Jamaican athletes are having a tough time so far at the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, being held at a high altitude, which is 1,865 metres above sea level.
Powerhouses such as the United States and Great Britain are missing from the championships.
On Wednesday’s (18 Aug), day 1 of competition, Tina Clayton was Jamaica’s only bright spark, as she cruised into the women’s 100m final.
Clayton, who ran the fastest semi-final time in 11.34, easily secured her place in the final.
Clayton: “I feel really great knowing that it’s my first world junior championships (World U20 Championships), and I made it to the finals despite the strong line-up. I am confident I will make it to the podium.”
Kerrica Hill, the hurdles winner at Trials, was surprisingly drafted in the 100m ahead of Serena Cole, the faster of the two. Hill qualified with the slowest time of 11.60.
Hill is a student of Hydel and Cole is Clayton’s teammate at Edwin Allen.
Earlier in the heats, Clayton ran 11.50 and Hill 11.65.
In the men’s 100m, Bryan Levell, 10.43 and Alicke Cranston, 10.45, qualified for the semi-finals. Both, however, failed at the semi-final stage, Cranston 10.94 and Levell disqualified for a false start.
Oneika McAnnuff is Jamaica’s only 400-metre qualifier. She ran 54.13 to book her place in the final. Annalee Robinson failed to advance with 56.56.
McAnnuff: “It was a very tough race under very difficult conditions. When I came to Nairobi, my target was to improve on my personal best, which im targeting in the next round.”
Jamaica’s best quarter-milers in Kenya, Aaliyah Francis and Dejanea Oakley, both ranked 13th in the world with 52.51, were not entered for the event by the management team.
Francis is down to contest her weaker event, the 200m, which she is ranked 65th in the world of U20 athletes with 23.77. Oakley ran the heats of the mixed 4x400m while Francis ran the third leg in the final.
On the male side, Tahj Hamm, 47.73 and Jeremy Bembridge, who failed to finish, both failed to make the final at the World U20 Championships.
In the lone track final contested on Wednesday’s opening day, Jamaica finished fourth. The team of Uter, Baker, Francis and Johnson, finished in a season’s best 3:23.04. Nigeria won the event in 3:19.70 ahead of Poland, 3:19.80 and India, 3:2060.