Photo: O'Dayne Richards made history when he became the first Jamaican to win a shot put medal at the World Championships in Beijing,China on Sunday.
Jamaica enjoyed a successful day two at the 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships in Beijing, China as Usain Bolt defended his 100m world title and O’Dayne Richards claimed an historic bronze medal in the Men’s Shot Put.
Medals apart, the Jamaicans distinguished themselves with some good performances on the track on a day when no less than 18 of their athletes were in action.
First on the track were the ladies in the 400m hurdles and they were led off by medal hopeful Kaliese Spencer. The former national champion cruised to victory in heat one in 55.03s but Ristananna Tracey and Shevon Stoddart running in heats three and four respectively failed to advance to the semifinal round. However, national champion, Janieve Russell, running in the final heat, won in a time of 55.09 to join clubmate Spencer in the second round.
History was made in the second heat of the men’s 400m when Rusheen McDonald set a new national record of 43.93s and in the interim became the first Jamaican to dip below the 44s barrier. McDonald was second to Yousef Masrahi of Saudi Arabia despite both men being credited with the same time. Peter Matthews ran a personal best of 44.69 for fourth position in heat one and Javon Francis finished second in heat three in 44.83 as all three Jamaicans advances to the semi-finals.
Jamaica had four representatives in the first round of the women’s 100m, all of whom advanced, but only defending champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won her heat. Former World Champion Veronica Campbell-Brown (11.04) had to settle for second behind US champion Tori Bowie (10.88) in heat one. Natasha Morrison (11.08) was also second in heat two, nipped on the line by Nigerian Blessings Okagbare (11.07) before Fraser-Pryce equaled the 10.88 run by Bowie as the fastest times for the morning. Sherone Simpson finished third in heat six in 11.22 in a race won by Kelly-Ann Baptiste in 11.13.
Salcia Slack competing in her first world championships finished 28th overall with 4720 points after two grueling days of competition. The event was won by Jessica Ennis-Hill of Great Britian, second was Nadine Broersen of the Netherlands and third was Brianne Thiesen Eaton of Canada.
While that was taking place on the track, Richards was advancing to the finals of the men’s shot put.
The afternoon session did not start well for Jamaica as both men failed to make the final of the 400m hurdles. Annsert Whyte seemed a sure bet for a spot in the final as he came off the final hurdle in the lead but faded badly in the last few meters and was relegated to 7th place in 48.90. Leford Green did not fare any better as he was never in contention in his heat, finishing 6th in a pedestrian 49.59.
Three athletes contested the men’s 100m semifinals with Bolt and Asafa Powell making it through to the finals while Nickel Ashmeade missed out after finishing 6th in his semi-final.
While everyone waited with bated breath on the blue riband final, Richards took the opportunity to step into the spotlight. The Commonwealth and Pan Am gold medalist, equaled his own national record of 21.69m to grab the bronze medal and in the interim became the first Jamaican to win a shot put medal at the World Championships. America’s Joe Kovacs won with a throw of 21.93m while defending champion David Storl of Germany had to settle for second with 21.74m.
The highly anticipated clash between Bolt and Justin Gatlin in the men’s 100m produced the duel that most fans had been hoping for, with Bolt nipping Gatlin on the line, winning in 9.79s to Gatlin’s 9.80. Bolt joined Americans Carl Lewis and Maurice Greene as men to have won the World 100m title three times.
The marquee event on day three of the championships will be the women’s 100m final and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, will be looking to be the second Jamaican to defend in Beijing.