McPherson makes bold statement in booking spot in 400m final
...Teammate Candice McLeod also secures spot in Friday's medal raceThursday, August 05, 2021
TOKYO, Japan — Jamaica's female quarter-milers continue to make a bold statement here at the 32nd Olympiad, with two of three advancing to Friday's final.
Leader Stephenie Ann McPherson and new kid on the block Candice McLeod punched their tickets to the medal race with impressive performances inside the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.
Jamaica's third entrant in the semi-finals, Roneisha McGregor, finished third in semi-final two in 50.34secs and failed to advance.
But for McPherson, everything seems to be falling into place at the right time after posting a huge personal best of 49.34 seconds, coming from 49.61secs.
“I feel good. I just go out there and follow my coach's instruction,” she told the media while politely asking that she not be held for a long time as cramps had started to set in.
“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 some 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 before running off to get her cramps sorted.
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.
On the score of execution of the race, she was uncertain.
“I'm not sure if I did that well, so I will have to check with my coach and watch the race,” because her concentration was on reaching the finish line in the top two positions.
“I'm quite happy but I have work to do,” she ended.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Rasheed Dwyer finished seventh in the men's 200m final in 20.21 seconds, running from lane nine.
The event resulted in Canadian Andre De Grasse finally taking the top spot on the podium after he got to the finish line in a national record 19.62 seconds, ahead of the American trio on Kenneth Bednarek in a personal best 19.68secs, Noah Lyles in a season's best 19.74secs and teenager Erriyon Knighton fourth in 19.93secs.
Even the fifth-place finisher, Liberia's Joseph Fahnbulleh, produced a national record 19.98secs, as the top five went sub-20secs.