Athletics

Russell sizzles in Continental Cup 400m hurdles

PAUL A REID
Observer writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, September 10, 2018

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Commonwealth Games champion Janieve Russell was Jamaica's lone individual event winner on yesterday's second and final day of the IAAF Continental Cup competition after she produced a brilliant run from lane one to win the women's 400-metre hurdles at the Mestsky Stadium in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

Russell's victory was among those that assisted the Americas team finishing on top in the four-team event.

She joined discus thrower Fedrick Dacres and sprint hurdler Danielle Williams, who won their respective events on Saturday's first day, as the victorious Jamaicans in individual disciplines. Dacres and Williams performances had earlier put the Americas team in the lead overnight.

Defending champions Europe took the lead midway yesterday, but the Americas team was too strong and tallied 262 points. That was 29 more than Europe's 233 points, well ahead of Asia-Pacific on 188. Africa ended fourth with 142 points.

Stephenie Ann McPherson, who was third in the women's 400m on Saturday, was part of the Mixed 4x400m relay team that won in a championship record, while Ronald Levy took second in the 110m hurdles. Middle-distance runner Natoya Goule was third in the women's 800m, Shericka Jackson was fourth in a close women's 200m, while Aisha Praught was fifth in the 3,000m steeple chase.

Women's shot putter Danielle Thomas-Dodd was sixth, while Yohan Blake, who was part of the winning men's 4x100m relay team on Saturday, pulled up in the men's 100m.

Colombia's Caterina Ibarguen added the women's long jump title to the triple jump she won on Saturday, repeating her IAAF Diamond League double, setting a national record 6.93m (0.8m/s) in the process.

Russell pulled off a mild surprise as she ran a well-timed race to win in 53.62 seconds just off her season best 53.46, beating her teammate American Shamir Little (53.86) to the line, with Europe's Anna Yaroshcuk-Ryzhykova, who ran a season best 54.47, to end third.

She came off the curve level with the leaders and took the lead at the ninth hurdle and got the finish line ahead of Little, who was expected to take the title, exacting a measure of revenge for her loss in the Diamond League race.

McPherson ran a blistering third leg on the Mixed 4x400m relay to overtake the European team that had dropped the baton and gave Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo a lead she would not relinquish as they won in 3 minutes 13.01 seconds.

Men's triple jump champion Christian Taylor and Luguelin Santos ran the first two legs for the Americas team.

Levy, the Commonwealth Games champion, ran his fastest race of the season, 13.12 (0.09m/s) for second place in the 110m hurdles, finishing behind Sergey Shubenkov, who won with 13.03 seconds, with third place going to Pascal Martinot Lagarde with 13.31.

Goule continued her best season ever with third place in the women's 800m, clocking 1:57.36 minutes, as Africa's Castor Semenya won easily in 1:54.77, ahead of Ajee Wilson of the Americas team who was second in 1:57.16.

Jackson was fourth in the women's 200m in 22.62 (0.1m/s), separated from Asia-Pacific's Edidiong Ofonime Odiong by a slender margin.

Miller-Uibo won the event in 22.16 from Europe's Dafne Schippers (22.26) with Africa's Marie Jose Talou third in 22.61.

Praught was fifth in 3000m steeple chase and was the last runner to be eliminated in the 'devil take the hind most system' used for some of the longer distance events, and while she did not finish the race, contributed four points to the team total.

The rules used for the Continental Cup starts eliminating runners, the last one across the line, with four laps to go resulting in just four runners left to contest the final lap.

Africa's Beatrice Chepkoech, who led from the opening gun, won in a championships record 9 minutes 07.92 seconds, ahead of Americas Courtney Frerichs (9:15.22) and Winfred Mutile Yavi of Asia-Pacific (9:17.86).

Thomas-Dodd, another Commonwealth champion had one legal throw, of 16.96m and failed to get past the first round, finishing sixth for three points.

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