LIMA, Peru — “I really thought I would get a medal. I wanted a medal more than qualifying for the Worlds.”
So said 400 meters (m) hurdler Jeffery Gibson on Thursday at the 18th Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. At the end of the day, he came up short in both – missing out on a medal by one spot, and failing to reach the qualifying standard for the 17th International Association of Athletics Federations’ (IAAF) World Championships in Doha, Qatar, by a little over two tenths of a second.
Running out of lane nine, national record holder Gibson finished fourth in his specialty, the men’s 400m hurdles, in a season’s best time of 49.53 seconds at the Athletics Stadium Parque Kennedy in Lima, on Thursday. Alison Brendom Alves dos Santos, of Brazil, won the gold medal in a personal best time of 48.45 seconds, American Amere Lattin was second in 48.98 seconds, and Kemar Mowatt, of Jamaica, won the bronze medal, in 49.09 seconds.
Juander Santos, of the Dominican Republic, led for much of the race, but tripped over the 10th and final hurdle and came crashing down to the ground. He eventually collected himself and walked across the finish line in 2:09.37. As for the defending champion Gibson, he admitted that did not go out fast enough.
“From lane nine you have to go. They caught up to me too quickly, and I didn’t have enough on the stretch,” said Gibson. “I still have a few more events to try and qualify for the Worlds.”
The 17th IAAF World Championships is set for September 27 to October 6 at the renovated multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium, in Doha, Qatar.
At the Pan Ams, Gibson is also listed for the men’s 4x400m relay, and could represent The Bahamas in that event. The semifinals are set for today and the final will be held tomorrow.
The other Bahamian in a track final on Thursday, Pedrya Seymour, was disappointed in her execution and her subsequent finish in the women’s 100m hurdles. The national record holder and Rio de Janeiro Olympics finalist said she knew she stood a good chance, but unfortunately, the medal opportunity was not to be embraced this time around.
Seymour ran 13.12 seconds for fifth place overall.
“It just did not happen. I mean it was a fast gun but I just didn’t do it,” she said. “I just have to look to the Worlds in September. I just have to move on to the next step.”
Particularly frustrating for Seymour was the time she ran in the final. She came into the race with a season’s best of 12.78 seconds, and ran 12.94 seconds in her semifinal heat.
Carolina Vargos, of Costa Rica, won on Thursday in 12.82 seconds. American Chanel Brissett clocked 12.84 seconds for second, and Megan Simmonds, of Jamaica won the bronze medal in 13.01 seconds. American Sharika Nelvis was the heavy favorite, but tripped over the 10th hurdle and couldn’t recover. After leading for much of the race, she faded to seventh in 13.23 seconds.
“I’ll peak a bit more by the time we go to the Worlds,” said Seymour.
A couple of athletes will represent The Bahamas in the women’s 200m final today. Anthonique Strachan and Tynia Gaither cruised through their respective semifinal heats on Thursday.
In the second of three semifinal heats, Strachan cruised into the finish line in 23.41 seconds, finishing second behind Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel who clocked 23.06 seconds.
The awareness of being close to where she has struggled to get to for several years, almost brought the former double sprint world junior champion to tears.
“I don’t want to cry, but yes, it’s been a long time. It’s good to get to this point. I had injuries constantly for years. It was disappointing and frustrating,” she said. “I changed coaches and I’m now with Coach Steve Francis (of Jamaica). You know how good it is to be training with Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann (Fraser-Pryce)? That’s good for me,” she said in the mixed zone on Thursday.
About the race, she said it was comfortable.
“I was fine. I got out, maintained, came into the home stretch in good position so I eased down a bit. It wasn’t any need going all out from there. I saved it for the relay (sprint) and the 200m final,” she said.
Gaither was second to Vitória Cristina Silva Rosa, of Brazil, in her semifinal heat. Rosa crossed the finish line in a personal best time of 22.72 seconds. Gaither was second in 23.06 seconds to grab the second automatic qualifying spot for the final. Just like her compatriot, Gaither was in good form. She got out very well, darted around the curve and came on to the straightaway in great position. She also eased up well before the finish line.
“Two of us are in the final… that’s great,” she said. “My race was good. I had no problems. I feel like I’m where I wanted to be two years ago. I’m looking forward to the final.”
In the men’s 200m semifinals on Thursday, Cliff Resias was sixth in his heat in a pedestrian 21.74 seconds and failed to qualify for the final. He finished 14th overall.
Over at the VIDENA Aquatics Centre, a number of swimmers were in action for Team Bahamas.
Laura Morley’s performance in the women’s 200m breast highlighted the morning session for The Bahamas. She became the first Bahamian swimmer in Lima to make an ‘A’ final, finishing third in her morning heat in a national record time of 2:30.21. Morley qualified for last night’s final with the seventh fastest time. The result of her race was unavailable up to press time.
The other Bahamian in the women’s 200m breast, Margaret Albury Higgs, was fourth in her heat, and finished 11th overall in 2:33.67. She was scheduled to swim in the ‘B’ final last night.
The other Higgs for Team Bahamas, Margaret’s sister Lilly Higgs, was seventh in her heat of the women’s 100m free and finished tied for 20th overall in 59.32 seconds. In the men’s version of that race, Jared Fitzgerald was sixth in his heat and finished 15th overall in 51.16 seconds. He was scheduled to swim in the ‘B’ final last night.
In the men’s 100m back, Davante Carey finished seventh in his morning heat and was 20th overall in 59.45 seconds. In the men’s 200m breast, Tyler Russell was seventh in his morning heat and finished 22nd overall in 2:29.37.
Wrapping up the action on Wednesday for The Bahamas, the mixed 4x100m free relay team of Fitzgerald, Gershwin Greene, Ariel Weech and Lilly Higgs, in that order, finished seventh in the final in 3:42.59. The United States came from behind on the anchor leg to win the gold in 3:24.84; Brazil was second in 3:25.97, and Mexico won the bronze medal in 3:31.36.
N’Nhyn Fernander swam in the ‘B’ final of the men’s 100m fly and finished sixth in 55.71 seconds.
Action continues today on the track, in the pool and for the first time on the judo mat for Team Bahamas as Cynthia Rahming will be in action in the women’s 57 kilogram class when she takes on Kiara Arango, of Peru, in the round of 16.