By Spencer Darlington
Reporting from the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London
Jamaica landed its first gold medal at the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships after Olympic champion Omar McLeod sped to victory in the men’s 110m hurdles final on Monday’s 4th day of competition at the London Stadium.
McLeod held the ascendancy from start to finish, clocking 13.04 seconds to become the first Jamaican man to win this event at the World Championships. 2015 silver medallist Hansle Parchment had difficulty from the start and ended up 8th in 13.37 seconds.
Defending champion Sergey Shubenkov took silver in 13.14 seconds while Balazs Baji of Hungary captured the bronze in 13.28 seconds.
“It was probably one of the hardest line-ups in history but I really wanted to bring that spark back in the Jamaican camp. It was really daunting and I think it was really up to me to set that momentum again especially after what happened to Usain Bolt and Elaine (Thompson) and I especially wanted to dedicate this win to Usain Bolt’s retirement,” said McLeod who also revealed that next season he will be experimenting with the 100m and 200m and possibly a couple 400m hurdles with no Olympics or World Championships on the calendar.
Jamaica is now lying fifth on the medal table with 1 gold and a bronze. The table is being led by the United States with 2 gold, 5 silver and 2 bronze for a total of 9 medals.
Meanwhile, there was no medal for Jamaica in the women’s triple jump final where Shanieka Rickets and Kimberly Williams cut the sand at 14.13 and 14.01 metres to finish 8th and 10th respectively. Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela won gold with 14.91 metres.
Elsewhere on the day, three of the four Jamaicans qualified for Wednesday’s final of the women’s 400 metres.
Stephenie McPherson produced a season’s best effort of 50.56 seconds to finish behind Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo and advanced as the fastest Jamaican qualifier.
Female team captain Novlene Williams-Mills 50.67 and national champion Shericka Jackson 50.70 seconds, qualified as the two fastest losers while Chris-Ann Gordon failed to advance.
Kemar Mowatt clocked 48.66 seconds to qualify as one of the two fastest losers into the men’s 400m hurdles final on Wednesday.
National champion Jaheel Hyde made a shock exit after posting a moderate 49.75 seconds for third in his semi-final while Ricardo Cunningham was 7th in his semi final in 50.54 seconds. In the women’s equivalent, all three Jamaicans made it to the final on Thursday.
Ristanana Tracey was second fastest overall in 54.92 seconds while national champion Ronda Whyte 55.18 and Leah Nugent 56.16, also secured their tickets.
In the men’s 200m, Yohan Blake 20.39 and Rasheed Dwyer 20.49 seconds, made it through to the semi-finals while 20.13 bronze medallist Warren Weir crashed out of contention after posting a moderate 20.60 seconds.