File Photo: Shericka Jackson won the bronze medal for Jamaica at the Rio Olympic Games in the women's 400m final on Monday night.
Shericka Jackson claimed her second senior bronze medal for Jamaica on a dramatic Monday night at the Rio Olympic Games, when she finished third in the highly anticipated women’s 400m final in 49.85s. Race favourites Shauane Miller of the Bahamas and Allyson Felix of the United States of America put on a show for the fans, battling to the line before Miller seemed to lose her balance just before the finish. Miller eventually fell over the finish line to claim the gold medal in 49.44s ahead of Felix in 49.51s who had to settle for silver, while Jackson ran her second sub-50 second 400m meter in as many days to win her first Olympic medal in her first Olympic Games. The 21year old then dedicated the Bronze medal to her father who celebrates his birthday on Tuesday.
Stephenie-Ann McPherson, the other Jamaican in the final, finished in sixth place in a time of 50.97s.
But there was more drama during the evening session on the fourth day of track and field, long before the 400m final. The men contesting the 110m hurdles first round, found themselves running in torrential rain which had a severe effect on their performances.
Jamaica’s Duece Carter was initially disqualified after crashing into a series of hurdles while running in heat two during the heavy downpour. The officials would eventually rule that all the athletes that contested heats one and two and finished fifth or worse would participate in a run-off. In order to advance to the semi-final each athlete was required to run 12.66 or faster. Carter was the only athlete to do so when he won the run-off in 13.51s.
Overwhelming favourite, Omar McLeod managed to avoid the chaos as he cruised to 13.27s to win heat one in a very efficient performance. Andrew Riley ran in heat three, which went off after the rains had stopped and finished third in a time of 13.52s to also advance to the semi-finals.
The drama did not end there for the Jamaican contingent as it continued in the women’s 400m hurdles. Ristananna Tracey safely navigated heat one, winning in 54.88s ahead of Zuzana Hejnova (55.54) of the Czech Republic. Janieve Russell was comfortable in heat 2, finishing second in 56.13s behind Joanna Linkiewicz (56.07) to advance to the semi-final as well. But Jamaica’s Leah Nugent was disqualified after finishing second in heat three, before being reinstated after lodging a protest. Nugent had been disqualified for a trail leg violation.
Overshadowed by all the drama on the track was the Olympic debut performances of three Jamaican women in the discus event. It was a historic moment for the country and despite all three failing to get beyond the 60m mark or qualifying for the final, it was a significant moment in field events for Jamaica. National champion Tara Sue Barnett had a best mark of 58.09, while Shadae Lawrence managed 57.09m, but Kellion Knibb failed to register a mark in wet and slippery conditions.
In other events on a wild and crazy night in Brazil, the home fans had something to cheer about when Thiago Braz DaSilva won gold in the men’s pole vault in an Olympic record of 6.03m. David Rudisha of Kenya successfully defended his 800m title, winning in season best time of 1:42.15. Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria claimed silver in a national record time of 1:42.61 and bronze went to Clayton Murphy of the USA in a personal best time of 1:42.93.
Earlier in the day, in the morning session, the 200m women were the first to show. Simone Facey (22.08) and new 100m Olympic champion Elaine Thompson (22.63) both finished second in their heats to advance to the semifinal, but there was no such luck for veteran Veronica Campbell-Brown who failed to advance despite finishing third in her heat in 22.97s.
In the first round of the Men’s triple jump, Clive Pullen participating in his first Olympic Games fouled on his first two jumps before registering a mark of 16.08 on his final attempt, but failed to advance to the final.
In the men’s 400m hurdles, national champion Annsert Whyte ran a superb race from lane one, in heat 5, to win in a personal best time of 48.37s. His teammates, Roxroy Cato (48.56) and Jaheel Hyde (49.24) also advanced after they both finished in fourth position in their respective heats.
Aisha Praught, running in her first Olympic Games for Jamaica, became the first female to participate in a 3000m steeplechase final for the country, but found the going rough in the early morning heat, finishing fourteenth in a time of 9:34.20s. Ruth Jebet of Bahrain won gold in 8:59.75, Hyvin Jepkemoi of Kenya got the silver in 9:07.12 and Emma Coburn of the USA claimed the bronze in 9:07.63