SOPOT, Poland, CMC – The Caribbean will have a big shot at gold in the men’s and women’s 400 metres at the IAAF World Indoor Championships after securing five spots in today’s finals.
Competing yesterday on the opening day of the Championships, the Jamaican pair of Patricia Hall and Kaliese Spencer, along with Bahamian Shaunae Miller, all did well in the semi-finals to qualify for the women’s title race.
Bahamian Chris Brown and Trinidadian Lalonde Gordon, meanwhile, will line up in the men’s final after coming through their semi-finals unscathed.
Hall left no doubt about her place in the final by winning the first semi-final in a time of 52.82 seconds while Spencer finished second in the second semi-final in 51.58, behind winner American Francena Mccorory (51.35).
Miller, a former World Youth and World Junior champion, also booked her place in the final by placing third in the second semi-final in 51.63 seconds.
“It feels awesome. Thank God. I have been working for this for so long. I am grateful to God that he is finally helping me out with this,” said an elated Hall.
Veteran Brown, meanwhile, who won gold in the London Olympics in the distance relay, captured semi-final two in a time of 46.19 seconds while Gordon, an Olympic bronze medallist, finished third in semi-final one in 46.29.
“I just thank God. I am one step closer to achieving my goal to get to the podium. I’ve just got to concentrate on myself and I just got to execute my own race,” said Brown, the 2010 World Indoors 400m champion.
“I thank the Lord that I have a spot in the final. The key to my success is also to rest the body and to keep it healthy.”
There was disappointment for the Jamaicans Edino Steele who was disqualified in the first semi-final and Akheem Gauntlett, who came home last in semi-final two.
The women’s final runs off at 7:40 pm (2:40 pm Eastern Caribbean time) while the men’s final gets going at 8:30 pm.
In the 60 metres sprint, St Kitts and Nevis’ Jason Rogers booked his spot in today’s semi-finals when he won his heat yesterday.
The 22-year-old clocked 6.59 seconds in heat three to lead home Bahamian Warren Fraser (6.61) and China’s Peimeng Zhang (6.65).
“I feel good. I made the first round. It has been going well. I am pleased with the start. When I got up I felt quite tight but then it was ok,” said Rogers.
“I am excited to be in the semis. I cannot wait to be in the semis. I hope to run a new [personal best] there.”
Jamaican Kimmari Roach also clinched a spot in today’s penultimate round when he finished second in heat one, behind winner Gerald Phiri of Zambia.
Roach, 23, was timed at 6.59 in a dead heat with Phiri.
“It is a good track, bouncy. I felt a bit weird today, but hopefully I feel better by tomorrow. I would like to run around 6.4,” he said.
“Everyone is a tough rival. Anything can happen in the sprints. Any little thing can go wrong. There is no real favourite. I feel really happy to compete in my first major event.”
Meanwhile, two-time Olympic sprint relay gold medallist Nesta Carter clocked 6.58 seconds in finishing third in heat four, as he made into the semi-finals.
The 28-year-old, a silver medallist in Istanbul two years ago, followed home winner Richard Kilty of Great Britain (6.53) and the second placed Reza Ghasemi of Iran (6.58).
Guyanese Adam Harris ensured a larger Caribbean presence in the semi-finals when he finished second in heat six, in a time of 6.62. Controversial sprint Dwain Chambers won the heat in 6.57, with Kittitian Brijesh Lawrence finishing fourth in 6.63, but still reaching the semis as one of the fastest qualifiers.
There was no such luck for Bahamian Adrian Griffith who finished fourth in heat five in 6.69 seconds, and for Grenadian Paul Williams who was sixth in 6.82.
Today’s semi-finals are scheduled for 6:30 pm (1:30 pm Eastern Caribbean time) with the final carded for 8:57 pm.
In the women’s 60m hurdles, Jamaican Monique Morgan ran a personal best 8.10 seconds in heat one won by exciting Australian Sally Pearson, to qualify for the second round.
Indira Spence, also of Jamaica, was not as fortunate, missing out after finishing fourth in heat two in 8.14 seconds.