Powell’s 9.84 stuns and Bolt’s 20.14 delights in Kingston
Sunday 8 May 2005
Several World-leading performances highlighted the second Jamaica International Track & Field Invitational, Saturday evening (7 May) at Kingston’s National Stadium. Under the theme ‘Athens Recreated,’ the North and Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) Area Permit Meet featured 50 Olympians, including 20 medallists and 12 finalists from the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad.
It was a terrific night for the youngsters, the sprints in particular reflecting the recent successes of many of these competitors at World Junior Championships. The six sprint races included three World leading times, and the oldest of the six winners is not yet 23 years old, whilst the youngest is still well short of his 19th birthday.
Jamaicans lead the World
Jamaican Olympian Asafa Powell is the first man under 10 seconds for the men’s 100m in 2005. The 22-year-old led a Jamaican sweep with a new national record 9.84 seconds, the fastest time on the planet, with a trailing wind of 1.8 metres per second. The young Jamaican was number one in the 2004 IAAF World Rankings, and currently holds top spot in the 2005 Rankings.
Going into Kingston, the fastest time in the world was Maurice Greene’s 10.03, precisely one week earlier (30 April) in Fort de France, Martinique. Powell’s performance is jointly the third best ever. Canada’s Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin have also run 9.84. Only Americans Maurice Greene (9.79) and World record holder Tim Montgomery (9.78) have run faster.
Delighted as the large Jamaican crowd would have been to see Asafa better the 9.87 he clocked last year at National Trials, they were ecstatic to see Jamaicans command all three podium places. Dwight Thomas was second in 10.05, Michael Frater third in 10.09 - Trinidad & Tobago’s Darrel Brown (10.12) was fourth, Great Britain’s Mark Lewis-Francis (10.13) fifth.
Jamaicans also secured the top two places in the women’s 100m. Sherone Simpson was just short of her personal record, the 20-year-old clocking 11.03 for the win, with a trailing wind of 0.8 m/s. Aleen Bailey (11.07) was second. Olympic silver medallist Lauryn Williams (11.08) was third, with fellow Americans Muna Lee (11.30) and Inger Miller (11.46) fourth and fifth.
There was further delight for the Jamaicans in the 200m races. Just over a week shy of her 23rd birthday, Olympic champion Veronica Campbell won the women’s half-lap in 22.53 - second fastest time of 2005 -, ahead of Lee (23.02) and Lashauntea Moore (23.25) of the USA. Jamaica’s Sherika Williams (23.38) was fourth, with 35-year-old compatriot Beverly McDonald (23.47) fifth.
World junior record holder Usain Bolt stopped the clock in 20.14 to win the 200m. Still just 18 years old, the tall, elegant Jamaican smashed the meet record of 20.53, leaving the American duo of Leo Bookman (20.34) and defending champion Coby Miller (20.51) in his wake. Jamaicans Chris Williams (20.65) and Ainsley Waugh (20.83) were fourth and fifth.
Young Americans shine
Americans won both quarter-mile races. World junior champion Lashawn Merritt improved on his fine start to 2005, the 18-year-old crossing the line in a personal best 44.66 to win from Andrew Rock (44.75), also of the USA. Merritt’s and Rock’s 2005 World leading times put Jamaica’s Sanjay Ayre (45.26) and Michael Blackwood (45.32) into third and fourth.
Sanya Richards won the women’s one-lap race in 49.96, the first woman this year to go under 50 seconds. Monique Hennagan (50.83, not to be confused with the younger Monique Henderson, also of the USA) was second. Jamaica’s Lorraine Fenton (51.78), Novlene Williams (52.07) and Sandie Richards (52.07) trailed the American duo.
Kipkurui, Sinclair conquer
Kenya’s Benjamin Kipkurui ran 1:46.86 to win the men’s 800m run, upstaging Athens silver medallist Bernard Lagat (1:47.07) of the USA. Kipkurui, the World junior record holder for the men’s 1000m run, is making something of a comeback at the age of 24. Americans Derrick Peterson (1:47.44) and Elliott Blount (1:48.17) followed Lagat in Kingston.
Jamaica’s own 24-year-old, Kenia Sinclair, took a relatively easy win in the women’s 800. Her previous fastest time of 2:02.80 was the fastest in the world, but her 2:00.05 in Kingston handily eclipsed that. Hazel Clark (2:01.17) was second. The 27-year-old American was followed across the line by Marian Burnett (2:02.13), Guyana’s former NCAA indoor champion.
Felicien improves World lead
Arguably the most anticipated race of the evening was the women’s 100m Hurdles, with Olympic champion and IAAF World Ranked number one Joanna Hayes (USA), World champion Perdita Felicien (CAN), Olympic silver medallist Melissa Morrison (USA), Jamaica national record holder Brigitte Ann Foster-Hylton, and Jamaicans Delloreen Ennis-London, Vonette Dixon and Lacena Golding-Clarke.
At the end of the day, it was the Caribbean-born Felicien who stopped the clock in 12.67 seconds - world season’s lead - to beat Golding-Clarke (12.72) and Ennis-London (12.78) with a good trailing wind of 1.5 m/s. Jamaican veteran Michelle Freeman (12.84) continued her comeback from injury. Hayes (12.88) was a disappointing fifth.
Americans David Payne (13.41) and Aubrey Herring (13.71) were the top two men in the 110m Hurdles. Maurice Wignall (13.79) the Jamaica national record holder, was third, with American decathlete Brian clay fourth. Jamaica’s Chris Pinnock (15.50) was fifth, stumbling over the last hurdle and affecting Wignall. The wind for the men’s sprint Hurdles was 1.1 m/s.
Jamaica’s Olympic silver medallist and Sportsman of the Year Danny McFarlane delighted the home crowd by winning the 400m hurdles in 49.01, beating American Ricky Harris (49.21) and defending champion LaBronze Garrett (49.55) of the USA. A third American, Fred Sharpe (49.74) was fourth, and Jamaica’s Dinsdale Morgan (50.24) ended in fifth.
Jumps produce good results
Adam Shunk was a High Jump silver medallist with 2.22m in Martinique last week. The 25-year-old American improved by eight centimetres in Kingston. His 2.28m placed him ahead of compatriots Matt Hemmingway, Jamie Nieto and Terrance Woods, all of whom were out at 2.20m. Jamaica’s Claxton Bernard (2.10m) was fourth, with Brian Clay (1.95m) fifth.
Three of the Long Jump competitors who disappointed in Martinique led the competition in Kingston. Jamaica national record holder James Beckford (7.95m) won with a trailing wind of 1.6 m/s. Walter Davis of the USA cleared 7.92m, albeit with a trailing wind of 2.7 m/s. Compatriot John Moffitt cleared 7.90m with a wind of 1.6 m/s.
Jamaica national record holder Trecia Smith won the women’s Triple Jump. The 29-year-old produced one of the top five performances for 2005, clearing 14.33m with a wind of 1.7 m/s. Not far off the pace was Sudan’s Yamile Aldama (14.15m), with Jamaica’s Suzette Lee (13.89m) occupying third place, ahead of Taneeisha Scanlon (13.23m) of Ireland.
After a decent inaugural meeting in 2004, this year’s Jamaica International has raised the bar in a big way, with many of the hometown athletes hopefully setting the benchmark for the 2005 season. With the performances of this past weekend as a base, this certainly looks as though it will be a fantastic year for Jamaican athletics.
Terry Finisterre for the IAAF