Photo: Omar McLeod participating at the Jamaica National Athletics Championships in June.
The Men’s 400m hurdlers set the tone for a good morning for Jamaica on Day three of the IAAF World Athletics Championships as all three athletes navigated the full lap obstacle race to advance to the semifinal round tomorrow.
First on track was Kemar Mowatt who was second at the national trials. He finished in the fourth and final qualifying spot in 50:00 flat in heat one, after running out of lane eight. Mowatt finished strongly, getting by two athletes after clearing the last hurdle to advance.
National champion, Jaheel Hyde ran a very good race from lane nine to finish second in heat 2. He was pulled along the back stretch by Kyron McMaster who led him all the way to the line before Hyde leaned in for second as the American TJ Holmes came though on the inside for first. McMaster was later disqualified.
The veteran of the pack, Ricardo Cunningham crossed the line in fifth place in heat four but was later upgraded to fourth after the American Michael Stigler who finished second was disqualified.
In the women’s 400m all four ladies made it safely to the semifinals. Stephenie-Ann McPherson who got a bye to the World Championships courtesy of being the Diamond League champion last year, was second in 51.27s behind the Olympic champion Shaunae Miller Uibo of the Bahamas in 50.97 in heat 2. Yinka Ajayi of Nigerian was third in 51.58.
Shericka Jackson, a clubmate of McPherson was also second in her heat in a time of 51.26. Jackson ran a very good back stretch to take control of the race but could do nothing about the fast finishing Zambian Kabange Mupopo who ran a season’s best 51.09 for first place. Gunta Latiseva-Cudare of Latvia ran a personal best 51.37 for third.
The veteran Novlene Williams-Mills used all her experience to ensure qualification in heat four. She took the race out strongly, running a good back stretch before shutting it down in the home stretch as she conserved her energy for the semifinal round. Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain ran a national record 50.57 for first place, while Phyllis Francis of the USA was second in 50.94.
Chrisann Gordon who is the US Collegiate champion won heat six in a time of 51.14s to ensure there were no mishaps. She was passed on the inside on the final turn by former world champion Amantle Montsho of Botswana but refused to be beaten, pushing to the line to ensure first place. Montsho was second in a season’s best 51.37 while Margaret Bamgbose of Nigeria was third in a season’s best 51.57.
Olympic champion Omar McCleod had a cautious start in heat one of the men’s 110m hurdles before releasing himself midway through the race to win in 13.23. He was followed home by Balazs Baji of Hungary in 13.95s and Eddie Lovett in a season’s best 13.41s.
In heat four, Ronald Levy tragically hit the first hurdle and twisted his left leg before also hitting the second hurdle and coming to a stop in obvious pain. He left the track in a wheelchair. The top three in that race were, Andrew Pozzi of Great Britain (13.28), Wenjun Xie of China (13.34) and Milan Trajkovic of Cyprus 13.38.
Hansle Parchment who won his first global medal in this same stadium at the London Olympic Games in 2012 when he claimed the bronze medal, left it late to impose himself on the heat, finishing fast to claim second spot behind Orlando Ortega of Spain. McLeod and Parchment will return for the semifinals in the evening session.