BEIJING, China – A look at the start lists revealed an avalanche of Caribbean athletes descending on the Birds Nest Stadium in Beijing on Day II for the pre-noon session. Salcia Slack (JAM) and Akela Jones (BAR) in 28th and 18th place, with 3415 and 3701 points, respectively, would continue their campaign for best possible end to their Heptathlon efforts. The Long Jump and Javelin events are in the early sector.
The Jamaican trio of perennial global event 4th placer, 2006 World Junior Champion, Kaliese Spencer, who has not raced since a 54.15 then world lead at the Oslo DL in mid June, another former World Junior Champion, Janieve Russell (54.83SB) and the enigmatic Puma glamour girl, Shevonne Stoddart along with T&T’s Sparkle McKnight (55.41PB) will go in the women’s 400mh.
Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and the Bahamas will all have their full traditional complement of three athletes taking on the 400m for men. Peter Matthews, Rusheen McDonald and the Moscow relay sensation, Javon Francis will don the black, gold and green, Bahamaland will send Michael Mathieu, 9 Champioships, veteran Chris Brown, both survivors of their golden moment at the 2012 London Olympics and the new sensation 19 year old, national champion and record holder, Steven Gardiner, in posting 44.27 at his country’s Trials.The twin island republic will field, Lalonde Gordon, Machel Cedenio and Renny Quow. Lastly also competing is Guyana’s Winston George and 2011 World Champion and 2012 Olympic Champion, Grenada’s Kirani James and his 44.89 season best countryman, Bralon Taplin.
In the women’s 100m heats, Jamaica will have four athletes with defending champion, Shellyann Fraser-Pryce (10.74SB), former champion, Veronica-Campbell-Brown (10.99SB), back to top shape, Sherone Simpson (10.95SB) and new girl, Natasha Morrison (11.03SB). T&T will go in with three, Michelle Lee Ahye (10.97SB), Semoy Hackett (11.16SB) and Kelly Ann Baptiste (10.84SB). The Caribbean challenge is completed with Sheniqua Ferguson (BAH/11.21SB), Tahesia Harrigan-Scott (IVB/11.14SB) and Anguilla’s Adriana Alves.
In the Long Jump of the Heptathlon, Salcia Slack leapt 5.54m for 712 points and placed 29th and Akela Jones did 6.09m for 877 points and 17th place. In the Javelin, Slack threw 36.11m for 593 points to place 11th in that discipline but Jones came up DNS and as such, did not register a score. The final event the 800m will come up in the afternoon session.
Ups and one down for the Carib girls in the 400mh. Kaliese Spencer and Janeive Russell of Jamaica were 6th and 7th in the rankings going to the semifinals, the former winning heat 1 in 55.03 and the latter doing the samein heat 5 in 55.09.Sparkle McKnight (TTO) coming in just behind Spencer in 55.77 also advanced but Jamaica’s other participant Shevonne Stoddart, 5th in heat 4, 56.60 did not.
The Caribbean men fared well as a group in the 400m, in which some really fast times were run for a first round. Jamaica’s rapidly improving Rusheen McDonald stunned with a national record of 43.93 to be 2nd in heat 2. Countrymen Javon Francis and Peter Matthews will also be in the semi final, the last named did a 44.69 personal best to place 6th in heat 1 and Francis came in 2nd in heat 3 in 44.83.
Grenada’s Kirani Janes won heat 4 very comfortably in 44.54 but his teammate Bralon Taplin failed to advance coming 8th in heat 1 in a pedestrian 46.27.The T&T trio of Machel Cedenio, Renny Quow and Lalonde Gordon all advanced. Cedenio ran 44.54 for 2nd in heat 1 and Quow in the identical time – his season best – was 2nd in heat 6. Lalonde Gordon took 3rd position in heat 4 with 44.97. Bahamian many time performer Chris Brown was 4th in heat 6 and also qualified and so did his teammates Michael Mathieu, 4th in heat 3 with 45.07 and 19 year old Steven Gardiner, 2nd in heat 5 with 45.26. Despite a national record, 45.25 for 5th in heat 6, Guyana’s Winston Gordon failed to make the cut.
Shellyann Fraser-Pryce was the premier Caribbean performer in the women’s 100m heats. She took heat 4 in 10.88. Next was T&T’s Michelle Lee Ahye who finished 2nd in the same heat, with 10.98. Veronica Campbell-Brown was 2nd in heat 1 in 11.04. with Jamaica’s Natasha Morrison, 2nd in heat 2 with 11.08. The fourth Jamaican Sherone Simpson also made it through with 3rd in heat 6 with 11.22. the other Trini misses, Kelly Ann Baptiste and Semoy Hackett, were in that order, 1st in heat 6 in 11.13 and 2nd in heat 5 in a season best 11.16. Those who failed to advance are, IVB’s Tahesia Harrigan-Scott, 11.47 for 5th in heat 5, Sheniqua Ferguson (BAH), 5TH in heat 7 at 11.48 and Anguillan Adriana Alves12.19PB for 7th in heat 5.
The only entry from the Islands in the men’s Shot Put, Jamaica’s Odayne Richards tossed the ball 20.55m to occupy 6th position going to the final in the afternoon session.