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Regional runners do well

Novlene Williams-Mills

Today’s first day of track and field events at the London Olympics was a good one for Caribbean female sprinters

Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown ran 10.94 to win heat three of the women’s 100 metres to cruise into the semi-finals which will be run tomorrow at 2.35 p.m. local time.

Campbell-Brown entered with a personal best of 10.76 and a season best of 10.82.

Her compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce eased to an 11-second win in her heat six. Fraser-Pryce, the 100m Olympic champion, is also competing in the 200m.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Semoy Hackett clocked 11.04 to finish second behind the Jamaican and also advanced.

Kerron Stewart made it one-two-three for Jamaica when she finished third in her heat in a time of 11.08 after a poor start, to also advance. Her heat was won by Ivory Coast’s Murielle Auhore in 10.99.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste breezed to a time of 10.96 to win the first 100 metres heat of the evening and moved comfortably into the semis, where she will be joined by youthful compatriot Michelle Lee Ahye who finished third in her heat in a time of 11.28.

During the morning session three Jamaicans made it to the semi-final round of the 400 metres Novlene Williams-Mills (50.88) won her heat, while Rosmarie Whyte (50.90) was second in her heat and first-time Olympian Christine Day (51.05) was second to Amantle Montsho of Botswana.

Things were a bit more problematic for the Jamaican men in the 400m hurdles as only national champion Leford Green managed to progress to the semi-finals. Roxroy Cato was fifth in his heat in 50.22 while Josef Robertson faded horribly to cross the line in fifth after being second for much of the latter part of the race. However, he had problems over the last hurdles.

Jamaica’s Allison Randall threw 58.06m to be ranked 15th overall in the women’s discus event but it was not enough to earn her a place in the next round.

Burly Dorian Scott became the first Jamaican shot putter to qualify for an Olympic final after he launched a 20.31m effort in qualifying to book a spot in the final but could not replicate his earlier form and finished outside the medals.

Jamaicans Kimberly Williams and Trecia Smith also booked places in Sunday’s triple jump final.

Williams jumped a personal best 14.53m to finish atop her group while Smith booked her spot with a season’s best 14.31m.

There was disappointment for Trinidad and Tobago in the evening – away from the track and field – when swimmer George Bovell did not medal in the 50m sprint final. Frenchman Florent Manaudou beat defending champion Brazilian Cesar Cielo to take the gold medal.

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