Jamaica off the mark at NACAC Senior Champs in Toronto, Canada

Observer writer

Saturday, August 11, 2018

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Shot putter O'Dayne Richards won a bronze medal as Jamaica opened its account on yesterday's first day of the third NACAC Senior Championships at Varsity Stadium in Toronto, Canada.

Fresh off his gold medal performance at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia last week, the 2013 IAAF World Championships bronze medallist took his place on the medal podium with a best mark of 20.89m, just edging his compatriot Ashinia Miller, whose fifth-round effort of 20.85m moved him up from sixth to fourth place.

American Daryll Hill, who was second three years ago when the event was held in Costa Rica, improved to the gold medal with a championships record 21.68m, breaking the 20.54m set by compatriot Jonathon Jones in 2015.

Canada's Tim Nedow took the silver with 21.02m, who along with both Jamaicans, was all over the old record.

Triple jumper Jordan Scott failed to match up to his heroics last week when he improved his personal best as he failed to make a legal mark.

The University of Virginia record holder fouled his first attempt then withdrew from the competition.

The Jamaican athletes will continue their medal hunt today when they line up in a number of finals, including the men's and women's 400m, women's 800m, the men's 5,000m, men's high jump and men's hammer throw.

Jamaica will also be seeking its first 100m gold medals with both rounds, the semi-finals and finals set for today.

World Championships and Olympic Games 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and CAC champion Jonielle Smith will run in the women's section with American Jenna Prandidni, who ran a personal best 10.98 seconds recently, leading the way.

After yesterday's qualifying round, there will be three semi-finals in the men's 100m with IAAF World Cup champion and Jamaica's newest member of the sub-10.00 seconds club Tyquendo Tracey and Kenroy Anderson hoping to get to the final.

Jodean Williams surprised the crowd and the field when she ran a hard curve on her way to winning her heat of the 200m in 23.03 seconds (0.3m/s), beating the USA's Britanny Brown (23.22 seconds) and Trinidad and Tobago's Semoy Hackett (23.31 seconds).

She will be joined by world number two ranked Shericka Jackson, who was second in her semi-final in 22.97 seconds (0/3m/s) behind Canadian champion Chrystal Emanuel (22.82 seconds) with American Phyllis Francis third in 23.07 seconds.

Johnoy Thompson and Nigel Ellis are both into the finals of the 200m today after, good showing in yesterday's semi-finals.

Thompson won his semi-final in 20.79 seconds (0.5m/s), while Ellis was second in the first of three semi-final heats in 20.76 seconds (0.1m/s) behind Trinidad's Kyle Greaux's 20.74 seconds.

All four Jamaican 400m runners advanced to today's finals after yesterday's semi-finals in the opening first session.

Stephenie Ann McPherson and Christine Day are through, while Demish Gaye and Fitzroy Dunkley are also into the men's medal round, all with automatic qualifications.

McPherson, the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, won her semi-final heat in 52.22 seconds, comfortably ahead of the USA's Brionna Thomas (53.18 seconds) and Canada's Aiyanna Stiverne (53.27 seconds).

Day finished second in her semi-final heat in 52.53 seconds, behind defending champion Courtney Okolo of the USA, who won with 51.81 seconds, the best time of the day with another Canadian Madeline Price third in 53.54 seconds.

Gaye placed second in his semi-final heat with a relatively slow 46.62 seconds behind Costa Rica's Nery Brenes' 46.55 seconds and Alonzo Russell of The Bahamas was third in 46.88 seconds.

Dunkley was third in his race in 46.55 seconds behind the USA's Myles Pringle (46.28 seconds) and Grenada's Bralon Taplin (46.37 seconds).

Jamaica's Leah Nugent and Commonwealth Games champion Janieve Russell lead the qualifiers in the women's 400m hurdles after winning their semi-finals yesterday.

Nugent, a 2016 Olympic Games finalist, won her heat in 54.85 seconds, while Russell clocked 55.07 seconds, the first and second best times.

Americans Georganne Moline (55.38 seconds) and Shamir Little (56.30 seconds) for second in their semis and Cuba's CAC Games bronze medallist Zurian Hechevarría (55.53 seconds) will also be in the medal hunt.

Annsert Whyte, who won his semi-final heat from lane one, and Shawn Rowe also advanced to the men's final set for tomorrow.

Whyte, the silver medallist at the CAC Games, ran 49.56 seconds to beat American TJ Holmes (49.71 seconds), while Rowe was third in his heat in 49.91 seconds as pre-championship favourite and CAC champion Kyron McMaster of the British Virgin Islands won easily in 49.16 seconds ahead of American Khallifah Rosser (49.68 seconds).

Daniel Williams, World Championships gold medallist in 2015, was the second fastest qualifier for the final of the 100m hurdles after she won her semi-final race in 12.72 seconds (0.2m/s) and will be joined by Yanique Thompson, who was fourth in her heat in 13.17 seconds (0.5m/s) and advanced on time.

American Kendra Harrison, the world record holder, ran the fastest time of the day-12.66 seconds (0.5m/s).

Hansle Parchment also advanced to the final of the 110m hurdles as he recovered from a slow start to place second in his semi-final heat in 13.42 seconds (0.8m/s) behind American Devon Allen (13.37 seconds), the two fastest times in the semi-finals.

Natoya Goule will start as a medal favourite in the women's 800m after twice setting the national record this season and is expected to battle the USA pair of Ajee Wilson and Raevyn Rogers for the gold medal.

Kemoy Campbell will contest the men's 5000m final where only five men have been declared to take part as they seek one of three medals.

Cannigia Raynor is among the five men declared for the hammer throw final today, while Tisanna Hickling, who withdrew from the team to the Central America and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Colombia last week, is down for the women's long jump final.

Clayton Brown will hope to make up for his sub-par performance at the CAC Games when he takes part in the men's high jump final.

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