Saturday 7 December, 2019

Janieve Russell wins 400m hurdles title at IAAF Continental Cup

Jamaica's Janieve Russell, of Team Americas, wins the women's 400m hurdles on the second and final day of  the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Sunday, September 9, 2018.

Jamaica's Janieve Russell, of Team Americas, wins the women's 400m hurdles on the second and final day of  the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Sunday, September 9, 2018.

Janieve Russell was the only Jamaican winner for Team Americas on the second and final day of  the 2018 IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic on Sunday.

Russell led home a one-two finish for Team Americas in the women's 400-metre hurdles.

The Jamaican dashed into the finishing straight from lane one to come home in 53.62.

Shamier Little of the USA, who had entered the finishing straight with a narrow lead in lane five, had to settle for second in 53.86.

“It’s my first Continental Cup and I’m really happy to win here, and that we were the winning team,” said Russell. “I was blessed to achieve both of these goals, because I had some hamstring problems before Ostrava. This win gives me more confidence for next season, when I aim to stay injury-free.”

Asia-Pacific runner Aminat Jamal of Bahrain, who has run 55.54 this season, looked good around the final bend before Little, and then Russell, surged past her, and she drifted back to fifth place in 55.65.

Third and fourth place went to Team Europe, with Ukraine’s Anna Yaroshchuk-Ryzhykova clocking a season’s best of 54.47 in lane eight, and Britain’s European bronze medallist Meghan Beesley finishing strongly to record 55.58.

Jamaica’s Commonwealth champion Ronald Levy, of Team Americas, produced his best race of the season to finish second in the men's 110-metre hurdles.

Team Europe Sergey Shubenkov and Pascal Martinot-Lagarde finished first and third respectively to take double points. But they had to work hard for it to beat the Jamaican.

Levy, lined up just to outside of Shubenkov in lane three, was out quickest, forcing the 2018 world leader to play catch up from the gun. Levy led through the first four hurdles but from then on, Shubenkov aggressively narrowed the gap before he carried a narrow, but clear lead over hurdle eight before storming across the line in 13.03. That was the fifth fastest performance this season for the authorized neutral athlete, but faster than anyone else has run in 2018. 

Levy, who raced to victories in the Paris and London legs of the Diamond league, clocked 13.12 for his second place, clipping 0.01 from his season’s best set in the British capital. It was also the third fastest time of the 25-year-old’s career.

Further back, Martinot-Lagarde, who beat Shubenkov to the European title in Berlin last month, finished third in 13.31, edging Antonio Alkana who clocked 13.36 for Team Africa.

US champion Devon Allen was fifth for Team Americas, clocking 13.57.

Jamaica's Natoya Goule, of Team Americas, continued her good season with a third-place finish in the women's 800 metres.

There was no surprise in the event as one of the most dominant women in global athletics took the victory with a dominating performance. Caster Semenya of South Africa led from start to finish to reach the finish in 1:54.77, barely half a second off the national record she set in Paris earlier this year.

Untroubled by her opponents, she was nonetheless determined to run fast and after a final 200 metres of just over 29 seconds, she finished in what was the second best performance ever achieved at the World/ Continental Cup behind Ana Quirot's 1:54.44 from 1989.

The two Americas athletes had a close battle for the other podium positions. Wilson, who held the second place for nearly the entire race, held on to it despite Goule's charge. The two also achieved top-quality times, albeit a long way behind the winner: Wilson was timed in 1:57.16, Goule in 1:57.36.

Jamaica's Shericka Jackson, of Team American, had to settle for fourth in the women's 200 metres.

Bahamian Shaunae Miller-Uibo extended her unbeaten streak to 10 races this season for a convincing victory. She clocked 22.16 to take the win for Team Americas, well clear of   Dutch woman Dafne Schippers, the two-time defending world champion in the event, who clocked 22.28 for second place.

It took a careful read of the photo to map out the next three runners who were separated by just 0.01. Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast, the winner of Saturday's 100m, got the nod for third in 22.61 ahead of Jackson of Team Americas and Edidiong Ofonime Odiong of Bahrain and Asia-Pacific, who were each credited with 22.62. Just 0.006 separated the pair. For the Bahraini, it was a national record.

In the women's shot put, Jamaica's Danniel Thomas-Dodd, of Team Americas,  finished sixth with an effort of 16.96 metres.

Gong Lijiao added a Continental Cup win to her World Championships title as she came through for victory. Gong only had the third best mark of the day overall at 19.63m, but she delivered when it mattered, defeating the American Raven Saunders in the final round.

The Chinese athlete earned the victory in her third Continental Cup appearance, having previously finished second and third.

Jamaica's  2011 World Championships gold medallist Yohan Blake, of Team Americas, finished eighth and last in the men's 100 metres. Blake came home in 11.99 seconds.

Noah Lyles, of Team Americas, caught a fast-starting Su Bingtian of Asia-Pacific to win by 0.02 in 10.01.  African champion Akani Simbine was third in 10.11 with Team Europe's Jak Ali Harvey fourth in 10.19. 

In the closing event, Jamaica's Stephenie Ann McPherson helped to lead Team Americas to victory in the mixed 4x400-metre relay.

McPherson capitalised on Europe’s blunder and moved into the lead for the Americas before handing over to Miller-Uibo. The Olympic 400m champion flew around the final lap to bring the baton home in 3:13.01.

Africa had a male athlete charging around the track on their final leg, Baboloki Thebe powering from fourth to second and hitting the line in 3:16.19 to take the runner-up spot for Africa, three seconds behind Team Americas.

Asia-Pacific claimed third in 3:18.55.

The 2018 staging was the third edition of the IAAF Continental Cup since the name and format was changed from the IAAF World Cup.

Four teams competed -  Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe.

The teams from Europe, Africa and Asia-Pacific could not compete with the might of the Americas as they won 18 of the 37 events on their way to lifting the trophy.

Having held a slight lead at the end of the first day, the Americas extended their advantage on day two and eventually won with 262 points. Defending champions Europe finished second with 233 points with Asia-Pacific taking third place (188) ahead of Africa (142).

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