Monday 13 July, 2020

Fast-rising star Kevona Davis pulls out of 200m in Kenya

Jamaican De'Jour Russell ... the big favourite for the gold medal in the boys' 110m hurdles on Friday.

Jamaican De'Jour Russell ... the big favourite for the gold medal in the boys' 110m hurdles on Friday.

Jamaica suffered a major disappointment on Friday's third day of action at the 10th and final IAAF World Under-18 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya as fast-rising star Kevona Davis pulled out of the 200 metres.

The 15-year-old, the only Under-18 athlete to have run under 23 seconds this season, was scheduled to compete in Heat 1 during the morning session but did not report for the start.

The withdraw of the young star came a day after she was unable to produce anything like her best form in the 100m final and finished the race clutching her hamstring.

Davis crossed the finish line in 11.67, a time only good enough for bronze medal as Turkey’s Mizgin Ay produced a massive upset to win the gold medal.

Ay  crossed the line in 11.62 and was handed the verdict over Poland’s Magdalena Stefanowicz, who clocked the same time in second, which was a PB.  

Lorraine Martins of Brazil made a statement after missing out on a 100m medal the night before, clocking the fastest time of 23.90.

The gold and silver medallists in the short sprint – Ay (24.22) and Stefanowicz (24.33) –  also booked their places in Saturday's semifinals.

The Jamaican, who is the world leader in the 100m and 200m, was the big favourite to win the girls' sprint double.

In the men's 200 metres, Jamaican Xavier Naire secured his spot in the semi-finals on Saturday following a second place finish in the fourth and final heat.

Naire clocked 21.59 seconds to finish well behind France's Paul Tritenne, who won in a personal best 21.08 seconds.

The Jamaican will enter the semi-finals with the ninth fastest qualifying time.

A total of 14 sprinters set personal bests in the opening round, led by  Tritenne.

After grabbing gold and silver in the 100m final on Wednesday, the South African duo of Tshenolo Lemao (21.27) and Retshidisitswe Mlenga (21.31) also made it through without any problems.

Earlier, Jamaican Lotavia Brown failed to progress out of the qualifying round of the girls' triple jump. Brown had a best effort of 12.45m which was only good enough for seventh place in Group B of the qualifiers.

Tan Qiujiao of China added 41 centimetres to her personal best, producing a 13.16m leap as she led the way into Saturday's final.

The other four athletes to have jumped beyond 13 metres this year – Cuba's Zulia Hernandez (12.92m), Slovenia's Eva Pepelnak (12.73m), Romania's Diana Ion (12.55m) and China's Youqi Pan (12.50m) – all progressed safely through to the medal contest.

In the boys' discus throw, Jamaican Daniel Cope also failed to get out of the qualifying round after placing ninth of 10 in Group A with an effort of 49.61 metres, the only mark registered from his three attempts.

Title favourite Claudio Romero was second best in the qualifiers, launching a 59.08m heave as one of two athletes to achieve the automatic standard of 59.00m. The other was Oleksiy Kyrylin of Ukraine who produced the best attempt of the opening round with a 60.30m effort. The final will be contested on Saturday.

The afternoon session is scheduled to start at 4:30 pm (8:30 am Jamaica time) with seven Jamaicans in action, including De'Jour Russell in the semi-finals of the boys' 110m hurdles.

Russell, the big gold medal favourite, will take the track at 8:47 am Jamaica time in Heat 2 of the semi-finals.

Russell issued a strong statement in the heats  with a championship record run in the morning session on Thursday.

Running in the first heat, the 17-year-old Jamaican took his personal best from 13.31 (already a world-U18-leading time this year) all the way to 13.08. The time made him the second fastest U18 athlete of all time, behind his compatriot Jaheel Hyde's world U18 best of 12.96.

The final will also take place on Friday and is scheduled to start at 7:35 pm (11:35 am Jamaica time).

Five of the seven Jamaicans, who will be in action during the afternoon session, will compete in medal rounds.

They are: Owayne Owens in the boys' triple jump final at 9:05 am Jamaica time; Janique Burgher in the girls' high jump final at 9:30 am Jamaica time; Shaquena Foote in the girls' 400m final at 10:55 am Jamaica time and Anthony Cox and Antonio Watson in the boys' 400m final at 11:10 am Jamaica time.

Jamaica has already won two medals.

Apart from Davis' bronze medal in girls' 100m,  Tyreke Wilson won the other medal, which came on Wednesday's first day.

Wilson, who was the gold medal favourite in the boys' 100m final, had to settle for bronze 

Jamaica has won a total of 50 medals, 19 of them gold, across the previous nine editions of the championships, putting them at fifth on the all-time medals table.

Six countries, including defending champions United States, have pulled out of the championships citing security concerns. The other countries which have pulled out are Canada, Switzerland, Japan, New Zealand and Great Britain.

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