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It was a tale of being “not quite there” by three of the Caribbean athletes in London at the XVI IAAF World Championships in Athletics. The final of the women’s 400m was the last event on day Six and it provided added drama for Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo to go alongside her diving win which she had in the 400m at the Olympics in Rio last year.
Co-favourite for the event, the USA’s Allyson Felix along with Miller-Uibo, took it out at a frenetic pace and led the field at the half way mark. Powering into the straight, the girl from Bahamaland looked the most likely to oblige and kept it going with Felix fading but in the last few strides, something untoward happened and Miller-Uibo faltered in her step, only for the USA girl Phyllis Francis to storm through for the gold in a season best 49.92. Silver and bronze were taken, respetcively by Salwa Eid Naser, imported by Bahrain with 50.06, her third national record of the championship and Felix, 50.08. Miller-Uibo limped across the line in 4th place, 50.49.
The Jamaican trio of Shericka Jackson, Stephenie Ann McPherson and Novlene Williams-Mills finished 5th, 6th and 8th in respective times of 50.76, 50.86 and 51.48.
Jackson seemed satisfied with her performance when talking to the media after the breathtaking event. “I think the final was good, I went in as the fastest loser…I came fifth today, I wanted to come better than that, I worked for fifth therefore there is nothing else I could have done. Williams-Mills who could be competing in her last individual race for Jamaica, was not happy with her performance. It didn’t go as planned, but at the end of the day, there is nothing I can do.”
In a performance where from lane 3, he was able to watch the field ahead of him throughout, the virtual unknown, Munro College graduate, Jamaican Kemar Mowatt ran an inspired race to take an unexpected 4th place in the 400mh in 48.99 seconds.
He was content to hold this position before making a late race surge which brought him home, just out of the medals. He spoke after to the media. “It’s a great feeling, but I would have had hoped to do better, but I can’t complain.”
The surprise world champion is Karsten Warholm from Norway, 48.35; the silver medal went to Yasmani Copello of Turkey, 48.49 and bronze won by USA’s Kerron Clement, 48.52.
Jamaican shot putter, Danniel Thomas-Dodd, who did not make the final last time around in Beijing or at the Olympics, was just off the podium during a rain – affected campaign but got into the bronze medal position with a 18.91m throw on her penultimate effort. But that was short-lived as she was pushed back to 4th after Hungary’s Anita Marton nailed a final throw of 19.49m to race past her and into the silver medal spot.
Thomas-Dodd was upbeat talking to the reporters after her 4th spot finish. “I am happy, I am happy because I just went out there to have fun…and that’s what I did, and I came out with the results I wanted, I wanted to make the top 8 and that’s what I did.” The winner was Li Gong of China, 19.94m and the bronze going to USA’s Michelle Carter, 19.34m.
USA-born Jamaican Aisha Praught was quite relaxed and seemed resigned to being one of the six fastest losers to make it to the finals of the 3000m Steeplechase scheduled for Friday. She made it in 9:26.37 for 4th in heat two.
In the second of two qualifying heats in the opening round of the men’s 5000m, the sole Caribbean competitor, Jamaican Kemoy Campbell, running in a heat where athletes were falling all around him, made it to the final with 13:26.67 finishing 9th in a fast heat and be ranked at that same position on the advancing ladder.
It was announced earlier on a day of horrible weather that Botswana’s Isaac Makwala who was denied his lane by the organizers in the final of the 400m on Tuesday, was informed that he would be allowed to enter the 200m at the semifinal stage, if he could do 20.53 running alone in a time trial before the scheduled start of the day’s program. He had withdrawn from the shorter event when he developed a bout of illness. He clocked 20.20 and was an automatic advancing second in his semifinal in 20.14 behind the USA’s Isiah Young, 20.12.
Also making it to Friday’s final, were the find of the event, Jereem Richards (TTO), 20.14 winning heat two and to be noted, Great Britain’s Nathaneel Mitchell-Blake who did high school at Jamaica College in Jamaica, 20.19 for 3rd in heat one. Yohan Blake, appearing out of sorts, struggled to 3rd in heat two with 20.52 and did not make the final. He spoke of discomfort during the race. “I should have won that race easily, but my leg wouldn’t allow me to…I felt my leg grabbing … and I couldn’t do anything about it.”