Photo: Omar McLeod winning the 110m hurdles final at the National Championships in Kingston in June. Also in photo (left) Ronald Levy and Andrew Riley.
After enduring a forgettable day two and day three at the IAAF World Championships in London, Jamaican track and field fans will be hoping for a better day four and that the country will finally land what has been an elusive gold medal.
Jamaica was stunned into silence when Usain Bolt was beaten into third place in the men’s 100m final on Saturday and left bewildered when Elaine Thompson failed to medal in the women’s equivalent on Sunday’s third day of the championships. Both athletes were odds-on favourites to cop gold in the finals of their events so their performances have left fans with a heavy heart and a sense of foreboding.
With two men, Olympic Champion Omar McLeod and World Championship silver medalist Hansle Parchment, in the 110m hurdles final this evening, the fans are hoping and praying for better results as hopes of individual gold medals fade fast.
McLeod won both his heat and semifinal races, to make today’s final while Parchment was second in both his lead in races ahead of the 3:30pm final. They will both be acutely aware that the nation will be resting their hopes on their broad shoulders. The ten hurdle obstacle race is perhaps the trickiest of events in track and field and with debutant Ronald Levy unable to get beyond the first one in his heat, the two veterans will no doubt exhibit caution while chasing glory for themselves and a hopeful country.
But before the 110m hurdles finals is run, a number of other Jamaicans will be looking to get their London dream started or extend it beyond day four.
The men’s 200m begins day four action at 12:30 pm and Yohan Blake will begin to try and make up for his 100m disappointment in heat one of the half lap event. Rasheed Dwyer has been able to observe the tragedies and as a veteran in the Jamaican team will be looking to breathe new life into the camp when he goes off in heat two. Warren Weir returns to the track where he won bronze in that famous Jamaican 200m sweep in the London Olympic Games in 2012, where Bolt struck gold and Blake silver. Weir runs out of lane eight in heat five and will have only the clock in front of him to chase.
The women’s 400m hurdlers will begin their journey at 1:30pm. Leah Nugent graces the track from lane seven in heat one and will be hoping to do a lot better than her performances since the national championships. Ristananna Tracey has learned a lot since the Rio Olympic Games and will be looking to execute well and advance to the semifinals from heat three, despite being drawn in lane two. Rhonda White makes her senior debut for Jamaica and the national champion will have to wait for the final heat five to strut her stuff. She was out of her depth in her first Diamond League race last month and will have to grow up fast in London if she is to have more than one race there.
The three men advanced to the 400m hurdles semifinals and will all need personal bests or near personal bests to advance to the final of a very competitive event. Kemar Mowatt, like he did in the heats, will lead off for Jamaica in the semis. Jaheel Hyde goes in semifinal two and the veteran Ricardo Cunningham goes in semifinal three.
All four Jamaican women advanced to the semifinals of the 400m and will be hard pressed to make Wednesday’s final. Stephenie-Ann McPherson goes in heat one against the likes of Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas and Quanera Hayes of the USA. Shericka Jackson and Novlene Williams-Mills will battle the wily Allyson Felix of the USA in heat two while Chrisann Gordon will battle Amantle Montsho of Botswana in the third and final semifinal. All four ladies are capable of making the final and would create history should they manage the feat.