News day / MICHELLE-LEE Ahye, in her first race on home soil since capturing the Commonwealth Games 100-metre title at the Gold Coast, Australia in April, retained her national crown as the 2018 NGC/Sagicor General-sponsored NAAA Open Championships last evening.
In rainy conditions at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, Ahye, running in lane four, cruised to victory in 11.14 seconds.
Former CARIFTA champ Khalifa St Fort, who faced the starter in lane six, accelerated in the latter stages of the race to finish second in 11.23 seconds, while Zakiyah Denoon, who had the fastest time in the preliminary round (11.21), was third in 11.31.
Completing the field were veteran Semoy Hackett (11.37), Reyare Thomas (11.41), Jenea Spinks (11.46), Kayelle Clarke (11.55) and Kamaria Durant (11.90).
Ahye declined a post-race interview but the easy-going St Fort was pleased with her efforts.
“I think it was a great race,” said St Fort. “11.23 is great, the season’s best for me. I’m very happy with it and I’m looking at 10.9 at the NACAC (North American, Central American and Caribbean) Championships (in Toronto, Canada in August).”
The 20-year-old St Fort was not bothered by the evening’s showers. “(I) train like this, in the rain, in Florida. You cannot control the environment.”
In the absence of 2017 100m winner Emmanuel Callender, the pair of Keston Bledman and Kyle Greaux overtook early leader Jalen Purcell to finish one-two, in 10.20 and 10.21 respectively.
Purcell was third in 10.30, with Jonathan Farinha (10.38), twin brother Nathan Farinha (10.40), Moriba Morain (10.41), Timothy Frederick (10.45) and Carlon Hosten (10.47) trailing.
Bledman, who pulled up after crossing the finish line with a slight hamstring strain on his right leg, was unhappy with his race, as well as the starting blocks which were used at this Championships.
He said, “I’m disappointed. The rain (fell and the organisers) rushed us outside. Nobody got to warm-up. It appears every year is the same thing.
“I’m a powerful guy,” he continued. “When I (go) on those blocks they just move. They are old blocks. I (am not) downplaying Trinidad or anything but if you want to get good times and good performances, give us new blocks.”
About his injury, Bledman noted, “At the middle of the race, I felt my leg cramping, but I still tried to run because I want my title and I want to give the crowd a good race.”
A heavy downpour at 6.30 pm caused a 40-metre delay to proceedings, but it did not seem to bother Deon Lendore, in the men’s 400m final.
Deon Lendore (right) strides to the finish line to win the men’s 400m final yesterday, with Renny Quow (left) finishing second.
The 25-year-old Olympic medallist (bronze in the men’s 4x400m relay at the 2012 London Games) did not extend himself on the heavy track but he whipped the field to prevail in 45.31.
The experienced Renny Quow was a distant second in 46.14, and Darren Alfred took bronze in 46.95. Another Olympian who had a good outing yesterday was 2012 London Games gold medallist and 2016 Rio Games bronze medallist Keshorn Walcott.
The 25-year-old javelin ace broke his own Games record en-route to gold with a best effort of 84.96 metres, lowering his 2015 throw of 84.84m.
The Grenadian pair of Anderson Peters (79.97m) and Markim Felix (78.07m) were second and third respectively.
Andwuelle Wright set a new national record, in the men’s long jump, when he produced a final leap of 8.23 metres, smashing the previous standard of 8.00 metres set by Wendell Williams in 1998.
Kyron Blaise was next with an effort of 7.43m, followed by Jaydon Antoine with 6.85m.