BEIJING, China – The Caribbean challenge did not materialize as the region expected in the women’s one lap barrier race, with many time global fourth placer Kaliese Spencer after hitting an early hurdle, struggled to recoup and ended at the rear of the friend in a disappointing 55.47 on Wednesday's 5th day of the XV IAAF World Championships in the Bird Nest Stadium.
She expressed her feelings to Caribbean television, “I was just trying to get out there and execute well today, but it was not to be as I know god has got good things in store for me.”
The joy was all about 2012 World Junior Champion, yet another MVP TC, coach Stephen Francis-coached athlete and out of the University of Technology, Janeive Russell, 5th best in the world with a fantastic personal best of 54.64, running from lane 9. Unlike radio commentators, she did not see her performance as a failure, “I am not disappointed, wanted to go faster, I was running blind, but I ran my own race and came out with a PB and I am glad.”
On her plans for the future, “just go back home, school, training and focus on Rio” (The Olympic Games). The repeat World Champion, is the Czech girl, Zuzana Hejnova, with a world lead, 53.50.
2012 Olympic champion and 2013 World Champion, Grenada’s Kirani James had to settle for a bronze medal in the men’s 400m, despite running a season best of 43.78. The real Caribbean hopeful, 19 year old Soca boy Manuel Cedenio frustrated earlier promise by arriving at the line in 7th position with a pedestrian 45.06. Having not lost a race at any level all season, South Africa’s Wayde Van Niekerk, confirmed his dominance with a 43.48 world leading time to be World Champion.
The semifinal round of the 200m for men was all about more of the intense rivalry which these Beijing World Championships has thrown up. In the event, both won their races in relaxed style, Justin Gatlin in 19.87 and the super hero slash legend, Bolt, having minimal exposure in half-lapping this season, low throttled his 2015 best, 19.95.
The big man would have warmed the hearts of the world multitude, willing him from the start of proceedings to turn back the imposing Gatlin threat, by his post race comments to Caribbean media, as he looked to the final.
“I’m not gonna let Gatlin beat me, this is my pet event, I’m gonna get it done” Asked about a 19.3 or 19.4 time, he quipped, “If needed, whatever it takes, looking forward to it.”
There was an unfortunate twist to the event as Antigua’s Miguel Francis, despite a more than impressive 20.14 for 4th in heat 3, failed to make the final, as a 20.05 and a 20.10 elsewhere trumped him.. The identical time (20.14) was posted by Great Britain’s sensation, Zharnel Hughes, Bolt’s training mate, for the win in the first heat. Jamaica’s Nickel Ashmeade, determined to make amends after his 100m less-than-satisfying show, qualified with a 2nd place in the same heat with 20.19.
There were seven 200m women heats in the opening round which exposed nine Caribbean athletes. The format to advance was first three in each race plus fastest three losers and five of our girls made it.
Topping the list is Jamaica’s Sherone Simpson, 2nd in heat 7 in a 2015 best, 22.52. Next was her teammate, the new sensation, University of Technology student, just being introduced at this global level and prepared by guess who, the reputed king of sprint coaches in the feminine arena, Stephen Francis. She was 1st in heat 4, in cruise mode, slowing down to a walk in the last five metres and clocked 22.78.
Veronica Campbell-Brown (JAM) claimed the win in heat 5 in 22.79, despite a disqualification scare as commentators highlighted a lane violation. The qualifiers to the semis, were completed by the Trini duo of Semoy Hackett (2nd, heat 5 in 22.89) and Reyare Thomas (3rd, heat 6 in 23.09).
The list of those who did not advance reads, Kamaria Durant (TTO), 6th, heat 2, 23.25, Vincentian, Kineke Alexander, 7th, heat 2, 23.30, the hopelessly underperforming Bahamian, Sheniqua Ferguson, World Junior Champion from Bydgoszcz, 2008, 6th in heat 6 with 23.44 and Laverne Jones-Ferrette (ISV), 6TH in heat 4, 23.83.