Gibson into Pan Am final; Mullings in fifth

LIMA, Peru — Seasoned competitor Jeffery Gibson came through and secured a place in Thursday’s 400 meters (m) hurdles final with a third place finish in his heat, finishing in 50.09 seconds on Tuesday evening at the 18th Pan American Games. He ran out of lane four of that event at the Athletics Stadium Parque Kennedy in Lima, Peru, and will go into the final on Thursday looking to successfully defend his title. He qualified for the final with the seventh fastest time.

Gibson won the Pan Am Games title in Toronto, Canada, four years ago.

Running in the second of two heats, Gibson got a “relatively good” start and then fell off his initial pace and was in a major battle to stay in touch with American Amere Lattin and Jamaican Kemar Mowatt.

At the 300 meters mark, though, he appeared to become aware that he was in danger of missing the final and he surged forward. A late drive enabled him to clinch a third place finish and advance.

“Yes, I had to dig deep. I said, ‘I can’t let this Jamaican go too far ahead.’ My start was relatively good but I kind of dropped off the pace and had to struggle. It is true I waited a bit too late to pick up the pace. I kept fighting though and was just determined to qualify. I’ll be okay. Now it’s on to the final,” said the Grand Bahamian native.

Gibson was the bright light in track for The Bahamas on Tuesday. The other Bahamian in the men’s 400m hurdles, Andre Colebrooke, was seventh in his heat and finished 12th overall in 51.76 seconds. In the women’s 400m hurdles, Katrina Seymour was seventh in her heat and finished 14th overall in a disappointing 1:00.71.

Warren Fraser and Brianne Bethel got on the track in the men and women’s 100m semifinals for The Bahamas but neither advanced. Fraser was sixth in his heat and finished 20th overall in 10.62 seconds. Bethel was also sixth in her heat and finished 13th overall in 11.76 seconds.

Ken Mullings is only about 60 points off his national record pace in the men’s decathlon, and is still within striking distance of a medal. Going into the second and final day of that competition, he sits in fifth place with 3,935 points. Mullings had the sixth best time in the 100m (11.09 seconds), the sixth best mark in the long jump (7.07m – 23’ 2-1/2”), the 10th best mark in the shot put (12.86m – 42’ 2-1/4”), he was tied for the best height in the high jump (2.03m – 6’ 7-3/4”) and he had the ninth best time in the 400m (50.88 seconds).

Former Pan Am Games Champion Damian Warner, of Canada, is leading the competition with 4,499 points; his Canadian teammate Pierce Lepage is second with 4,418 points; and Lindon Victor, of Grenada, is third, with 4,252 points. Georni Jaramillo Casares, of Venezuela, sits in fourth place with 4,124 points. Mullings is fifth. He had 3,998 points after day one on his national record-setting day at the University of Miami (UM) Hurricane Alumni Invitational in April, and finds himself just 63 points off that pace in Lima.

The decathletes will compete in the final five events today.

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