Jamaicans continue medal quest in TokyoFriday, August 06, 2021
TOKYO, Japan — Jamaica's hunt for medals continues tonight here (Friday morning, Jamaica time) when the nation will be represented in three finals.
History has shown that Jamaica failed to secure any medals when the Olympic Games were last held in Tokyo in 1964, but that anomaly has already been corrected with Jamaica claiming seven medals to date — three gold, one silver and three bronze — and stand a better than average chance of possibly climbing to double digits today, with a little luck.
First up on the medal hunt will be Stephenie Ann McPherson and Candice McLeod in the women's 400m final set to be run off at 7:25 am.
McLeod is drawn in lane four, while McPherson is drawn in lane seven.
The 32-year-old McPherson has been in the best form of her life and she looks set to deliver a capital effort to claim a podium place.
“I feel good. I just go out there and follow my coach's instruction,” McPherson said after winning her semi-final in a personal best 49.34 seconds win two days ago.
“If I had known that I was going that fast I would finish [slow down], but the last 20m I looked up on the screen and saw that I was ahead and I relaxed, slowed a little bit and go to the line.”
McPherson appeared in control of her race throughout as she tracked Olympic great Allyson Felix down the backstretch before pouncing at the 200m mark.
From then on it was just composure and assuredness as she powered home with a degree of comfort. Felix was second in a seasonal best 49.89secs.
“I just followed what my coach says. He's Stephen Francis; he knows best. Hopefully I can recover and repeat, 'memba dat',” she said.
McLeod, meanwhile, was second in a new personal best 49.51secs in semi-final one, won by Dominican Republic's Marileidy Paulino in a national record 49.38secs.
The shy, first-time Olympian appeared to be at a loss for words following the enviable achievement.
“I don't have much to say right now. I was just focusing on running my own race, to be honest, because I know that the girls behind me are pretty quick, they have faster times, they look well in the heats, so I was just focused on myself and execute right,” she said.
The women's 4x100m relay final is set for 8:30 am and Jamaica is expected to include the gold and silver medallists from the women's 100m final, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
This team looks every inch a contender to threaten the US's world record of 40.82 seconds achieved at the London 2012 Games.
On Thursday a quartet comprising Briana Williams, Natasha Morrison, Ramona Burchell and Shericka Jackson, the bronze medallist from the 100m final, registered 42.15 seconds to take third place in heat one behind Great Britain who won in a national record 41.55 seconds, and the US with 41.90 seconds.
The men's 4x100m relay final brings the curtain down on Day of track and field inside the Olympic Stadium at 8:50 am.
The Jamaicans, comprising Jevaughn Minzie, Julian Forte, Yohan Blake and Oblique Seville conquered heat one in a season's best 37.82 seconds and will be looking to secure a medal, having dominated the event for the past three cycles with the great Usain Bolt leading the way.
Today they are drawn in five and enter the final with the fastest time, and will for the first time in many editions, not have archrivals, the US, who surprisingly failed to progress from their heat on Thursday.
Jamaica's opening interest on the day will be the men's 4x400m relay heats at 6:25 am.
In what should be a very competitive event, the Jamaicans are drawn in lane four in heat two and will have for company in lane order (from lane two) India, Colombia, France, Belgium, Japan, Poland and the Republic of South Africa.
The top three from each of the two heats will advance to Saturday's final, along with the next two fastest losers.
Yesterday, Jamaica added two surprise medals to its tally after the dust settled on the men's 110m hurdles final.
The 2012 London Games bronze medallist Hansle Parchment shocked the track and field world when he produced a scintillating seasonal best 13.04 seconds to stun howling American favourite Grant Holloway, who had to settle for second in 13.09 seconds, just ahead of the other Jamaican entrant Ronald Levy in 13.10 seconds.
And in the last event of the day, the men's 400m final, Jamaica's Christopher Taylor, running blindly from lane nine, produced a lifetime best of 44.79 seconds to finish sixth in a race won by Bahamian Steven Gardiner in 43.85 seconds.
Colombian Anthony Zambrano was second in 44.08 seconds, with Grenada's Olympic and World Championships gold medallist Kirani James third in 44.19 seconds.
The women's 4x400m relay team of Junelle Bromfield, Roneisha McGregor, 400m hurdler Janieve Russell and Stacey Ann Williams booked their place to Saturday's final after placing second to the US in heat two in a season's best 3:21.95 minutes. The winning time was 3:20.86 minutes.
— Ian Burnett