Talented Jamaican young sprinter Tina Clayton and her compatriot Serena Cole have safely progressed out of the preliminary round of the women’s 100m on day two of the World Athletics Under-20 Championships in Cali, Colombia on Tuesday.
Clayton, who won the title in Nairobi last year, won the opening heat in 11.38 seconds while Cole proved too much for the field in heat two with an easy-looking in 11.39 seconds.
Clayton’s 11.38 represents the sixth fastest in heats and Cole’s 11.39, is the seventh fastest.
Nigeria’s Tima Seikeseye Godbless, who reached the semifinals in Nairobi, is easily the quickest in the heats with a national U20 record of 11.09.
Clayton is the big gold medal favourite and given her performances this season, the 17-year-old looks in form to gain another gold. Clayton dipped below 11 seconds for the first time last month, breaking the Jamaican U20 record with her world U20-leading time of 10.96 – a mark that puts her fifth on the world U20 all-time list.
She also formed part of Jamaica’s world U20 record-breaking 4x100m quartet in Nairobi last year, alongside Cole, Kerrica Hill, and her twin sister Tia Clayton.
Jamaicans Dejanea Oakley and Rickianna Russell have progressed out of the preliminary round of the women’s 400m.
Oakley, who is expected to challenge USA’s Mekenze Kelley for the gold medal, won her preliminary round heat in 53.70 while Russell progressed on time to the semifinals after clocking 54.63 for fifth in heat five.
Oakley — who ran in the mixed 4x400m heats in Nairobi last year – has registered a 51.81 personal best this season, while her fellow 18-year-old Kelley has improved from 53.65 to 51.98 this summer, and a fierce battle is predicted for the closely-matched pair.
Kelly finished third in her preliminary round heat to safely progress to the semifinals. The American clocked 53.59 to finish behind Great Britain’s Yemi Mary John (52.42, a personal best) and Australia’s Ellie Beer (53.30, a season’s best).
In the men’s 400m, the Jamaican pair of Delano Kennedy and Shaemar Uter are safely through to the semifinals.
Kennedy dropped a new personal best time of 46.24 seconds to secure his spot. The 46.24 seconds was only good enough for third place in his heat behind South Africa’s Lythe Pillay (46.02) and Bahrain’s Yusuf Ali Abbas (46.21).
Uter, the Jamaican U20 champion, secured his semifinal spot with a second-place finish in heat three. He clocked 46.66.
Kennedy’s 46.22 represents the third quickest in the heats behind Pillay (46.02) and Abbas (46.21).
Gold medal favourite Steven McElroy of the USA, who has progressed from 47.86 to 44.93 this year, has the fourth quickest time in the heats. The 19-year-old US U20 champion won heat four in 46.38 seconds. His compatriot Ashton Schwartzman, 19, has enjoyed a similar eye-catching improvement in 2022 – is the 11th quickest in the heats with 46.76.
In the women’s 400m hurdles, Jamaican Oneika McAnnuff has progressed out of the preliminary round while her compatriot Sahfia Hinds is out.
McAnnuff booked her spot in the semifinals following a third-place finish in heat five. She crossed the line in 59.45 seconds, the 16th quickest qualifying time.
Hinds could only manage sixth in her heat. She completed the trip in 1:00.97 to finish 32nd overall out of the 42 athletes who competed over the six heats.