On a night where two-time Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce made her return to international competition after a two-year layoff, it was another Jamaican who brought fans to their feet at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex Saturday (2 June).
As the Cayman Invitational made it’s return to the sports calendar for the sixth time, Jamaican schoolboy Christopher Taylor claimed the night’s most eventful performance in the men’s 400-metres.
Taylor, 18, outlasted the likes of Jamaican national record holder Rusheen McDonald (6th 47.86), Nigerian Chidi Okezie (2nd 45.65) and Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Javon Francis (3rd 46.06) to place first with a personal best of 45.24 seconds. The Calabar High School quarter-mile standout said he felt good about his first performance in the event since February.
“It’s a lot of motivation for me. I have a big meet in July so it’s motivating for later in the season.”
In the women’s finale, Fraser-Pryce set a season’s best to place second in the women’s 100-metre dash with a time of 11.33 seconds. The ‘Pocket Rocket’ said she is still rounding into form in what was essentially her first competitive race since the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
“I don’t think I executed well. I was really tentative at the start, it was my second 100-metres, and my first competitive 100. I was really pleased with the effort. I am exciting about the transition of where I am now, and where I want to be at the end of the season.”
American Jenna Prandini topped the field with a time of 11.16 seconds.
“I think the first half of my race I could have got out a little faster, but I finished well so I’m happy with the overall result.”
In the men’s 100-metre dash, headliner Asafa Powell withdrew just moments before the gates had opened. The former world record holder said he was a few weeks away from competitive action.
“I was injured, but I am better now. I didn’t do much training, so I am not race sharp. I need two or three more weeks of training to be ready to compete.”
With Powell out, American Jeff Demps cruised to the top of the podium with a time of 10.10 seconds. Jamaica’s Tyquendo Tracey placed second (10.23) while St. Kitts and Nevis sprinter Jason Rodgers placed third (10.28). Jamaican Olympian Nesta Carter placed 7th (10.36). The 28-year-old former NFL hopeful said he was happy with his performance and enjoyed the meet overall.
“Execution felt good, felt a little sluggish but overall it was a good day. It’s a first class environment” said Demps.
Olympic gold medalist LaShawn Merritt continued to work into season form, finishing second in the men’s 200-metres with a time of 20.54 seconds. Trinidad and Tobago’s Kyle Greaux finished first, posting a time of 20.45 seconds. After the race, Merritt said the event helped him gauge his health after recovering from a nagging heel injury.
“Not pleased, but I finished up healthy. I’ve had some difficulties this year with the body, so I wanted to come here and put a race together. I did a little bit, didn’t do enough to win. Definitely didn’t run as fast as I wanted to, but you go back to the drawing board and get back to 100% or close to 100% as possible.”
Here is a look at remaining events from the 2018 Cayman Invitational:
Women’s 400m hurdles
1st Leah Nugent (JAM) 54.76
2nd Ristananna Tracey (JAM) 55.38
3rd Yaniq Haye-Smith (JAM) 55.74
Nugent: “It wasn’t perfect, there are things I can improve. I’ve been working on hurdles nine and ten, and I think it came together today.”
Tracey: “I am pleased because I was injured the early part of the season, and it lost a lot of background work, but I think I am running into shape now.”
1ST Travia Jones (CAN) 52.33
2ND Aiyanna-Bright Striverne (CAN) 52.46
3RD Sonikqua Walker (JAM) 53.47
Jones: “I didn’t really execute the race that I wanted to but it was a good run to get ready for Trials. I think I could have got out a little harder to set myself out a little better. I think I finished well but working on the beginning of the race will help me a lot.”
Men’s 110m hurdles
1ST Zaza Wellington (JAM) 13.74
2ND Johnathan Cabral (CAN) 13.76
3RD Dejour Russell (JAM) 13.89
5th Rasheem Brown (CAY) 14.46
Wellington: “It was pretty decent win for me. I’ve been battling a new training group. I’d only been training for a month and a few weeks, so this was a good meet for me to come to.”
Brown: “I’m very excited I got a chance to run in front of my home country. Through the race, the plan was to execute properly, stay with the pack. I got a fairly good start but halfway through the race, I stumbled on some hurdles and it cost me.”
1ST Alena Brooks (TRI) 2:04.98
2ND Meghan Manley (USA) 2:05.37
3RD Sade Sealy (BAR) 2:08.58
4th Tiffany Cole (CAY) 2:18.76
Cole: “I wasn’t nervous too much, because I knew my competition was and what I was up against, and just do my best and run at my pace. Unfortunately it wasn’t the pace that I expected. I was hoping to go ten seconds quicker, my PB is 2:10. Over the past two weeks, I’ve had an injury to the achilles and getting over the flu.”
1ST Kimberly Duncan (USA) 23.03
2ND Semoy Hackett (TRI) 23.21
3RD Kai Selvon (TRI) 23.41
Duncan: “I am not happy with the time, but I was able to work on the beginning of the race. I can come from this race taking away something positive.”
1st Harun Abda (USA) 1:48.88
2nd Jo-Wayne Hibbert (JAM):53.23
3rd Mascoll, Anthonio Mascoll (BAR) 1:53.63
Men’s Long Jump
1st Tajay Gayle (JAM) 7.92m
2nd Andwelle Wright (TRI) 7.75m
3rd Carl Morgan (CAY) 6.80m