- Semoy Hackett and Keston Bledman produced some fine sprinting as quarter miler Renny Quow and Triple Jumper Ayanna Alexander were also victorious placing Trinidad and Tobago on top of the medal table on the first day (Fri 15) of the 23rd Central American and Caribbean Championships in Mayaguez, which are being attended by IAAF President Lamine Diack.
Alexander leads-off Trinidad and Tobago success, sprinters follow
A month after becoming his country’s fifth man to join the sub-10 second club, 23-year old Bledman blazed to a fast 10.05 in 100m, facing almost neutral wind (-0.5), to prevail over Antigua & Barbuda’s 2010 World Indoor bronze medallist Daniel Bailey (10.11) and Jamaica’s two-time World junior champion Dexter Lee (10.18).
Bledman has become a familiar face for the Puerto Rican fans having taken the 100m and finishing second in 200m at the Ponce Grand Prix in May. In claiming his first international title, the 2005 World Youth bronze medallist has kept Trinidad and Tobago’s recent dominance at the CAC Champs in the men’s 100m. Darrel Brown took the gold in a championship record of 10.02 in Nassau 2005 and renewed his title in Cali 2008. Emmanuel Callender won in Havana 2009, when Bledman finished sixth.
His countrywoman Semoy Hackett also improved her placing from Havana 2009, from silver to gold as she ran 11.27 to edge out Jamaica’s Jura Levy (11.36) and Simone Facey (11.39). The 22-year old also clinched her first international title and became Trinidad and Tobago’s only second woman to win the 100m in the 44-year old history of the regional event. Fana Ashby blazed the trail in 2003.
Over the one-lap race, Renny Quow regained his CAC supremacy after winning the 2008 edition in Cali and missing his title defence in Havana. The 2009 Berlin World bronze medallist held off the challenge from the Bahamas` Ramon Miller (45.56) to win in 45.44, only one hundredth of a second slower than his season’s best. Erison Hurtault of Dominica held on for bronze in 45.93.
Ayanna Alexander opened the gold medal count for Trinidad and Tobago by taking the Triple Jump in 13.50m. She finally savoured gold after taking bronze in Cali 2008 and finishing fifth in Havana 2009.
Jamaica is close behind with three gold and the highest number of medals (10).
Shereefa Lloyd ran a season’s best of 51.69 to lead a 1-2 for her country in the women’s 400m and take her first international championships victory, followed by Patricia Hall (51.85) and Colombia’s Norma Gonzalez (51.90).
The reggae boys also contributed to the tally in the field as Jason Morgan dominated the Discus Throw (60.20) and O'Dayne Richards the Shot Put in 19.16.
Mexico’s Juan Romero produced the only championships record on Friday (15) as he covered 10,000m in 28:54.06, over 26 seconds faster than Colombian Heder Vazquez’s 29:10.80, set in 1993.
Culson focussed and ready for the final
The spotlight on the first day was on the men’s 400m Hurdles semis, with local idol Javier Culson facing Jamaica’s Leford Green, who denied him the CAC Games gold on the same track last year.
Green was the fastest in the semi-finals with 49.81, followed by U.S. Virgin Islands` heat two Leslie Murray (49.95) and another Jamaican Jamele Mason (49.96).
Still under a jetlag effect five days after running his season’s best of 48.34 at the Birmingham Samsung Diamond League, Javier Culson slowed down after the last hurdle and finished second in the first heat (50.22), behind Dominican Republic’s Winder Cuevas (50.21).
“We just came back from London and I am still a bit under jetlag, tired from the flight. But I need to focused and analyze my strategy for the final on Saturday, especially to determine with the number of steps between the third and fourth hurdle,” said Culson.
The men’s final on Saturday (16) also features Dominican Republic’s 2004 Olympic and two-time World champion Felix Sanchez, as well and Trinidad and Tobago’s Jehue Gordon, who finished fourth at the 2009 World Champs in Berlin. With such a stellar line-up, Culson will need to run close to his season’s best or his championships record time of 48.51 to defend his crown won in Havana 2009.
Trinidad and Tobago’s 2009 World bronze medallist Josanne Lucas led the female 400m Hurdles qualifiers with 56.94.
Mexico and Venezuela had a successful first day, claiming two gold medals each. Colombia and Cuba also added a gold each. Venezuela’s Geormi Jaramillo leads the Decathlon after the first day with 3908 points.
Small Cuban delegation
The overall winners of the past three editions and in the history of the event, Cuba did not bring her top contingent currently involved in the European circuit. Only nine athletes arrived here, led by 2009 Berlin Javelin silver medallist Guillermo Martinez.
The Championships is celebrating the first anniversary of the successful staging of the CAC Games in Mayaguez last year. A record 503 athletes (287 men and 216 women) from 32 countries are competing until Sunday. Twelve of them won at least one medal on Friday.
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF
Click here for RESULTS
The winners on Friday were the following:
100m Keston Bledman TRI 10.05 (-0.5)
400m Renny Quow TRI 45.44
1500m Nico Herrera VEN 3:44.92
10,000m Juan Carlos Romero MEX 28:54.06 CR
SP O'Dayne Richards JAM 19.16m
DT Jason Morgan JAM 60.20m
100m Semoy Hackett TRI 11.27 (0.5)
400m Shereefa Lloyd JAM 51.69
1500m Sandra Lopez MEX 4:22.65
PV Keisa Monterola VEN 4.00m
TJ Ayanna Alexander TRI 13.50m (-1.3)
DT Denia Caballero CUB 62.06m
HT Eli Johana Moreno COL 67.97m
CR- Championships Record