Caribbean quarter-milers and their American counterparts will occupy five lanes in the women’s 400m final on Sunday (August 14) at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The third semi-final generated the most attention with medal favourites Allyson Felix of United States and Bahamian Shaunae Miller locking horns. Both athletes were meeting for the first time this season.
Felix ran a brilliant race tracking and eventually covering Miller after 300 metres. Both athletes pulled away from the field with Felix equalling her season’s best of 49.67 seconds to take the victory.
Miller, realising she was safely in the top two, eased off in the last final 20 metres and came home in 49.91.
Italian Libania Grenot, who surprisingly finished ahead of Jamaica’s Christine Day, squeezed into the final with 50.60 seconds as one of the non-automatic qualifiers. Day’s 51.53 did not take her into the final 8.
American Phyllis Francis powered past front-running Stephenie-Ann McPherson of Jamaica in the last 50 metres to claim victory in 50.31 seconds in the first semi-final. McPherson toiled home in 50.69 to claim the second automatic spot.
Shericka Jackson, the only Jamaican to taste victory in the semi-finals, could not contain her joy and surprise after seeing a new personal best of 49.83 seconds. She looked as if she had more left in the tank and never expected such a fast time.
Natasha Hastings, who ran aggressively before being pegged back by Jackson, was second in 49.90 seconds.
The final should be action packed.