Sports

Strachan makes the javelin final

World U20 Championships gets underway in Nairobi

Young Bahamian thrower Keyshawn Strachan has been setting records and achieving milestones all season long, and yesterday, he put another feather in his cap, reaching his first-ever global final.

The Bahamian junior and senior national record in the javelin for males, still just 17 years old, had a toss of 68.85 meters (m) – 225’ 10” – yesterday to qualify for the boys javelin final at the World Athletics (WA) World Under-20 (U20) Championships in Nairobi, Kenya.

On his first throw, Strachan had a toss of 68.11m (223’ 5”) and then turned in the 68.85m effort on his second attempt. He scratched on his third attempt but the first two throws were more than enough to get him into Friday’s final.

The top qualifying throw for the final was a massive heave of 78.02m (255’ 11”) by Chinecherem Nnamdi, of Nigeria – a junior national record for him. The top three qualifiers for the final all had throws over 75m (246’ 1”). Strachan’s personal best throw is 72.13m (236’ 8”), which he did for the silver medal in the under-23 boys category at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association (NACAC) Under-18 (U18), Under-20 (U20) and Under-23 (U23) Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica, in July.

“He was anxious to hit a big one today and forgot a few steps. That will be ironed out by Friday,” said coach Corrington Maycock from Nairobi yesterday. “He’s not someone to shy away from competition, so I expect him to get a big one as we attempt six throws on Friday. These kids here are all future Olympians and they will not roll over and allow you to take anything from them, so it’s a brand new day where anything can happen.”

The final qualifying throw for the final was 67.15m (220’ 3”), turned in by Onni Ruokangas, of Finland. Strachan was fifth in his group and qualified eighth overall. The top 12 moved on to Friday’s final. Strachan said he’s optimistic he could have a big throw in the final on Friday.

“I was a bit nervous out there – first big meet on this level, and I stumbled a bit,” said Strachan. “I got too comfortable, and I’m going to have to do much better on Friday. I’m going to put my best foot forward. The technique wasn’t as good as it could have been today, but I feel good and I’m 

optimistic that I’ll bounce back on Friday. It went pretty much how I expected today. Some guys had some big throws and some guys struggled. I have time to fix what I need to fix. I’m working toward getting a PR (personal best throw) in the final. Once I could do that, anything is possible.”

Also in action on the opening day of the five-day championships on Wednesday were Wendell Miller and Carlos Brown Jr. in the boys 100m and Camille Rutherford and Lacarthea Cooper in the girls 100m. All except Cooper advanced to the semifinals.

Miller had an opening run of 10.51 seconds, which was a personal best run for him, and then he came back in the semis and improved on that personal best, running 10.45 seconds. He qualified for the semis 11th out of the opening round, but failed to make the final. Running out of lane six in the second of three semifinal heats, Miller crossed the finish line in sixth place in a personal best time of 10.45 seconds but it wasn’t good enough to get into the final. Just the top two in each heat and the next two fastest times moved on to the final. Miller finished 11th overall.

Brown was one spot behind Miller, running a personal best of 10.47 seconds in his semifinal heat. Brown was fourth in his heat and finished 12th overall. He qualified out of the first round in 10.53 seconds, which was a personal best time for him at that time.

In the girls 100m, Rutherford qualified out of the first round in 11.59 seconds and then went on to run 11.72 seconds in the semis. Her personal best time is 11.32 seconds, done twice this year – the latest for a fifth place finish for the Houston Cougars at the American Athletic Conference Championships in Tampa, Florida, in May.

Rutherford finished 12th overall. The top qualifying time for the final was 11.34 seconds, turned in by Tina Clayton of Jamaica. The final non-automatic qualifying time was 11.60 seconds, done by Jamaican Kerrica Hill.

As for Cooper, she was seventh in her first-round heat and finished 33rd overall in 12.30 seconds.

Action continues for The Bahamas today with Rhema Otabor in the girls javelin final. There were no qualifying rounds for that event as only 14 girls registered to compete.

Otabor is the fourth thrower in the field and comes in with the seventh-best qualifying distance. She has a personal best heave of 55.06m (180’ 7”), which was done at the gold medal in the under-20 girls division at the NACAC Under-18, Under-20 and Under-23 Championships in July.

The girls javelin final will be held at 7:40 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) in The Bahamas.

On Friday, Strachan will be in action in the boys javelin final, Antoine Andrews will run in the heats of the boys 110m hurdles, Alexis Tilford-Rutherford will compete in the qualifying rounds of the girls long jump, and the heats and semifinals of the boys and girls 200m will be held.

The World Athletics Under-20 Championships wraps up at the Kasarani Stadium inside the Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi on Sunday. Almost 1,000 athletes from over 100 countries are taking part in the five-day meet. 

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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