening and except for a slight hiccup yesterday, things went to plan for Dyke.

Santae Wilson failed to finish the Class Four 70m hurdles, but Dyke said they were prepared for such eventualities.

“The fall was not a big thing as we prepare for these eventualities, especially in the hurdles in the lower classes,” he said. “She is okay as she did not suffer any injuries.”

While not willing to say how many points he was looking to get today, Dyke said. “We are hoping to do well in the finals (today) and in the qualifications as well, we will just continue to qualify for the finals and then take it from there.”

Edwin Allen have only one athlete in the Class Two shot put final that is led by last year's top two athletes, defending champion Danielle Sloley of Immaculate Conception High and Aliesha Shaw of Rusea's High, whose twin sister and Western Championships record holder Keliesha is also in the final today.

Vere Technical's Marie Forbes is the gold medal favourite, however, and the most consistent thrower this year so far.

Defending champion and record holder Fiona Richards of Edwin Allen leads the qualifiers in the Class One discus throw after getting the automatic qualifying mark with her first throw of 43.94m

Shamella Donaldson, one of two Rusea's High throwers in the final, was next with 43.66m on her second try, Tamara Thompson had a mark of 43.63m on her lone try, while Aiko Jones of Wolmer's High School for Girls threw 43.43m, Tiwani Myles of Rusea's registered 41.45m and Tyest Bryan of Hydel got 41.06m.

Oneka Wilson of Hydel High was the fastest in the first round of the Class Three 80m hurdles, as she won her heat in 11.54 seconds (-1.4m/s); St Jago's Danae Nembhard was the next best with 11.60 seconds (-3.7m/s) and Holmwood Technical's Atalya Wallace ran 11.71 seconds (-3.2m/s) to win her first round.

Hydel High's Stephanie Griffiths leads the semi-finalists in the Class Four 70m hurdles after winning her heat in 10.91 seconds (-3.1m/s), Holmwood Technical's Orianna Barnett also won her heat in 10.97 seconds (-2.4m/s), with Wolmer's High School for Girls Chloe-mae Wilks, winning her heat in 11.00 seconds (-0.5m/s).

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