Keshorn Walcott, Jereem Richards, Jerod Elcock and Michelle-Lee Ahye were the athletes over the weekend meeting the standards for the upcoming World Athletics Championships, in their respective events at the National Gas Company/National Association of Athletics Administration of T&T (NGC/NAAATT) National Open Championships.
They were among the local athletes who excited the crowd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, Port-of-Spain over the three-day meet which ended on Sunday with several of them also achieving the qualifying standards for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in England (July 28 - August 8) and the North American, Central American and Caribbean (NACAC) senior championships in Nassau, Bahamas (August 19-21).
Competing unattached, Walcott’s fifth-round throw of 85.17 metres in the men’s javelin throw, saw the national record-holder and two-time Olympic medallist go past the qualifying mark of 85.00m for the World Championships set to take place in Eugene, Oregon, USA, from July 15-24.
Richards of Abilene Wildcats had already gone under the qualifying time of 20.24 seconds in the men’s 200m for Oregon22 in the preliminary round on Friday and returned on Sunday to do it again in a gold-medal-winning performance of 19.83, to break the Championship record achieved by himself back in 2017.
It was in the semifinals of the men’s 100m that Elcock, also of Abilene Wildcats, clocked the qualifying time of 10.03 (10.05-standard) on Saturday. Later, he picked a bronze in the final with a time of 10.19 as the first three across the line achieved the standard (10.28) for NACAC in Abilene’s Eric Harrison (10.08) and Memphis Pioneers’ Kion Benjamin (10.18)
Both Harrison (10.15) and Benjamin (10.07) along with Akanni Hislop (Kaizen Panthers) with 10.16 also did it in the semifinals.
Ahye, running unattached, clocked 11.06 to get under the required time of 11.15 in the preliminaries on Saturday. The national record-holder crossed second in heat three behind Ivory Coast’s Murielle Ahoure-Demps (10.92), who later won the women’s B final with 10.95. Ahye opted out of the medal race for the local athletes.
Among the athletes meeting the standards for the Commonwealth Games were Kaizen Panthers duo Andwuelle Wright and Dwight St Hillaire and sprinters Kyle Greaux (Abilene Wildcats), Leah Bertrand (Simplex), Khalifa St Fort (Unattached) and Mauricia Prieto (Simplex).
Wright, the winner of the men’s long jump, went past the 7.76m-standard with his second-round leap which measured 8.08m. St Hillaire’s 45.46 went under the 44.90-qualifying time in the men’s 400m and Greaux, in the men’s 200m (20.61), with his 20.56-timing.
For Bertrand and St Fort, it was in the women’s 100m dash (11.44) with their respective times of 11.38 and 11.39 for the first and second places in the final. Bertrand matched the standard with her 11.44-clocking in placing third in heat three of the preliminary round. Prieto achieved it in that round also when winning heat two with 11.39. She placed fifth in the medal race with 11.50.
St Hillare, St Fort, Prieto, Harrison, Benjamin and Elcock were also among the athletes who acquired the standards for the NACAC Championships.
St Hillare bagged a bronze in the men’s 200m, crossing in third place behind Greaux and Richards with 20.68, narrowly going under the NACAC qualifying time of 20.69.
In the women’s 100m (11.54-standard) preliminary round on Saturday, it was St Fort (11.50), Prieto (11.50), who also met the 200m standard (23.47) with 23.31, Cougars’ Shaniqua Bascombe (11.46), Concorde Athletic’s Akilah Lewis (11.50) and Mercury’s Iantha Wright (11.50).
In the men’s version of the dash (10.28-standard), Harrison (10.08), Kaizen Panthers’ Akanni Hislop (10.16), Benjamin (10.18) and Elcock (10.19), who had matched the NACAC time in the preliminary round on Friday.