Richard “Torpedo” Thompson and Michelle-Lee Ahye produced a pair of sizzling performances at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain, on Saturday and Sunday (21-22) at the Trinidad and Tobago Championships.
Thompson, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist, broke his own national record, bolting to victory in the men’s 100m final in a world-leading 9.82. It was 0.03 faster than the previous record he set in 2011 on the same track.
“I’m thrilled with the performance,” Thompson told the Trinidad Express. “I didn’t come in chasing any time. The national record was the furthest thing from my mind. I knew I had a quality field to deal with, people like Rondel Sorrillo, Darrel Brown, Keston Bledman, Marc Burns, the usual suspects.”
By midpoint in the race, Thompson looked a winner, the Louisiana-based sprinter motoring to the line ahead of defending champion Bledman, the eventual silver medallist in 10.00. There was a welcome return to form for Brown, the former world junior champion earning bronze in 10.05. Burns (10.21) and Sorrillo (10.23) finished fourth and fifth respectively.
Ahye was also on fire at the Crawford Stadium and secured the sprint double. She seiziedgold in the women’s 100m in 10.88, having earlier clocked a world-leading 10.85 in the semi-final, and then returned a day later to take the 200m title.
In the 100m final, Ahye darted to the front, and then opened up a huge gap on her rivals, Kai Selvon finishing a distant second in 11.32.
Before this weekend, the 22-year-old sprinter had a personal best of 11.04. She has now moved to second on the Trinidad and Tobago all-time list and is just 0.02 away from the national record.
“It was unexpected,” said Ahye. “For the semis I was like wow. I was shocked. I was very excited.”
Just like in the shorter event, Ahye's best performance in the 200m came in the semi-final when she clocked a lifetime best of 22.77, running into a -1.1m/s wind. She dipped below 23 seconds again in the final, running 22.95.
Reyare Thomas got to the line in a personal best 23.17 to secure silver. Kayelle Clarke also produced her best-ever wind-legal run, the teenager bagging bronze in 23.44 as she prepares for next month's IAAF World Junior Championships.
Records, close finishes and surprise defeats over one lap of the track
Janeil Bellille erased a 16-year-old national record from the books. The Texas A&M University student won the women’s 400m in 51.83, bettering the 51.96 standard established by Beverly Pierre back in 1998.
In one of the biggest surprises of the weekend, world champion Jehue Gordon was beaten in the 400m hurdles. Emanuel Mayers captured the title in a PB of 49.57, forcing Gordon to settle for silver in 49.69.
It was the first time that Gordon had been beaten by a compatriot in the 400m hurdles since May 2008.
Renny Quow won the men’s 400m title, edging Lalonde Gordon into second spot. Both athletes clocked 45.08, but Quow had the edge in the photo finish, beating his rival by four thousandths of a second. Jarrin Solomon bagged bronze in 45.59.
At the top of the home straight, Gordon was in front, but Quow reeled in the Olympic bronze medallist close to the end, before out-leaning him at the line.
On Sunday, Gordon turned the tables on Quow in retaining his 200m title in 20.38, running into a -2.2m/s headwind. Quow was stronger in the first half of the 200m final, but Gordon was the man on the home straight, powering past his rival to strike gold. Quow claimed silver in 20.41, while Kyle Greaux clocked 20.59 to take home bronze.
Wayne Davis was superb in the 110m hurdles, securing gold in a championship record of 13.21. It also broke the Trinidad and Tobago all-comers’ record, set by Roger Kingdom back in 1985. Mikel Thomas – whose national record is just 0.02 than Davis’s winning time – picked up silver in 13.45, while bronze went to Durell Busby in 13.64.
In the absence of Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott, Shakeil Waithe set a PB to win the men’s javelin, the 2014 Carifta Games boys’ under-20 champion hurling the spear 72.75m.
Cleopatra Borel threw 18.63m to win her ninth national shot put title. Cuba's Yaniuvis Lopez was second with 17.37m.
Kwame Laurence for the IAAF