Sport

Dacres, Williams win on Continental Cup opening day

PAUL A REID
Observer writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, September 09, 2018

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Jamaicans Fedrick Dacres and Danielle Williams scored individual wins, while Yohan Blake and Tyquendo Tracey were part of the winning Americas men's 4x100m relay team on yesterday's first day of the IAAF Continental Cup team event held at Mestsky Stadium in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Dacres overcame a shaky start to win the men's discus throw with a 67.97-metre effort, while Williams scored an upset win in the 100m hurdles. Annsert White continued his good season with second place in the men's 400m hurdles in a season best 48.46 seconds, while Stephenie Ann McPherson was third in the women's 400m race.

The Jamaicans helped the Americas team to take the lead with 135 points after 19 of 37 events were completed, 12 points more than defending champions Europe on 123 followed by Asia-Pacific (89) and Africa (74).

On today's final day of the two-day championships, another seven Jamaicans will contest individual events.

Ronald Levy will compete in the 110m hurdles, Natoya Goule will run the women's 800m, Shericka Jackson is in the women's 200m along with Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Aisha Praught is in the 3000m steeple chase, Janieve Russell competes in the women's 400m hurdles, Danniel Thomas-Dodd is in the women's shot put, while Blake will contest the men's 100m along with American favourite Noah Lyles.

There are a number of innovations at the Continental Cup as teams can score bonus points from a 'Joker Card', while athletes in the field events have just five attempts, the final one being a 'final' between just two athletes.

The top athlete from each team will advance to the 'semi-final', which is a knockout with the two best performers go after the top places.

Each team is also allowed to use two 'Joker Cards' — one per gender — and if their team wins, event the points are a doubled.

The 'Joker Card' was used by the Americas team in the men's discus throw and Dacres, the IAAF Diamond League trophy winner, cashed in with a final throw of 67.97m while just barely managing to stay in the ring.

Dacres, who took his winning run to eight straight and 10 of the last 13 events, started with a sub-par 58.38m and fouled his second throw. That left him in sixth position before he threw 66.64m to be one of four men to advance to 'semis'.

He then threw 63.86m to advance to the 'finals' with Asia-Pacific's Mathew Denny where he uncorked his best throw of the day while the Australian could only manage 54.53m.

Afterwards Dacres praised the format of the competition.

“It was an incredibly interesting competition. I like these new rules, especially when I won, and it was helpful for my team. Those rules are keeping you focused on what is going to go on from the very beginning to the last attempt.”

Williams, the 2015 IAAF World Championships gold medallist, won the 100m hurdles event in 12.49 seconds (-0.1m/s), just ahead of her teammate and race favourite Kendra Harrison (12.52) with Europe's Pamela Dutkiewicz third in 12.82.

“To be honest, I didn't expect to finish first but I was ready to fight and it was funny to try myself once more in strong company,” Williams was reported to have said after the race, which was her last for the season.

White got a third-straight second-place finish at a major event, running season's best 48.46 seconds, running out of lane one as Asia-Pacific's Abderrahman Samba set a Championships Record 47.37 seconds, his ninth sub-48.00 seconds clocking this season.

Norway's World Championships gold medallist Karsten Warholm was third in 48.46 seconds, while Diamond League champion Kyron McMaster, who was expected to challenge Samba, jogged to an eighth-place finish in 52.62 seconds.

McPherson, who was drawn in lane two, picked up six points for her third place in the women's 400m. The 20 year-old Salwa Eid Naser of Asia-Pacific won in 49.32 seconds, beating Africa's Caster Semanya who set a South African national record 49.62 seconds for second place, stepping down from her favoured 800m.

Blake and Tyquendo Tracey ran the third and fourth legs, respectively, on men's 4x100m relay to win in 38.05 seconds after Americans Mike Rodgers and Noah Lyles ran the first two legs.

The Americas team, was hardly challenged as Europe, including Jamaican-born athletes Emre Zafer Barnes and Jak Ali Harvey in their team were second in 38.96 and Asia-Pacific third in 39.55, while Africa failed to finish as they did in the women's race as well.

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