After being denied an opportunity to compete because of a back injury five years ago, Devynne Charlton is headed back to the Olympics as she qualified over the weekend in her specialty.
Charlton became the seventh Bahamian athlete in track and field to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games, and the second Bahamian female sprint hurdler to do so, posting a time of 12.84 seconds in the women’s 100 meters (m) hurdles at the 2021 Miramar Invitational at the Ansin Sports Complex in Miramar, Florida, on Saturday.
Charlton ran a wind-legal 12.84 seconds in the heats and came back in the final and finished sixth overall in 12.85 seconds. The other Bahamian female hurdler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, Pedrya Seymour, ran 12.88 seconds in the heats and finished seventh overall in the final in 13 seconds flat. Seymour qualified early in the qualifying period. The qualifying time for the 100m hurdles is 12.84 seconds.
American world record holder Kendra Harrison won that race on Saturday in 12.38 seconds, and sisters Cindy
Sember and Tiffany Porter, of Great Britain, were second and third in times of 12.55 and 12.57 seconds respectively.
“I felt pretty good about it,” said Charlton. “My prelims was better technically, but it’s just a matter of cleaning up a few mistakes. It’s been a long road in getting back to this point. There was a time when I didn’t know what to expect. It was just about just remembering who I am and what I put into myself to get to this point. I just have to focus on continuing to improve, staying healthy and working on mistakes.”
The Bahamas now has two female hurdlers qualified for the Olympics for the second consecutive time; but for the first time ever, there could be two Bahamians lining up in the heats of a single hurdles event at the Olympics. Seymour was sixth overall in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016, and as mentioned, Charlton was out with a back injury and forced to watch the proceedings from the stands.
“That one hurt – not being able to compete,” said Charlton. “This time, I’m looking forward to competing and representing The Bahamas well. It’s good to get qualifying out of the way. That’s a huge weight off my shoulders. I just have to focus on having a clean race when it matters the most and let the time take care of itself. To have both of us (Charlton and Seymour) qualified for the Olympics is definitely a good feeling. It’s a big deal for such a small county to have two athletes in the same event qualify for the olympics. Hopefully, both of us can stay healthy.”
Charlton and Seymour have both performed well this year, and both appear to be peaking at the right time – with the Olympic just three and a half months away. Charlton opened up in 13.31 before turning in a couple races in the 13.1 range. Now, she appears comfortably under the 13-second barrier. Seymour appears to be gradually getting back to the form she showed at the 2016 Olympics.
Charlton and Seymour were both under 13 seconds for the first time this year on Saturday, and now are at number five and seven in the world respectively.
Also competing at the Miramar Invitational, Holland Martin had a massive 8.15m (26’ 9”) leap in the men’s long jump, but it was wind-aided. He finished second overall behind Jamaican World Champion Tajay Gayle who won with a world-leading leap of 8.27m (27’ 1-3/4”). Martin’s best legal leap was 7.78m (25’ 6-1/4”). Finishing third was American Damacus Simpson with a best leap of 8.05m (26’ 5”).
Back in action, in the men’s high jump, was former World Champion Donald Thomas.
Thomas had a best clearance of 2.23m (7’ 3-3/4”) to finish second. American Shelby McEwen won with a jump of 2.26m (7’ 5”), Thomas settled for second, and David Smith, of Puerto Rico, finished third with a jump of 2.20m (7’ 2-1/2”).
Meanwhile, competing at the Texas Tech Masked Rider Open at the Terry & Linda Fuller Track and Field Complex in Lubbock, Texas, Bahamian national record holder in the women’s triple jump Tamara Myers has a season’s best leap of 13.92m (45’ 8-1/4”) to finish second in that event.
Ruth Usoro, a junior at Texas Tech of Nigeria, won that event with a massive leap of 14.50m (47’ 7”), Myers was second, and Onoara Obamuwagun, a freshman at South Plains College and also of Nigeria, was third with a leap of 13.26m (43’ 6”).
Over at the Gamecock Invitational at the Sheila & Morris Cregger Track on the campus of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, Bahamian Ian Kerr ran a personal best time in the men’s 200m. He clocked 20.70 seconds to win that event. Finishing second was American Devin Brewington, a freshman for the South Carolina State University Bulldogs, in 21.02 seconds, and coming in third overall was American Javaris Michael, a sophomore for Limestone University, in 21.15 seconds.
Kerr also ran the 100m and was second overall in that event in a wind-aided 10.39 seconds. American Evan Miller, a sophomore for the South Carolina Gamecocks, was first overall in 10.34 seconds, and American Waddell Rembert-Jett, a junior for South Carolina St., was third overall in 10.49 seconds.