Photo: Anastasia Le-Roy struck gold in the Women's 400m
Jamaica started its quest for greater glory at future multi-sports championships to come in years 2015 and 2016 by bagging 13 medals in the athletics section to finish in 5th position at the 1st APA, Pan American Olympic Festival in Mexico, 2014.
The sporting festival which was the first of its kind organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASCO), showcased 23 different Olympic sporting disciplines, ranging from aquatics to triathlon. It took place between the months of July and August. The event scheduled within its package, days of technical clinics for coaches and competition days for approximately 4500 athletes. The Games kicked started with opening ceremony which was held on July the 19th, 2014.
All its events were qualifying, pre-qualifying or gave the participating athletes points for the individual ranking in the sports whose qualification process establishes, for the “Toronto 2015” Pan American Games and the “Rio 2016” Olympic Games.
The top five countries in the athletics section which took place over last weekend, were Cuba (21), Mexico (16), the United States (US) (9) and Venezuela (3), and Jamaicans in 5th by virtue of lesser quality medals (gold medals). The third and fourth place teams USA and Venezuela each won three gold medals compared to Jamaica's two.
Jamaica’s two gold medal came by way of sprinter Sheldon Mitchell and quarter mile runner Anastasia Le-Roy. Mitchell (20.14 seconds) took the men's 200m ahead of Cuba's Roberto Skyers and teammate Jermaine Brown, both athletes were credited with the same time of 20.28 seconds.
World junior medalist and Ecuadorian standout athlete Angela Tenorio took the female sprint double in times 11.48 and 22.82. The runner up spots were completed by Jamaica’s Audra Segree in 11.57 and former Edwin Allen star athlete Gayon Evans, 11.72.
Segree went on to capture e second medal, bronze in the female 200m in a time of 23.15. She was pipped for the silver medal by Allison Peter of the US Virgin Islands in 23.03.
Le-Roy continued from where she left off in Glasgow, to finish in front in the women’s 400 metres with a time of 51.28 seconds, while her teammate, Bobbi Gaye Wilkins-Gooden, copped the bronze in 51.84. The mens 400m saw Jamaica’s Allodin Fothergill with a time of 45.47 seconds finishing second behind Dominica's Luguelin Santos 45.06 seconds.
Jamaica claimed a silver and bronze in the women's 100-metre hurdles, which was won by Panama's Ivette Lewis in 12.86 seconds. Shermaine Williams was close in 12.91 seconds, while Andrea Bliss took third in 13.18.
Deuce Carter rallied to capture the silver in the men's 110-metre hurdles in 13.51 seconds behind Barbados' Ryan Braithwaite, 13.41 which a Caribbean sweep with . Eddie Lovett of the US Virgin Islands was third in 13.62.
Jamaica’s other medals were won by 400m hurdlers, World championship represenatative Nickeisha Wilson ran 56.64 seconds for third in the women's race ,which was won by Zudikey Rodriguez Nunez (55.78 seconds) ahead of Cuba's Zuriam Echevarria, 56.54 seconds. Shevon stoddart had to settle for fourth sport in that event.
The men ‘s teams came up one spot better with Josef Robertson clocking 49.04 seconds to finish second in the 400-metre hurdles behind Jeffrey Gibson of the Bahamas, 48.91. Robertson edged out Andres Silva of Uruguay, who clocked 49.08 for third. Jamaica’s other competitor Isa Phillips finished fourth in 50.42 seconds.