Fraser-Pryce through to 200 semis but Walker falls
LONDON, CMC – The Caribbean will be heavily represented today in the women’s 200 metres semi-finals as all but one of their sprinters booked semi-final spots at the London 2012 Olympic Games here.
Defending champion Veronica Campbell Brown of Jamaica and newly crowned 100 metres champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce both advanced to the next round but there was no such luck for veteran Bahamian Debbie Ferguson-McKenzie.
There was also major disappointment for the Caribbean in the men’s 400 metres hurdles where Trinidad and Tobago’s Jehue Gordon and Jamaica’s Leford Green finished down the field in the final.
Gordon finished sixth in 48.86 seconds while Green could only manage seventh in 49.12, in the event won by Dominican Republic’s Felix Sanchez in a season-best 47.63.
Campbell-Brown will have plenty work to do if she is to defend her title as she looked out of her class after entering the straight in third, a position she held onto across the line in 22.75, as Ukraine’s Mariya Ryemyen took victory in a personal-best 22.58 with Frenchwoman Myriam Soumaré finishing second in 22.70.
Fraser-Pryce, however, had things very easy in heat seven as she was able to shut down from 60 metres out to cross the line in 22.71. She won ahead of Bahamian World Junior sprint double champion Anthonique Strachan (22.75).
Semoy Hackett of Trinidad & Tobago (22.81) and Grenada’s Janelle Redhead (23.08) did enough for second and third respectively in heat two, behind American Allyson Felix (22.71), the one to beat.
Like in the 100m, Ferguson-McKenzie again struggled to seventh in the same heat in 23.49, to miss out on a spot.
In heat three, Jamaica’s Sherone Simpson did enough after a slow first half, to book her semi-final spot with a clocking of 22.97 seconds.
Carmelita Jeter of the United States looked in great shape in taking the heat in 22.65 seconds.
Meanwhile, LaVerne Jones-Ferrette of the US Virgin Islands (22.64) who finished second, and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kai Selvon (22.85) who was fourth, advanced from heat four, which was won by 400m champion American Sanya Richards-Ross in 22.48.
The region had little luck in the women’s 400m hurdles semi-finals as only Jamaican Kaliese Spencer (54.20), who finished second in her race behind American Lashinda Demus (54.08), qualified.
There was no such luck for dethroned champion Melaine Walker, who from the first round never looked enterprising and it was no surprise when she bowed out, finishing sixth in 55.74 seconds in the third semi-final.
Muizat Ajoke Odumosu of Nigeria took victory in a national record 54.40.
Nickiesha Wilson, the third Jamaican in the semi-finals, bowed out when she finished fifth in the opening semi-finals in 55.77.
“I can’t tell [what happened], I just feel I had a bad day,” Walker told journalists.
“There are plenty more finals to be made, so I don’t think it’s a big deal. Only thing left for me to do is to break the world record and that can be done any day.”
Earlier, in the morning session, only Shermaine Williams and Ivanique Kemp of six Caribbean athletes who took part advanced to the next round of their events.
Williams of Jamaica placed fifth in the women’s 100m hurdles in a time 13.07 seconds to qualify as one of the fastest losers while Bahamian Kemp finished third in 13.51 in heat for one of three automatic spots.
In the next heat, Jamaica’s 2009 World champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton crashed out after hitting the fourth hurdle and losing her balance, to finish down in seventh position with a time of 13.98 seconds.
In the men’s discus qualification round, both Jamaicans Travis Smikle (61.85 metres) and Jason Morgan (57.46m) failed to qualify for the next round.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Cleopatra Borel had a throw of 18.39m to miss out on qualification for the women’s shot put qualification.