Sport

Walker's silver boosts Ja's medal tally in Nairobi

PAUL A REID
Observer writer
reidp@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, July 16, 2017

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Jamaica will seek to end the 10th IAAF World Under-18 Championships on a high during today's final session of competition at the Kasarani stadium in Nairobi, Kenya, with the possibility of four more medals.

After adding silver through Sanique Walker in the girls' 400m hurdles yesterday to bring the total to five — including two gold medals, a silver, and two bronze — Jamaica could end the five-day championships on a high.

Medals could be on the cards in the girls' 100m hurdles, where Britany Anderson and Daszay Freeman are prospects. The girls' long jump with Annia Ashley, and the mixed 4x400m relays could also bear fruit.

Jamaica slipped from fourth on the medals table overnight to seventh as South Africa lead with eight — including four gold, two silver, and two bronze. They are followed by Cuba with four gold, two silver, and a bronze, and China in third place with four gold, a silver and three bronze.

In front of a reported 50,000 spectators yesterday — the largest ever one-day attendance at any IAAF World Under-18 championships — Walker led all the way, but hit the final barrier hard. She lost her rhythm and composure and was caught on the line by South Africa's Zeney Van der Walt, who won by 400th of a second.

Walker, who had the fastest time going into the final, clocked 58.27 seconds to the South African's 58.23 seconds, with Germany's Gisele Wender taking the bronze in a personal best 59.17 seconds.

It was only the fourth medal for Jamaica in the girls' intermediate hurdles, and first since 2009 in Italy when Daniel Dowie took silver.

Rovane Williams, who was a dark horse for a medal, had a disastrous race in the boys' 400m hurdles final, hitting three hurdles including the second one. and was never a factor, finishing seventh in 55.48 seconds after running a personal best 51.94 seconds in the first round two days earlier.

Sprint hurdlers Freeman and Anderson were automatic qualifiers for today's 100m hurdles finals, after yesterday's first round with the second-and third-best times, respectively.

Freeman ran a personal best 13.07 seconds (1.2m/s) for second place in her heat behind France's Cyrena Samba-Mayela's 12.98 seconds, while Anderson won her heat in 13.10 seconds (0.3m/s).

The mixed 4x400m relay team was second in their heat to Kenya in 3 minutes 25.61 seconds, with men's 400m champion Antonio Watson, Shaqueena Foote and Joanne Reid and Tyrese Reid on anchor.

They are allowed two changes today and it is expected that Anthony Cox, who was fourth in the men's 400m, and Walker could come in.

Xavier Nairne, the only Jamaican entrant in the 200m, failed to get past the semi-finals as, despite a good start, he faded to sixth in 21.82 seconds.

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