Golden harvest

BY PAUL A REID, Jamaica Observer

Thompson, Goule charge to victory at Pan American Games in Peru.
Sprinter Elaine Thompson and middle-distance runner Natoya Goule won gold medals and long jumper Tajay Gayle grabbed a silver medal as Jamaica doubled it’s medal haul on yesterday’s second day of track and field at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

After winning a gold, silver and bronze on Tuesday, Jamaica added two more gold and a silver, yesterday for a total of three gold, two silver and a bronze and are poised to add more medals today when the competition continues with Jamaicans in six more finals.

It will be a busy day for the Jamaicans who will be in the women’s high jump final, the 100m hurdles, men’s and women’s 400m, and men’s and women’s 400m hurdles today.

Thompson, the World and Olympic champion, as she did in the prelims of the women’s 100m on Tuesday, took control of the race from the start, took over the lead from about midway the race and held on for a comfortable win in 11.18 seconds (0.6m/s).

Trinidad and Tobago’s Michelle-Lee Ahye took the silver medal with 11.27 seconds, while Brazil’s Vitoria Christina took the bronze in 11.30 seconds.

The second Jamaican in the race Natasha Morrison was sixth in 11.40 seconds.

Goule struck her first major senior title when she ran a well-timed race in the 800m, battling Cuba’s Rose Marie Almanza down the home stretch before winning in 2:01.26 minutes.

The Cuban took the silver in 2:01.64 with Uruguay’s Deborah Rodriquez taking the bronze in 2:01.66.

Goule, who won a bronze at the Commonwealth Games last year, went to the front to join Almanza after about 300m and both went through the first 400m in just over a minute separating from the pack with about 250 metres to go, but the Jamaican held her form and got to the line first.

Gayle, who won his first international medal, led the men’s long jump from the second round when he got out to 8.17m (0.3m/s), but the talented but erratic Cuban Juan Miguel Echevarria produced an 8.27m (0.3m/s) effort in the fourth round to take over the lead.

Both men went after big jumps on their final attempt, but both fouled, Gayle just marginally with what looked liked a monster effort, nearer to the 8.40-metre mark.

Uruguay’s Emiliano Lasa took the bronze with 7.87m (1.2m/s), while Jamaica’s Adrian Riley was eighth with 7.57m (0.8m/s).

O’Dayne Richards, the winner four years ago, finished fifth in the men’s shot put with a best mark of 20.07m, while his teammate Ashinia Miller finished eighth with 19.17m as both men struggled throughout the competition.

Richards could only look on as his Championships record of 21.69m was broken on the final throw of the event by the massive Brazilian Darlan Romani who got out to 22.07m.

He led from the start and was never threatened improving with every round and capped it with the new record.

American Jordan Geist took the silver medal with 20.67m and Mexico’s Uziel Munoz was third with 20.56m, both coming in the final round.

In the other final yesterday, Rasheed Dwyer was fifth in the men’s 100m in 10.32 seconds, (-0.5m/s) as the veteran American Mike Rodgers won with 10.09 seconds with Brasil’s Paola Andre Camilo taking the silver in 10.16 seconds, and Cejhae Green of Antigua/Barbuda won the bronze in 10.23 seconds.

Shericka Jackson will start as a gold medal favourite in the women’s 400m today after she cruised to a 51.99 seconds clocking to win her semi-final heat yesterday, barely working up a sweat in the process.

She just got to the line before Cuba’s Roxana Gomez (52.04 seconds) and American Jaide Stepter (52.17 seconds).

Anastasia Le-Roy failed to advance after she finished seventh in her semi-final in 54.18 seconds as Mexico’s Paola Moran won in 51.58 seconds ahead of American Courtney Okolo’s 52.31 seconds.

Only one of the two men advanced in the men’s 400m after Demish Gaye took an automatic qualifying spot by placing third in his semi-final, but Terry Thomas finished seventh in his race and crashed out of contention.

Gaye ran 45.47 seconds after Colombia’s Anthony Zambrano won with 45.13 seconds and Grenada’s Bralon Taplin took second in 45.38 seconds.

Thomas, who was also chasing an IAAF World Championships qualification mark of 45.30 seconds, clocked 46.97 seconds.

Former World Under-18 gold medallist Yanique Thompson and Megan Simmonds are in today’s final of the 100m hurdles.

Thompson won her semi-final yesterday in 12.90 seconds (0.5m/s), crossing the line ahead of Bahamian Pedrya Seymour (12.94 seconds) and Haiti’s Vanessa Clerveaux ( 12.99 seconds).

Simmonds placed third in her semi-final heat in 13.10 seconds (-0.1m/s) behind Costa Rica’s Andrea Vargas who won with a personal best 12.75 seconds with American Sharika Nelvis second in 12.85 seconds.

Thompson could return to the track today where she is down to contest the semi-finals of the Women’s 200m where three Jamaicans are declared, including Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Schillonie Calvert-Powell.

Brasil’s Vitoria Cristina and the Bahamian pair of Tynia Gaither and Anthonique Strachan will also line up in the half-lap event.

Andre Ewers and Julian Forte will represent Jamaica in the men’s event that will also see Bahamas’ Steven Gardiner and Jereem Richards and Kyle Greaux from Trinidad and Tobago.

Sashane Hanson and Kimberley Williamson who are both seeking the IAAF World Championships qualifying mark of 1.94m will contest the women’s high jump where St Lucia’s Lavern Spencer will start as favourite for the gold medal and will have her compatriot Jeanelle Schleper as well as the USA’s Morgan Smalls.