Day one of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon set the tone for two weeks of exciting action. Three finals were contested, including the men’s and women’s 20km walk and the mixed 4x400m relay, which provided a huge upset.
The Dominican Republic produced a scintillating run to stun Team USA en route to the gold medal in a world-leading 3:09.82 to bring the curtain down. The Netherlands finished with a flourish to claim second ahead of the USA in a national record of 3:09.90.
Team USA, who twice blew sizeable leads finished third in a season’s best in 3:10.16.
Jamaica finished fifth in 3:12.71 and the country is hoping for better fortunes on the second day after a number of its athletes advanced to the next round in their respective disciplines.
Danniel Thomas-Dodd whipped the cannonball out to 19.09m to qualify for the women’s shot put final. “I am very happy,” said Thomas-Dodd. “My coach and I talked about trying to be patient and stay relaxed and let the technique work and make sure I am not putting myself under too much pressure by waiting on my 3rd attempt to qualify. I am happy I qualified on my 1st attempt.” Her compatriot Lloydricia Cameron finished ninth and failed to qualify from Group A.
Promising sprinter Oblique Seville left the starting blocks like an express elevator in heat four and after seizing control of the race, which included Olympic Champion Lamont Marcell Jacobs, cantered across the finish line in 9.93 seconds (+0.2 m/s). “Coach Mills and I have been talking about my race execution and today I did what he told me,” said Seville. “The track felt a little bit tough and I felt a niggle in my toe. Just wish the best for me tomorrow.” Jamaica’s two other entrants Ackeem Blake (10.15) and Yohan Blake (10.04) will ensure the proud sprint nation will have three semi-finalists.
Middle distance runner Adelle Tracey advanced to the semi-finals after finishing sixth in the women’s 1500m in 4:05.14.
Elsewhere, defending long jump champion, Tajay Gayle, continued his wretched season with three consecutive foul attempts failing to advance to the finals. In contrast, national champion Wayne Pinnock moved on to the finals after cutting the sand at 7.98m (+0.7m/s). “It wasn’t easy going up against world-class jumpers for the first time,” said the 21-year-old. “It’s a very big achievement. I’ve dreamed about this and nothing beats a trier, in the final, hopefully, I’ll pull off something.”
By Noel Francis