Athletics

Jamaica eye record haul as medal hunt continues today

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, July 15, 2018

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TAMPERE, Finland — Jamaica are well positioned for a record medal haul at the IAAF World Under-20 Championships.

They have the opportunity to add another four medals on today's final day of the 17th staging in Tampere, Finland, with three individual athletes and the women's 4x400m relay team.

Discus thrower Kai Chang and sprint hurdler Britney Anderson both qualified on yesterday's sun-drenched penultimate day of competition, along with the women's mile-relay team.

The other, Lamara Distin will contest the high jump final.

Jamaica are on nine medals — three gold, four silver and two bronze, behind leaders Kenya. At present, Jamaica have equalled thier second-best haul ever at these championships and need just two medals to equal their highest ever total of 11 achieved at home in Kingston in 2002.

Jamaica have won nine medals on two other occasions — in 1992 when the event was held in Seoul, South Korea, and again in 2004 in Grosetto, Italy.

There was one major hiccup yesterday in the men's 4x400m team which was disqualified for a lane violation in the semi-finals.

The announcement of the disqualification sent shock waves around the stadium and even members of the foreign media hoped the decision would be overturned.

The team of Malik Smith, Dashawn Morris, Anthony Carpenter and Shemar Chambers clocked 3:07.65 to place second in their semi-final heat to Great Britain who ran a world-leading 3:07.17.

Smith was ruled to have run on the line on the opening leg and the team was disqualified, a decision that was upheld after a protest from the team's management.

There were high hopes for the team, and with the expected inclusion of 400m medallists Christopher Taylor and Chantz Sawyers, they were expected to challenge, not just the National Junior Record 3:03.77, but also the championships record of 3:01.09 held by the USA.

The USA also holds the World Junior Record of 3:00.33 seconds.

Lotavia Brown, however, failed to get past the first round of the women's triple jump as her best effort of 12.72m (0.0m/s) was only good enough for 18th overall.

The women's 4x400m relay team had no such mishaps, however, as they won their semis-finals in 3:34.22 that was a World Junior Leading time, for about 10 minutes until the United States ran 3:33.11 to bump the Jamaicans into second place.

They led by at least 15 metres until the final leg when the Brazilian anchor leg runner Leticia Lima went after Jamaica's Calisha Taylor, caught her after about 250 metres, but paid the price and had to be taken off the track by her teammates.

Italy who were second and Brazil were both rewarded with National Junior Records.

Janielle Josephs led off the team with a smart 53.44-second leg, while 400m finalist Stacey-Ann Williams and Chrissani May increased the advantage, also with sub-54.00-seconds leg before handing over to Taylor.

Taylor told reporters afterwards she was aware of the mad dash by the Brazillian.

“I saw her coming and thought she would catch me but I dont know where I found the speed to stay ahead,” she said.

Despite not getting enough warm- up throws, Chang threw 59.27m to win Group A of the discus qualifying and was fourth overall going into toay's final.

Chang said he was ready for the final.

“I am feeling better, I am coming off the senior weight, I am feeling explosive and I know that I will do well in the finals,” he said.

Distin, who attempted to break the National Junior Record of 1.88m in the women's high jump at the JAAA National Junior Championships, had a few nervous moments late in the qualifying after breezing through the first four heights, got over 1.82m on her second attempt before knocking off the bar three times at 1.84m.

She, however, made it in as the 12th best qualifier on the count back when two other jumpers also failed at that height.

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