SEMOY HACKETT became the first Trinidad and Tobago athlete to book a spot in the women’s 200-metres final in an Olympic Games.
The 23-year-old atoned for her failure to make the women’s 100-metres final, last Saturday, with a third-place finish in the second of three semi-final heats in 22.55 seconds at the Olympic Stadium in London, England, yesterday, equalling the national record time over the women’s half-lap.
Hackett followed on the heels of fellow Tobagonian Kelly-Ann Baptiste, who became the first national sprinter to make an Olympic final of the women’s 100 metres.
Speaking from London yesterday, manager of the TT track and field contingent Dexter Voisin noted, “We have Semoy, who became the first TT athlete to make it to the women’s 200-metres final. The competition is tough, but we want to ensure we get as many finalists as possible.
“I don’t want to make any predictions but we’re just hoping for the best,” he added.
The other TT finalists thus far at the Games are Lalonde Gordon, who copped bronze in the men’s 400 metres race, Baptiste, Jehue Gordon (men’s 400 metres hurdles), Richard Thompson (men’s 100 metres) and swimmer George Bovell III (men’s 50 metres freestyle).
In the second heat of the women 200 metres semis, Allyson Felix of the United States (US) was victorious in 22.31 seconds while Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast was next in 22.49.
According to the event’s rules, only the top two finishers, in the three semi- final heats, automatically advanced to today’s final, which is carded for 4 pm. But Hackett, as well as France’s Myriam Soumare (22.56 seconds) qualified as the “fastest losers”.
Felix and Ahoure were always in the fray for the top two spots, but Hackett showed tremendous grit and determination, in the last 50 metres, to claim third place.
Hackett’s other rivals in the final will be Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica and Carmelita Jeter of the US (who took the top two spots in heat one in 22.32 and 22.39 seconds respectively); Sanya Richards- Ross of the US and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (who were the top two in heat three in 22.30 and 22.34 seconds respectively).
The other TT participant in the women’s 200 metres semi-final, Kai Selvon, placed fifth in heat three in 23.04 seconds. Trinidad and Tobago had mixed results in the men’s 110 metres hurdles’ first round yesterday morning, as 24-year-old Mikel Thomas was fourth in heat three in 13.74 seconds, with Orlando Ortega of Cuba victorious in 13.26.
Another fourth-place finisher in the heats was Wayne Davis III, a 20-year-old American-born of Trinidadian parentage entrant, who clocked 13.52 seconds in heat one. Jason Richardson of the US was the winner in 13.33 seconds.
But Davis’ time ensured he will progress to today’s semi-final phase, as one of the fastest losers, while Thomas’ Olympic debut ended as quickly as it began.
On his Twitter page yesterday, Thomas blogged, “thank you all for your love and support. I know I’m capable of more and, with your continued support, the limit is the sky.”
And Rondel Sorrillo was eliminated in the first round of the men’s 200 metres.
The 26-year-old could only muster a fifth place finish in the second heat, in 20.76 seconds.
The heat was won by Christophe Lemaitre of France in 20.34 seconds.
At the London Velopark, 21-year-old American-based cyclist Njisane Phillip took the seventh place in the men’s keirin.
He would later tweet, “all done! Thanks to all my sponsors for supporting me. TT thank you very much again, I love my country. Gotta give thanks to God for all these blessings, came in (and) shocked the world, I’m coming (2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).”