BUDAPEST, Hungary – If Jamaica’s Oblique Seville was feeling any pressure after his personal best-equalling 9.86 seconds (0.0m/s) run to lead the qualifiers in the men’s 100m into today’s decisive day at the World Athletics Championships at the National Athletics Centre in Budapest, Hungary, he was hiding it very well.
His first-round heat was held up for several minutes after several recalls and a false start, and when he was asked by Jamaican journalists if the delays had unsettled him, Seville was quick with a quip, “These things happen in Jamaica where I am from, so I was prepared for what was to come at this stage, so it wasn’t that difficult.”
Meanwhile, teen prodigy, triple jumper Jaydon Hibbert and discus throwers Traves Smikle and Fedrick Dacres all qualified for their respective finals on Monday, while shot putter Rajindra Campbell failed to make a legal mark in the final.
After a season interrupted by injuries and which saw him go to the JAAA National Championships “just to make the team”, Seville was at his fluid best Saturday night as he cruised to a win over defending champion Fred Kerley of the USA who ran 9.99 seconds.
National champion Rohan Watson (10.11 seconds) was second in his heat and Ryiem Forde, who was also second in 10.01 seconds, also advanced to today’s semi-finals and possibly the final.
Seville, who was fourth in the final last year in Eugene, Oregon, admitted he was a bit surprised by his time, which ranked him third in the world. It was quite surprising for me as my aim was just to qualify,” adding he knew that he would run fast “but not in the first round”.
He also said he thought he was regaining full fitness when it matters most.
Forde, who has lowered his personal best six times this year, said, “It felt wonderful and I executed very well and moved on, that’s the most important thing right now.”
He admitted that nerves were running wild.
“Nerves are normal and we prepare for that as well,” adding he had been working hard over the years and the work was paying off now. “[It has] been a long time coming, we have been putting in the work and waiting for the break to do great things,” said Forde.
Eighteen-year-old Hibbert led the qualifiers for the men’s triple jump after jumping 17.70m (-0.2m/s), the one man in the field to make the automatic qualifying mark.
His mark was his second-best ever and came after an opening 16.99m (-0.2m/s) as he seeks to get back to winning ways after being beaten in his most recent outing, the Monaco Diamond League, to Burkina Faso’s Fabrice Zango, who also advanced with 17.12m.
Cuba’s Lazaro Martinez (17.12m), China’s Yaming Zhu (17.14), and a second Cuban Cristian Napoles (16.95m) also advanced to Monday evening’s final.
With his mother watching from the stands, Hibbert put on a show for what many here think is a prelude to a coronation on Monday, and he was pleased with his effort as well.
“Well, it’s better than my Diamond League performance last month,” he said. “[I am] truly grateful for the experience, the crowd [is] legit, hyped up, ready for the finals.”
If there was a slight blemish, it came with a little shuffle before he got to the board and explained afterwards that it was the speed of the track and the situation combined.
“It’s just, it’s different when you’re in training and you’re practising it, and then when you get on adrenaline, everything just start to shift, the run up, your mindset, the bounce,” he said.
National champion Smikle threw 65.71m on his first attempt to finish third in his group and fourth overall, and Dacres had a best mark of 65.45m for seventh overall, but the third Jamaican Roje Stona failed to get past the first round after only getting out to 62.67m.
Smikle told reporters that he “felt more prepared going into a world championship than the previous three times”, and his efforts on Saturday were “really about making the finals”.
“My coach wanted me to put a little pep in my step… it didn’t happen, but I was able to to be competitive.”
Campbell, who broke the national shot put record with 22.22m in Spain last month, had qualified for the final after throwing 20.83m in the morning’s first round after fouling his first two efforts.
American Ryan Crouser set a Championship record 23.51m to retain the gold medal, Italy’s Leonardo Fabbri took the silver with a personal best 23.34m, and American Joe Kovacs was third with 22.12m.