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Bledman wins, Baptiste sizzles
Drama dominated last evening’s close to day two of the NGC/Sagicor NAAA National Open Championships, as Keston Bledman and Kelly-Ann Baptiste both recaptured their national 100m gold medals, while World Junior champion Machel Cedenio, who appeared to have captured his first senior national 400m win, but was later disqualified.
Bledman, clocked 9.86 seconds, the same time he recorded when he won his two previous national 100m gold medals in 2012 and 2013, but he did so without a challenge from the then-defending champion and national record holder, Richard Thompson, who opted out of the final after struggling through his semifinal heat, in which he clocked 10.40 seconds.
Bledman faced little resistance both in his qualifying race and in the final. The latter saw the top three finishers: Bledman, Marus Duncan (10.15) and Rondell Sorrillo (10.16) dip under the standards set for the IAAF World Championships, while the respective runners finishing fourth to sixth, Emmanuel Callender (10.21), Mikel Thomas (10.24), Den-Eil Telesford (10.29), all secured times below those considered for Pan American Games.
Baptiste too fast for Ayhe
That event immediately followed the women’s 100m final, which too saw an easy winner in Baptiste, who rolled back the years, clocking 10.84 seconds, a season best just one hundredth of a second short of her personal record. With that, she moved up to fifth in the world women’s 100m standings. Her nearest challenger, Michelle-Lee Ayhe was dominated and finished second in 11.17.
Her injury worries also looked to have returned as she was seen was hobbling off the track following an embrace with Baptiste. Reyare Thomas finished third, clocking 11.22, followed by Semoy Hackett (11.23). The top four runners achieved times considerably below the 11.33 World Championship standard, while fifth placed finisher Kamaria Durant (11.40) achieved the Pan Am standard.
Preceding those events was the men’s 400m final, an event which seemingly saw Cedenio enjoy a first senior 400m gold. His brilliant effort was in vain as he was later disqualified for a lane infringement, while Renny Quow took top honours in a World Championship qualifying time of 44.90 seconds. Jarrin Solomon claimed silver in 45.58 seconds, while bronze went to Guyana’s Winston George (46.19). Lalonde Gordon finished fourth in 46.45 seconds.
Meanwhile, national record holder, Janeil Bellille, was the only local medallist in the women’s 400m, taking silver in 53.39 seconds. She was dethroned by CAC Championship gold medallist and two-time Olympic finalist Kineke Alexander of St Vincent and the Grenadines, who clocked 52.99 seconds. Both times were under the 53.50 standard for the Pan Am Games. Senior national runners, Romona Modeste (54.48), Jessica James (54.98), Alena Brooks (55.06) and Magnolia Howell (55.32) finished from fourth to seventh.
Action will continue today from 2.30 pm with the resumption of the men’s decathlon and women’s heptathon. Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott, who recently rewrote his national record twice, will be among the star attractions today, lining up alongside local teenage sensation Shaquille Waithe in the men’s javelin. Both the men and women’s 200m event will run with the qualifiers, followed by the finals several hours later. The event will come to a close following the 4x100m and 4x400m relay events for men and women.
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