Olympics: McPherson, McLeod clock PBs to advance to 400m finalWednesday, August 04, 2021
TOKYO, Japan – National champion Stephenie-Ann McPherson and Candice McLeod both ran lifetime best times on Wednesday to qualify for the finals of the women's 400m at the Tokyo Olympics.
McPherson looked imperious in her semi-final heat, running 49.34 seconds, the best time in the round, to advance. It lowered her personal best from the 49.61 seconds she had set while winning the national championships in June.
McLeod lowered her personal best for the seventh time this year when she ran 49.51 seconds to place second in her semi-final, the third best time overall.
The third Jamaican, Roneisha McGregor, two time World Championships relay medallist from Doha in 2019, missed out on advancing after she placed third in her semi-final heat, running 50.34 seconds which was good for 10th overall.
McPherson, who has a World Championships bronze medal from Moscow in 2013 and who was sixth in the Olympics in 2016, beat American legend Allyson Felix who ran a season's best 49.89 seconds. Her training partner at MVP, Sada Williams of Barbados set a national record 50.11 seconds for third but missed out on advancing.
McLeod was second to Marileidy Paulino who set a Dominican national record 49.38 seconds.
The final is set to be competitive with all eight women dipping under 50.00 seconds in the semi-finals.
McPherson's time saw her move up to the number three spot on the Jamaican all-time women's 400m list, passing Grace Jackson's 49.57 seconds and Shericka Jackson's 49.47 seconds. National record holder Lorraine Fenton's 49.30 seconds and world and Olympic silver medallist Shericka Williams' 49.32 seconds occupy the two top spots.
McLeod moved up to fourth just ahead of Novlene Williams-Mills (49.63) and behind Grace Jackson.
-Paul A Reid
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