GOLD COAST, Australia, CMC – Jamaican Javon Francis clocked a season-best time to lead five Caribbean qualifiers into the final of the men’s 400 metres at the Commonwealth Games here yesterday.
The 23-year-old, a semi-finalist at Rio 2016 Olympics, posted 45.38 seconds in finishing second in semi-final one won by Isaac Makwala of Botswana in 45 seconds flat at Carrara Stadium.
Grenadian Bralon Taplin also extended his impressive form, winning semi-final two in a time of 45.44 to clinch his place in today’s final.
The 25-year-old was joined by Jamaican Demish Gayle who finished outside the automatic qualifiers but advanced based on his time of 45.85.
Jamaican Rusheen McDonald also secured his chance at gold when he came home second in the last semi-final in 45.77.
Trinidadian Machel Cedenio finished third in 46.19 but still squeezed into the final as one of the two fastest non-automatic qualifiers. There was disappointment, however, for several Caribbean runners as Guyanese Winston George (47.25), Grenadian Royan Marcelle (48.62), Vincentian Kimorie Shearman (46.51), Trinidadian Renny Quow (47.21), Bahamian Michael Mathieu (47.44) and Kittitian Warren Hazel (47.03) all missed out.
In the men’s sprint hurdles, Jamaican Hansle Parchment installed himself as one of the favourites for Tuesday’s final, clocking 13.30 seconds to win the second semi-final.
An Olympic bronze medallist in London and a silver medallist in Beijing World Championship three years ago, the 27-year-old led home teammate Ronald Levy who was second in 13.35.
Their Jamaican counterpart De’Jour Russell also booked his place in the final despite finishing fourth in 13.64, with he and Barbadian Shane Brathwaite (13.64) advancing as the two fastest non-automatic qualifiers.
In the women’s 400 metres preliminaries, Jamaican Stepheie McPherson clocked 50.80 seconds to win heat two and lead six Caribbean runners into the semi-finals.
Fellow Jamaicans Anastasia Le-Roy (51.37) and Tovea Jenkins (52.58), along with Grenadian Kanika Beckles (53.34), Ashley Kelly of the British Virgin Islands (53.45) and Vincentian Kineke Alexander (53.63), also advanced.