Olympians give Team USATF five wins in Continental Gold Tour opener

DEVONSHIRE, Bermuda – Making the most of the windy conditions, Team USATF athletes came away with five victories at the USATF Games in Bermuda, the first leg of the 2022 USATF gold journey as well as the World Athletics Continental Tour – Gold. Sprinters and hurdlers battled headwinds of up to 15 miles per hour with brief rain showers, but were buoyed by the capacity of the Bermuda crowd at Flora Duffy Stadium.

The winners of the women’s 100m heats went head-to-head in the final and it was Olympic seventh place Teahna Daniels who emerged victorious with an 11.45 in a 5.2 mps headwind, 0.04 ahead of the Olympic 200m bronze medalist Gaby Thomas. Olympian Javianne Olivier made it a sweep of Team USATF with their third-place effort. Daniels won the first run earlier in 11.32, while Thomas raced to an 11.29 win in the second run.

A very tight field in the women’s 800m covered the first 400m in 61.61 with the world indoor champion Ajee Wilson before. Wilson held onto her position on the final circuit and she showed the same finishing speed that earned her a dominating victory in Belgrade to stop the clock at 2:03.09, more than a second ahead of Jamaica’s Chrisann Gordon-Powell. Charlene Lipsey was third in 2:04.50.

Quanesha Burks had a solid streak in the women’s long jump and her 6.77 m/22-2.5 wk. in the third round earned him victory. An Olympian in Tokyo and fifth at the recent World Indoor Championships, Burks trailed Jamaican Chanice Porter heading into the third round after Porter opened with a 6.70m/21-11.75w.

Olympian last summer and member of the USATF team at the World Indoor Championships in Athletics last month, Rachel McCoy cleared 1.84m/6-0.5 in her first attempt to win the women’s high jump. Amina Smith and Inika McPherson also cleared that height, but finished second and third, respectively, based on misfires at earlier heights.

Two-time Olympian Chris Benard rode a 5.0 mps breeze at 16.57m/54-4.5w in round four to win the men’s triple jump. Jamaican Jordan Scott took the lead with a 16.37m/53-8.5wk in the first round, and Benard grabbed first place on his third attempt with a 16.38m/53-9 week 2019 World Championships silver medalist Shanieka Ricketts of Jamaica took the lead from Britain’s Naomi Metzger in round three with a 14.15m/46-5.25 effort that held off the triple victory female jump. Metzger finished second at 14.00m/45-11.25, with michelle fokam the best American in third place.

An overall finish in the men’s 100m saw Canadian Jerome Blake claim victory by 0.01 in 10.38 as the Americans Noah Lyles and Erryon Knighton were sent off second at 10.39 (10.385). Brandon Carne got off to a blistering start and led the first half of the race before giving in to Blake, the biggest man in the field, Lyles and Knighton. In the heats, Knighton overcame a wind of -5.9mps to win the first section in 10.61, with Lyles winning the second heat in 10.42 (wind -4.5).

Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico overcame a strong start in Christina Clemons to get away with the women’s 100m hurdles in a world record 12.67 (wind -2.5 mps) despite a strong headwind. Chanel Brisset, the 2019 Pan American Games silver medalist, took second in 13.06, with Clemons third in 13.15. Struggling with a very strong headwind of 3.8 mps, Shane Brathwaite of Barbados beat Michael Dickson in the men’s 110m hurdles, with a time of 13.78 against 13.85 for Dickson.

Kenya’s Kamar Etiang established a sizable lead in the men’s 1,500m after trailing pacemaker Erik Sowinski for the first two laps but had to hold off a mad dash to the finish line by Germany’s Amos Bartlesmeyer to win by 0.09 in 3:45.26. Etiang had a margin of nearly three seconds with one lap to go and coming out of the final corner into the wind, that gap quickly closed. Local favorite Dage Minors finished third, with Kasey Knevelbaard the best American in fourth at 3:46.86.

Shiann Salmon’s late charge led to a Jamaican sweep in the women’s 400m hurdles, crossing the line in 55.35 ahead of Rushell Clayton and Janieve Russell. Salmon came out of the last corner with a deficit of several meters and passed Clayton after the final barrier for the victory. Ashley Spencer was the top American finisher in sixth at 57.87.

Coming out of the corner in the teeth of a -5.0mps wind with the lead in the women’s 200m, Jamaica’s Briana Williams saw that lead erased by Anthonique Strachan of the Bahamas, who took the win in 23.24. Dezerea Bryant was second in 23.72 as Williams fell back to third. Andrew Hudson and Kyree King were in the lead halfway through the men’s 200m, but Olympic 400m champion Steven Gardiner of the Bahamas had the best result and won in 20.79 ahead of world indoor 400m champion Jereem Richards. King was the highest ranked American in fourth place.

Gold medalist in the 4x400m relay at the Pan American Games Jaide Stepter-Baynes had the lead in the home stretch of the women’s 400m before Olympic 100m bronze medalist Shericka Jackson of Jamaica passed her as they approached the line and won in 51.40. Candice McLeod of Jamaica was second in 51.57 and Stepter-Baynes third in 51.93.

One of the best men in the 400m of this century, Kirani James of Grenada used his vast experience to win in 45.63. James, the 2012 Olympic champion and medalist at two other Games, measured his pace throughout the first half of the race then moved steadily through the field and took the lead down the home stretch. Kahmari Montgomery in fourth was America’s top finisher.

The USATF Journey to Gold season returns next weekend at the USATF Golden Games at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA. Fans can tune in on CNBC from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET.

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About Walter J. Leslie

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