Olympics: Jamaican runners shine, disappointment for throwers in opening session of track and fieldFriday, July 30, 2021
By Ian Burnett
TOKYO, Japan – Jamaica's terrific trio of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Shericka Jackson made easy passage to Saturday's semi-finals of the women's 100m as the curtains came down on the opening session of the track and field events inside Olympic Stadium earlier Friday.
However, of the 10 athletes who entered competition, Traves Smikle, the first Jamaican in action in Group A of the men's discus qualification, and world number two ranked Fedrick Dacres, who contested Group B, were sent packing after failing to reach the qualifying standard of 66.0m or among the 12 best performers on the day.
But Chad Wright progressed from Group B of the discus, as national champion Natoya Goule (800m), 400m hurdlers Kemar Mowatt, Jaheel Hyde and Shawn Rowe also advanced to the next round.
But it was the sprinters who stole the show in the morning session on a superfast running track.
Thompson-Herah, running out of lane seven in heat two, looked silky smooth in easing to a 10.82secs win, while Fraser-Pryce, who blasted out of lane four in heat five tried hard to contain herself while still clocking 10.84secs, while Jackson (lane four in the seventh and final heat) was also very comfortable in gliding to an 11.07sec second place finish behind Trinidadian Michelle-Lee Ahye (11.06secs).
Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast was the fastest qualifier with an African record 10.78seconds and leads all 24 semi-finalists ahead of Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce. Jackson enters the semis as the 12th fastest qualifier.
Goule set the tone early from lane one of the second heat when she quickly went to the front to dictate the pace before kicking for home with just over 200m left. She then held her form well before easing down towards the end to stop the clock at 1:59.83 minutes. She leads all qualifiers into Saturday's semi-finals.
“I think it was good because I slowed down and I still run under two minutes, so I think it was a pretty good run for me,” Goule told the Jamaican media moments after her race.
“I did not want to go out there and kill myself, I honestly wanted to run two minutes but I get to run that (time) even slowing down at the end so I'm really happy with it because I'm feeling great right now. I'm already recovered so that's good,” she said.
Mowatt was fourth in heat one in 49.06ecs, Hyde ran a quick first half of the race to assume control from early to register 48.54secs for his win in heat two, while Rowe was third in heat four in a season's best 49.18secs.
Hyde's time ranks him third, Mowatt qualified in 12th position, while Rowe's time qualifies him in 14th position going into Sunday's semi-finals.
Chad Wright claimed the 12th and final qualifying spot to the final in the men's discus with his 62.93m. He was just ahead of Dacres with 62.91m, as Smikle finished in 25th position and 13th in Group A following his 59.04m effort.
The evening session begins at 7:00 pm (5:00 am Friday Jamaica time) with action in the women's triple jump (Kimberly Williams and Shanieka Ricketts), the women's shot put (Lloydricia Cameron and Danniel Thomas-Dodd) and the 4x400m mixed relays.
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