Before the track and field action got underway at the XXX1 Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro many persons had viewed the men’s 110m hurdles as one of the most competitive and entertaining events.
That feeling remains the same despite the absence of Aries Merritt, David Oliver, Hansle Parchment, Jason Richardson and Sergey Shubenkov.
On Monday (August 15) during the opening round there were no casualties as the seeded athletes advanced comfortably to the semi-finals. However, there was high drama after nature took its course.
Omar Mcleod, the world indoor 60m hurdles champion, coasted to victory in heat one in 13.27 ( 0.1 m/s) ahead of American Jeff Porter in 13.50.
The second heat was run in a downpour and it also claimed what was initially thought as the first casualty in Jamaica’s rising star Duece Carter. He clipped the seventh hurdle and totally lost his balance and rhythm ending up seventh in 14.02 seconds. The event was won by Orlando Ortega of Spain in 13.32 (0.4 m/s).
However, the officials ordered a re-run with the bottom four from the first two heats competing. Duece Carter, who prayed to the heavens when the rains ruined his chances in his first heat, came up with an ace second time around winning impressively in 13.51 seconds to be the only qualifier going through.
The weather got progressively worse which forced a halt to the proceedings. When the action restarted on the wet surface Jamaica’s entrant Andrew Riley (13.52) finished third to advance from his heat behind Frenchman Dimitri Bascou (13.31) and Great Britain’s Andrew Pozzi (13.50). Also qualifying from the other heats were American champion Devon Allen (13.41), Ronnie Ash (13.31) and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (13.36).
In the longer barrier event, Jamaica’s domestic champion, Ristananna Tracey ran a strong race to win the opening heat in 54.88 seconds. She was followed home by world champion Zuzana Hejnova of Czech Republic in 55.54. In the second heat Janieve Russell the fastest Jamaican this season, ran reservedly to claim second in 56.13 and advanced to the semi-final. Russell’s teammate Leah Nugent experienced a roller-coaster ride of emotions. She was first disqualified for a trail leg violation and later reinstated. She too advanced to the semi-final with a time of 55.66 seconds.
Janeille Bellille from Trinidad and Tobago (56.25) grabbed one of the non-automatic qualifying spots. However her teammate Sparkle McKnight (56.80) and Barbadian Tia-Adana Belle (56.68) missed out.
All three Jamaican men qualified for the 400m hurdles semi-final in the morning session. Annsert Whyte registered a lifetime best of 48.37 seconds which turned out to be the fastest time of the day. Roxroy Cato (48.56) and Jaheel Hyde (49.29) who both finished fourth in their respective heats went through as fastest non-automatic qualifiers.
Elsewhere in the field, Bahamian Leevan Sands (16.55m) and Jamaica’s Clive Pullen (16.08m) landed short of the mark in the men’s triple jump. The news was similar for the three Jamaicans Kellion Knibb (NM), Tarasue Barnett (58.09m) and Shadae Lawrence (57.09m) in the women’s discus.