By Gary Smith, TrackAlerts.Com Contributor
Rasheed Dwyer of Jamaica broke a long-standing men’s 200m record in the second session on day 3 at the Pan Am Games 2015.
Dwyer blasted to a new personal best and Pan Am Games record of 19.80 seconds to win the first semi-final of the half lap. The Commonwealth Games champion from 2014 rocketed around the bend and just kept going as he destroyed the field to erase the previous record of 19.86, set in 1971 by Jamaican legendary Donald Quarrie.
USA’s Wallace Spearmon trailed home second behind Dwyer in a seasonal best of 20.03, with Miguel Francis of Antigua & Barbuda clocking a personal best of 20.05 for third place. In the second semis, Alonso Edward of Panama clocked 20.09 seconds to take first place, the same time as Cuban defending champion Roberto Skyers, who was producing a new personal best.
The 100m champion Andre De Grasse of Canada, running his fifth race at these championships, did enough to finish third in 20.12 and stayed on course for the Pan Am Games sprint double.
In the women’s 200m, American Kaylin Whitney took the first semi-final in 22.68 seconds ahead of Jamaica’s Kerron Stewart, who after leading through the first 150m, eases down and the 17-year-old went past her. Stewart qualified for the final with a second-place finish in a time of 22.72, while Bahamian Anthonique Strachan took third in 22.79.
Angela Tenorio of Ecuador took the second semi-final in a wind-aided 22.56 (+2.6 m/s). Tenorio, the 100m silver medal winner from Wednesday night, put early pressure on the field with a strong opening 100m and then fended off the challenge of Jamaican Simone Facey, who was second in 22.64.
American and Florida sprinter Kyra Jefferson was just a step back in third place in 22.65, while Kimberly Hyacinthe (22.82) of Canada and Trinidad and Tobago’s Reyare Thomas (22.88) also booked places in the final as the two fastest losers outside the top three finishers in each heat.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Kamaria Durant, who posted the fastest time in the heats was unable to duplicate that performance as she finished fourth in heat 1 in 22.94 and failed to make the final.
Gibson Another Hurdler To Watch In Beijing
Jeffery Gibson produced a super strong finish in the last 50m to upset his rivals in the men’s 400m hurdles final.
The Bahamian, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, timed his finish to perfection as he blew past favourites Javier Culson of Puerto Rico and USA’s Kerron Clement to win the gold medal and set a new personal best of 48.51 seconds in the process.
Culson, the 2009 and 2011 World Championships silver medalist, went out very hard from lane eight and ran out of steam in the home stretch and slipped to second place in 48.67. The bronze medal went to Jamaican champion Roxroy Cato, who just held off American Clement with a seasonal best of 48.72, as both hurdlers were credited with the same time.
The Winning Chances Elsewhere on the third day of track and field competition, Americans Kendall Baisden and Shakima Wimbley chased down Kineke Alexander from the Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to finish 1-2 in the women’s 400m final.
Alexander had a commanding lead heading into the home straight, but the Caribbean star saw her advantage sliced down by the reigning world junior champion Baisden, who took the gold in 51.29 and Wimbley (51.36). The Saint Vincent star faded badly and had to settle for the bronze in 51.50. Jamaica’s Chrisann Gordon was fourth in 51.75.
Olympic silver medallist Luguelín Santos recorded a season’s best time of 44.56 secs to take the men’s crown. Sitting off the early pace, which was taken out by defending champion Nery Brenes of Costa Rica and American Kyle Clemons, Santos lifted his tempo over the final 80m to burst through the middle of the field and strike gold.
Trinidad and Tobago World Junior champion Machel Cedenio also finished strong down the home straight to take the silver medal in 44.70, with Clemons holding out for the bronze in a personal 44.84. Brenes was fourth in a season’s best 44.85.
Clayton Murphy won the battle of the kickers in the home straight after he powered past Colombian Rafith Rodríguez to win the Pan Am Games 2015 men’s 800m in 1:47.19. Rodriguez, the leader for the major parts of the race, couldn’t hold on as he fell just short at the line and finished second in 1:47.23.