MICHELLE-LEE Ahye made a steady start to her quest for a fourth straight national women’s 100-metre title, cruising into this evening’s final as the fastest qualifier from the preliminary round, clocking 11.22 seconds, yesterday, the opening day of the National Open Championships at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.

The Rebirth athlete ran in the fourth and last heat and finished just 0.08 seconds short of the mark which won her last year’s 100m title.

Mauricia Prieto (11.34 seconds) of Point Fortin New Jets, Zenith’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste (11.50) and unattached runner Semoy Hackett (11.57), also won their respective heats and finished with the best four times among the 16 finalists.

The two-part women’s 100m final will run this evening, immediately before the men’s 100m final, which brings a close to the day’s events.

Unlike the women’s 100m, the qualifiers from the men’s preliminary round will compete in a semifinal round earlier today.

National record holder Machel Cedenio, meanwhile, topped a star-studded line-up in the men's 400m preliminary round, clocking the quickest time - 46.31 seconds - to qualify fastest among the finalists. Dwight St Hillare (46.63) and his Kaizen Panthers teammate Darren Alfred (46.80) respectively took the second and third fastest qualifying spots, followed by Zenith’s Renny Quow (48.29).

The other four qualifiers for the finals are St Vincent’s Kimorie Shearman (48.46), Abilene Wildcats’ teammates Asa Guevara (46.97) and Ohdel James (47.28), and Alpha Athletics' Tacuma Sterling (47.55). Cedenio will attempt to replace last year’s champion, Deon Lendore, who is absent from the 2019 Championships.

In the men’s 10,000m, Alex Ekesa took the win and finished just two minutes shy of the championship record, in 32 minutes, 48.02 seconds. Nigel Simon placed second in 38:45.72.

The men’s 200m and 800m preliminaries ran last night after press time.

Thecompetition resumes this afternoon at four o'clock with the men’s shot put. National record holder and defending champion Akeem Stewart and last year’s silver medallist Hezekiel Romeo are both in the line-up.

Reuben Walters will attempt the hat-trick of national titles and a World Championship standard in the men’s 110m hurdles. He is up against the likes of last year’s bronze medallist Aaron Lewis and Barbados’s Greemar Swift.

Keshorn Walcott, who has already qualified for the World Championship, will go for his fifth national javelin crown, with the 26-year-old facing a field of seven other competitors, all of whom are younger than him, including last year’s fourth-place finisher Tyriq Horsford.

The men’s long jump, men and women’s 1,500m run, men’s 400m hurdles, women's 5,000m run, triple jump and discus throw, will all take place today.

The competition will close tomorrow evening with the men’s 4x400m and the men and women’s 4x100m relay events.

The men and women’s 200m and 800m finals, along with several other field events will all take place before.