Jamaica U20 4x100m relay team smash U20 world record - men take home silver

By Sports Desk August 05, 2022

Jamaica’s women’s 4x100m relay team put on a dazzling performance to smash the U20 world record at the World Athletics U-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia on Friday.

The quartet of Serena Cole, Tia Clayton, Kerrica Hill, and under-20 100m world champion Tina Clayton took apart the field to stop the clock at 42.59.  The mark improved on the previous record of 42.94, which was also set by a Jamaican quartet at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya last August.

The mark was also just outside of the 42.58 clocking set at the Carifta Games earlier this year, by Cole, Tina and Tia Clayton as well as Brianna Lyston, which was eventually rejected by World Athletics because one of the members of the team, Tina Clayton, was not drug tested at the completion of the race, due to a procedural issue. 

The United States were a distant second in the event but also set a new national record after clocking 43.28.  The USA was represented by Jayla Jamison, Autumn Wilson, Iyana Gray, and Shawnti Jackson.  The home team quartet of Maria Alejandra, Marlet Ospino, Melany Bolaño and Laura Martínez took bronze in 44.59.

In the men's equivalent the Jamaican quartet of Bouwahjgie Nkrumie, Bryan Levell, Mark-Anthony Daley, and Adrian Kerr crossed the line in third position behind South Africa and Japan but were upgraded to silver following the disqualification of South Africa.

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    Julien Alfred secured St Lucia’s first ever global gold medal, when she topped the women’s 60m final in a world lead equalling 6.98s, to fittingly bring the curtains down on day of the World Athletics Indoor Championships, in Glasgow, Scotland, on Saturday.

    Alfred, who has a personal best of 6.94s, was always expected to continue her rich vein of form with a podium finish, but her gold medal prospects improved even more when her main rival Aleia Hobbs of the United States pulled out of the final with an injury.

    Still, the 22-year-old Alfred showed her class, as she burst through the middle of Poland’s Ewa Swoboda (7.00s) and Italy’s Zaynab Dosso (7.05s), to finish tops.

    "It feels good, I don't know how they are behaving right now, but I am sure they are happy. I have been working hard for such a long time to come out here and give my country their first ever gold medal and I am so happy, overwhelmed and ecstatic right now," Alfred said shortly after the race.

    St Lucia’s Minister of Sport Kenson Casimir congratulated Alfred on the feat which has given the Eastern Caribbean Island much to celebrate.

    “St Lucia's first ever global medallist in any sporting event and I think what makes it even more special is the fact that it is a gold medal at the World Indoor Championships. Of course, we are so proud, our entire nation is so proud. Of course, when you've won a medal, they say St Lucia wins it, so I can see every single individual really, really enjoying what we just witnessed today,” Casimir told SportsMax.TV.

    “Of course, I want to say congratulations to her family, Julian is somebody from humble, humble, humble beginnings from Castries, St Lucia, and she's doing so well, and we just look forward to even bigger and better things later on this year at the Olympic Games,” he added.

    On that note, Casimir declared his government’s intentions to continue throwing the necessary support behind Alfred as she continues to progress in her budding career.

    “We certainly believe that there's more to come from Julien. She is young. She has worked really hard her entire life from coming from the Leon Hess comprehensive secondary school and going over to high school in Jamaica and then later on to Texas.

    “She has really worked extremely hard and so as a government, we continue to put our resources behind her as she has transitioned so effectively into being a professional. And of course, with Coach Flo behind her from the University of Texas, we only expect bigger and better things from Julien Alfred,” he shared.

    Earlier, Jamaica’s Rusheen McDonald clocked a new personal best 45.65s for bronze in the men’s 400m.

    McDonald produced his usual late burst to secure his first ever indoor medal, and in the process became the first ever global male 400m medallist for coach Stephen Francis.

    The event was won by Belgium’s Alexander Doom in a new national record 45.25s, ahead of World and Olympic 400m hurdles champion Karsten Warholm, who clocked a season’s best 45.34s.

    McDonald's bronze is Jamaica's third at the Championships, as Ackeem Blake and Carey McLeod, also won bronze in the men's 60m and long jump respectively.

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    With Jamaican debutante Kaheim Dixon scoring the game's lone goal in the 58th minute at the Hasely Crawford Stadium on Friday, Eve opted to focus on the positives in the exercise, which provided an opportunity for several local-based players to make their national senior team debut.

    Eve gave debut starts Tiger Tanks Club Sando pair of left back Shervohnez Hamilton and midfielder Kai Moos, while AC Port of Spain's versatile wing back Liam Burns also got his first start for the twin island republic. The overseas-based pair of Kai Garvey and Justin Obikwu, who started at the left wing and centre forward positions respectively, also found favour with Eve, who felt the new players adjusted well in their first outing.

    "It is going to be difficult for these guys (Garvey and Obikwu) coming from where they are coming from and trying to adjust in just a couple days of work. I thought they adjusted well. They tried to bring the strengths they had to the group," Eve said in a post-match conference.

    "For the most part, I thought the group did really well. We gave up a really soft goal and we could not get ourselves back in the game. I think it was a lack of belief and that happens when players are not accustomed to playing at this level consistently. For effort, you must give all of the guys an A," he added.

    Still, with the main objective being to identify players to fit into his final squad for the upcoming Copa America playoff fixture against Canada on March 23, Eve is expected to look at a different line up with hopes that they will be mor fluid and consist in their play to give the coaching staff much to think about.

    "I thought it was a great exercise for the guys. When you look at the starting team, we had about six or seven players who were uncapped. We need more exercises like this to expose these guys and give them the opportunity because they have been doing well in the league," the tactician shared.

    "So, it's now to give the guys who are more established a run out going into the playoff game. Rhondel Gibson was good on the ball and when he came on, the team started to believe a little bit more. He wasn't afraid to get to the ball and those are the type of players we are looking for to be that brave and show themselves," Eve ended.

    The second game is scheduled for a 4:00pm kick off (3:00pm Jamaica time), at the Larry Gomes Stadium in Malabar on Sunday.

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    Kerr powered away on the final lap to win comfortably in seven minutes 42.98 seconds, with defending champion Selemon Barega fading down the final straight as he was beaten to silver by American Yared Nuguse.

    After disappointment for Laura Muir in the women’s 3,000m final earlier in the evening, Kerr’s victory sparked huge celebrations in the Emirates Arena.

    “I think I burned more energy celebrating than I did in the race, which is a bit embarrassing,” Kerr, the world 1500m champion outdoors, said on BBC Sport. “This competition is so important.

    “I’ve come to championships before not ready to have a real go at it and I feel I’ve let the UK audience down a bit in the way I’ve performed in front of them. It was really important to come here fit and ready to go and really execute.

    “I came in without a solid plan, just really fluid. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t acting emotionally.

    “I kept a patient head and then I could really send it with 400 metres to go.”

    Muir set a season’s best time of 8mins 29.76secs, but that was only good enough for fifth as American Elle St Pierre took the win ahead of Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay.

    St Pierre’s time of 8:20.87 was a World Indoor Championships record.

    Jemma Reekie delighted her home crowd by cruising into the final of the women’s 800m with a “perfect” performance.

    The 25-year-old Scot bided her time in second spot before passing Ethiopia’s Habitam Alemu on the final straight to win heat two in commanding fashion in a time of 1:58.28.

    World number five Reekie progresses to Sunday’s medal race as the fastest qualifier across the two semi-finals and had a warning for her podium rivals.

    She told BBC Sport: “(It was) perfect planning – you’d think Jon (Bigg, her coach) knew a bit about this sport by now. (It was) really good.

    “I’m in really good shape. Obviously the final’s going to be really tough, but I want them to know if they’re coming to win on my track they’re going to have to work hard.

    “I think it will be a fast one.”

    At 19 years and 26 days, Italy’s Mattia Furlani became the youngest long jump medallist in World Indoor Championships history by claiming silver in the men’s event with a leap of 8.22m.

    The teenager missed out on the title – to Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou – only on countback, with bronze going to Carey McLeod of Jamaica (8.21m).

    Britain’s David King qualified for the semi-finals of the men’s 60m hurdles after clocking 7.64 but compatriot Tade Ojora failed to make the cut in his heat.

    Amy Hunt fell short in the women’s 60m, finishing fifth in her heat in a time of 7.29.

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