KINGSTON, Jamaica — Kemar Mowatt and Rushell Clayton secured respective upset victories in the men’s and women’s 400m hurdles at the Jamaica Senior and Junior National Championships here inside the National Stadium on Friday night.
Clayton, who suits out for Swept Track Club, produced a well-measured performance to post a time of 54.73 seconds to win the women’s race ahead of favourite Janieve Russell, who was relegated to fourth in a disappointing 55.57.
The time was also a lifetime best for Clayton, who had entered the championships with a personal best 55.08, which she used to finish fourth at last year’s trials.
“I have been working so hard for this and it’s finally here,” said Clayton.
She added: “Knowing who I am competing with the time will come so my aim was just to finish in the top three and I finished first and I got 54 and that’s awesome.”
The 26-year-old came into the homestretch with a slight advantage and expertly maintained her form over the barriers to hold off Shiann Salmon of G.C. Foster College who crossed at a personal best time of 55.39.
Ronda Whyte of Sprintec repeated as the third-place finisher again this year with a time of 55.41.
Russell, the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, appeared deeply shocked after missing out on a top-four spot.
On the men’s side, Kemar Mowatt surprised the field to win his first national title with a solid 48.70 seconds, which is quicker than the 49.30 secs world championships entry standard.
Mowatt, who entered the trials with a seasonal best of just 50.83, produced the fifth fastest time of his career to bagged the gold.
“For the last couple of months I have had injuries so I wasn’t able to practice,” Mowatt revealed.
“I only had four good weeks of practice, so it was all God.”
Romel Lewis, who was sixth last year improved to finish second in 49.46, while Jaheel Hyde, a two-time World Under-20 champion and current national junior record holder, followed home third in a season’s best of 49.57.
Last year’s runner-up Shawn Rowe was back in fourth in 49.92, while no other finishers broke 50 seconds.