World leader Ackelia Smith produced a clutch performance in the women’s long jump to advance to Sunday’s (20 Aug) final on the opening day of the Budapest 23 World Athletics Championships. That reality seemed like a pipedream after Smith fouled her first two attempts and left her destiny in the balance.
However, cometh the hour, cometh the lady and Smith flew down the runway and sailed through the air cutting the sand at 6.78m, her second longest jump this season behind her 7.08m set in May. “I was a little bit cold on my first jump and pushed too hard on the second, Smith explained. “I’m glad I got it done on the third attempt because my coach was sweating for sure. I’m confident in my abilities and know if I get it right, I’ll be on the podium.” Her compatriot Tissana Hickling failed to advance from her group after finishing 13th.
Elsewhere, Adelle Tracey placed fifth in a closely contested women’s 1500m heat to advance to the semifinals. “My main goal was to get to the semifinals, and I’ve ticked that box,” said Tracey. “I had to do a little more than I wanted, but that’s okay because I qualified. I want to progress to the final, so I’m just going to focus on recovering now.”
National champion and record holder Rajindra Campbell left it late but qualified for the men’s Shot Put final, placing tenth overall with a best heave of 20.83m. Campbell did not get the first-round effort he desired due to the weather. “I didn’t get to complete my warm-up due to the pouring rain delay, and there was lightning as well, “said the national record-holder. Campbell added, “The ring was very slick, which caused the downhill performances from my first two attempts, however, as the competition progressed, the ring got drier, and I felt my grip and decided to put everything together in my last effort.”
Jamaica’s chances of medalling in the mixed relay were dashed after the team of Demise Gaye, Natoya Goule-Toppin, Malik James-King, and Stacey-Ann Williams finished fifth in their heat and 9th overall.
Did Jamaica qualify for the mixed relays final at Budapest 23?
Gaye started decently with a 44.49 split handing over in the third position, however, Goule-Toppin (53.23) struggled to keep pace and fell back to eighth. James-King (45.88) on the third leg ran with energy for the first 200m before he began to falter. Williams (50.45) displayed character on the anchor leg but had too much ground to make up and crossed the line at 3:14.05, a mixed relay season’s best for Jamaica.
“The rain affected our warm-up; nevertheless, we went out there and gave our best,” said lead-off runner Gaye. Meanwhile James-King, competing at his first World Championships, was satisfied with his effort. “After receiving the baton, I wanted to finish in the top three, I fought hard, but it didn’t play out the way I wanted,” said James-King. “I rushed the race because I wanted to get back into contention, however, when I caught up, they started to accelerate, and it became difficult as I had already used up a lot of energy. I tried my best”
Afterwards, the Jamaican team management lodged a protest claiming there was interference on the second leg involving Natoya Goule-Toppin. However, the appeal was thrown out as the officials indicated the contact was not sufficient to impede Goule-Toppin.
In other track and field news, Live Updates: Budapest 23 World Athletics Championships | Latest News and Results and Elaine Thompson-Herah: “I’m the Greatest Female Sprinter Ever.”