BEIJING, China – A heavier Caribbean presence was assured for today’s afternoon session (22 August), with all eyes on the multiple sprint gold medallist, Jamaica’s dynamo, Usain Bolt featured in the men’s 100m.

His expected face-off with USA’s 2004 Olympic champion, Justin Gatlin, twice paying the price of failed drug tests, provided high octane fuel for the engines that drove the pre-Beijing hype.  Bolt, along with his teammates Asafa Powell, showing “ready-to-rumble” form all season and 200m specialist, Nickel Ashmeade completes the Jamaica Challenge. The field for the heats was completed by a most positive indication of St. Kitts Nevis’ current sprint prowess sending forth a trio of 39 year old, Paris 2003 champion, Kim Collins, Brijesh Lawrence and Antoine Adams. Barbados’ Levi Cadogan and Ramon Gittens, Kemar Hyman (CAY) and Keston Bledman (TTO) are also in the mix.

The entire world was focused on the prospects for the top contenders in the men’s 100m. It is very important to note that advancing from the 7 heats to the semifinal is all about first three plus next three fastest – 24 athletes going forward to occupy 3 second round heats. From the heats results, Justin Gatlin was the fastest finisher, 1st in heat 6 in a wind-aided 2.1mps, with 9.83.

Next in line, in speed only, came Asafa Powell, 1st in heat 1 and at 4th spot with 9.95 – his 91st lifetime sub 10 seconds time, fifth fastest was Usain Bolt, taking heat 7 in 9.96 – his fastest heat time ever, and Ramon Gittens (BAR) occupying 9th fastest position, with a PB 10.02 to be 2nd in heat 3.

Lower runs on the ladder were claimed by Levi Cadogan (BAR), 10.12 taking a provisional qualifying spot with his 4th in heat 7 finish. 26th spot sees 2003 World Champion, Kittitian, Kim Collins, 10.16 for 5th in heat 6.

In joint 27th, stands Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade, 2nd in heat 2 with 10.19 and in 31st is Antoine Adams (SKN), 4th in heat 4, 10.23.

The Caribbean involvement ended with Kemar Hyman (CAY), 5th in heat 2, 10.32, Brijesh Lawrence (SKN), 6th in heat 5, 10.40 and Keston Bledman (TTO), 8th in heat 3, 10.75.

Akela Jones (BAR) and Salcia Slack (JAM) continue their Heptathlon grind, while lone Caribbean survivor from the qualifiers, veteran Claudette Borel (TTO), will be in the Shot Put final.

First in line as far as results are concerned was a 19th place in the women’s Heptathlon Shot Put with 13.53m to earn 763 points for Salcia Slack (JAM). Her so promising partner out of Barbados, Akela Jones, heaved 12.73m for 709 points and 28th on the ladder out of the 33 who scored.

In the qualifying round of the women’s Triple Jump, the sole Carib Isles entrants Jamaica’s Kimberly Williams (14.23m) and Shanieka Thomas (14.05m), advanced provisionally in 6th and 8th position, respectively. The criterion for going into the final, is 14.25m or the top 12 and a provisional qualifier, simply means that such an athlete did not get that 14.25 m for automatic qualification. Bottom line, they both will have the opportunity to medal, come the final three jumps.

In the 200m Heptathlon for women which ended their first day action, Akela Jones (BAR) came in 17th overall from five heats, with 24.70 for 917 points and Salcia Slack (JAM was a joint 18th position, posting 24.73 pouching 912 points.  With 4 events over at the end of day one, Jones, at 3701,  stood in 18th place in the points tally and Slack on 3415 points occupied 28th place.

T&T’S Borel’s 17.43m could only offer her 12th place of that number of finalists in the Shot Put final for women. The World Champion is the world leader (20.77m) Germany’s Christina Schwanitz with 20.37m.

The heats of the 400mh – MEN  – produced mixed results for the Islands athletes. There were 5 heats and the requirement to advance is a first four finish and the next 4 fastest to send 24 to the semifinal.  Both defending champion Jehue Gordon (TTO) and Roxroy Cato (JAM), failed to go through with respective marks of 49.91 for 7th in heat 2 and 49.47 taking 5th in heat 1. Bahanas’ Jeffery Gibson was to the top Caribbean qualifier with 49.09 for 3rd in heat 1, followed by Jamaicans Annsert Whyte, 49.10 for 4th in heat 3 and Leford Green, 49.33 for 5th in heat 2, to be the only non-automatic qualifier.


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