Solomon clocks personal best

Trinidad and Tobago’s Deon Lendore will clash with American LaShawn Merritt for the second time in as many days, at the 14th IAAF World Championships, here in Moscow, Russia, today.

At 12.13 p.m. (T&T time), Lendore and Merritt will run in the second of three men’s 400 metres semi-final heats. Lendore has been drawn in lane four, while Merritt will be on show in lane six. The race also includes Belgian Jonathan Borlee and Bahamian Chris Brown.

The top two finishers in each semi-final heat will advance automatically to tomorrow’s final.

In the third preliminary round heat, at the Luzhniki Stadium yesterday, Merritt topped the field in 44.92 seconds, leading all qualifiers into the semis.

Running blind way out in lane eight, Lendore trailed the leaders coming off the final turn. On the home straight, however, the Texas A&M University student battled his way into second spot, crossing the line in 45.17 seconds.

In the fifth and final heat, T&T’s Jarrin Solomon clocked a personal best 45.19 to secure the runner-up spot, behind reigning champion Kirani James, the Grenadian getting home in 45 seconds flat.

Solomon told the Express he was very satisfied with his effort.
“I came off the (final) bend in first. I said, well, it’s best we just keep these knees going. Kirani came at the end, but it was a good result for me.

“I know I’m in shape,” Solomon continued. “I know I was ready to go. The guys made me rest this past week, because I’m always one to be grinding. I listened to them and rested, just took it easy, so my legs felt fresher. We knew I was ready to go fast, ready to go even faster than this, so hopefully I’ll be able to pull something else out.”

At 12.21 p.m., James and Solomon will clash again, running side by side in the third semi-final, in lanes four and five, respectively. Dominican Republic’s Luguelin Santos, who finished second to James in the Olympic final last year, has been drawn in lane six.

After the opening round, James complimented Solomon on his fine run.

“The guys in my heat tried to put themselves in the position that would give them the best opportunity to advance to the semifinals. Solomon ran a great race. He really put the pressure on me in the home straight. He ran very smart, very tactical. It was a very competitive race for me, which is good for our event, and ultimately good for the sport.”

Wayne Davis II and Mikel Thomas will represent the Red, White and Black in the men’s 110m hurdles semis, today. At 11.05 a.m., Thomas will do battle in heat one. And at 11.14, Davis will be in action in heat two.

In the preliminaries, yesterday, Davis finished second in heat two in 13.38 seconds to secure an automatic berth in the semifinal round. He matched Ryan Wilson stride for stride, the American clocking 13.37 for a narrow victory.

“I’m really surprised at my time,” Davis told the Express. “It’s a season’s best. Can’t be anything but thankful to God. Honestly, it surprised me because I’ve been riddled with a bunch of injuries coming up to the Games, and I haven’t been able to run at full speed for probably about three weeks.”

Thomas finished fourth in the opening heat in 13.41 seconds, advancing to the semis as a “fastest loser”.

“It was a good run,” said Thomas. “Blanket finish, just threw my frame. We’re going to look back at this race, talk to my coach, and figure out what we need to do to live to see another race.”

The final takes place at 1.30 this afternoon (T&T time).

At 11.35 a.m., T&T sprinter Michelle-Lee Ahye will face the starter in the first of three women’s 100m semi-final heats. The championship race is scheduled for 1.50 p.m.

In the opening round, yesterday, Ahye finished fifth in heat four in 11.37 seconds, qualifying for the semis via the “fastest loser” route.

Just three centimetres separated Cleopatra Borel from a spot in today’s women’s shot put final. In the qualifying round, yesterday, the T&T field athlete threw the iron ball 17.84 metres—her best effort this season. The 12th and final qualifier for the final, Belarussian Alena Kopets, produced a 17.87m throw.

“I’m disappointed, yes, but I’m also happy because I’ve been injured this year. I hyper-extended my index finger,” Borel told the Express, fighting back tears.

“I went to China and I couldn’t even compete. I really thought my career would be over at that point, so I know where I am in terms of my recovery. I feel really blessed just to be here today and to be able to throw. I’m proud of the effort I put together this year.”

At 3.37 this morning (T&T time), Jehue Gordon will open his bid for precious metal in the men’s 400m hurdles. The T&T athlete—the second fastest man in the world this year at 48.00 seconds—has been drawn in lane five in the fifth and final first round heat.

And at 4.06 a.m., T&T’s Sparkle McKnight competes in heat three in the women’s 400m hurdles preliminaries.