Hail champion Thompson...as Ahye burns women’s field

CHAMPION: Richard Thompson, second from left, races to the line to win the men's 100 metres final in 9.97 seconds ahead of Emmanuel Callender, left, Rondell Sorrillo, third from left, and Keston Bledman at the NAAA National Open Championships at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, in Mucurapo, yesterday. See story on Page A46. Photo: Anthony Harris

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The dash lived up to expectations as the Rebirth athlete clocked 9.97 seconds to send the large crowd at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Mucurapo, into a frenzy as he edged out La Brea's Rondell Sorillo (9.99) to the line by a mere .02 hundredths of a seconds in a positive wind of 1.7.

Most importantly though the duo surpassed the Olympic qualifying standard of 10.16 along with third place finisher Keston Bledman. The Simplex runner crossed in 10.10.

Trailing back in fourth was Memphis Pioneers' Emmanuel Callender in 10.19 followed by Marcus Duncan (Rebirth ) in 10.25; Kyle Greaux (Abilene) in 10.27 and seventh was Shermund Allsop (Concorde) in 10.31. Thompson clearly enjoyed every moment of victory and danced to Dwayne Bravo's song "Champion" with his son Rhys.

Earlier though it was Michelle-Lee Ahye initiating the excitement, racing to gold in the women's version of the dash. The Rebirth sprinter finished in a time of 11.00 to lead a final that had all five finishers making the Olympic standard. Winning silver was Zenith's Semoy Hackett (11.07) and Kelly-Ann Baptiste of Zenith bagged bronze in 11.07. The other two were fourth placed American Octavious Freeman in 11.14 and Khalifa St Fort (unattached) in 11.16.

It was perfect weather for track and field and the occasion was even more appropriate to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Hasely Crawford, winning T&T's first Olympic gold medal in Winnipeg, Canada in 1976.

All present including Prime Minister Keith Rowley, Minister of Sport Darryl Smith and NAAA president Ephraim Serrette, a former T&T athlete himself, appreciated the pause in proceedings.

Crawford received a standing ovation and was presented a plaque for his accomplishments which put T&T on the map through athletics, following a short address by the Prime Minister.

Mikel Thomas of Rebirth defended his men's 110m hurdles title, clocking a time of 13.67 in a negative 1.0 wind, to beat Ruebin Walters of Memphis Pioneers to the line in 13.70. Third was Aarmis Massenburg (Dare 2 Dream) in 13.88. Air Bon Sonics' Deborah John placed third in women's 100m hurdles in 13.36 behind winner Mulern Jean (Dare to Dream) in 13.06 and Panama's Lutisha Bowen (13.33).

Alena Brooks (Memphis) commanded the women's 800 metres from the start and sped across the line in 2:10.32, beating Guyanese Andrea Foster (2:16.64) into second and Jennifer Estime (Dare 2 Dream) in 2:16.71 into third. The men's race was far more competitive but it was Nicholas Landeau of Bankers (1:49.55) edging out Abilene's Jamaal James (1:59.16) for gold. Third was Moise Joseph (Dare 2 Dream) in 1:51.74.

Antoneil Prince of Speed Factory comfortably won the men's 1,500m in 4:08.73 ahead of Jules La Rode (T&T Masters) in 4:21.99 and Lionel St Jacobs (Curacao) in 5:04.07.

Crossing first in the women's version of the race was Abilene's April Francis in 5:19.89, followed respectively by Qyone Antersijn (Curacao) in 5:23.18 and Caryl Hamilton (UWI track and field) in 6:45.98.

Ayanna Alexander copped gold in the women's triple jump with a best leap of 13.69m while Che Richards (Oasics) won the men's long jump with a best effort of 7.53m.

Today, the men's 400m hurdles line up will include four Memphis men, Ruebin Walters (Memphis), the qualifier with the fastest time of 52.93, Jehue Gordon (50.65), Kern Alexis (50.93) and Kadesh Roberts (51.75) and Rebirth's Emmanuel Mayers (50.20).

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