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Bledman, Baptiste, McKnight cruise on first day of track

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Kelly Ann Baptiste, left, of T&T, looks at the scoreboard after finishing first in her heat of the women's 100 metre race at the Pan Am Games yesterday in Toronto. At right is Crystal Emmanuel, of Canada. AP Photo

Keston Bledman, Kelly Ann Baptiste and Sparkle McKnight all won their heats to give T&T a strong showing on the opening day of the track and field portion of the Pan American Games at the CIBC Athletics Stadium in Toronto yesterday.

Competing in the third of three Men’s 100 metre heats, Bledman stopped the clock at 9.95 to edge American Remontay McClain (9.99) and Bahaman Shavez Hart (10.13). 

His time was the fastest of the round while in his semifinal at 6.50 pm today, he will be the only runner to have clocked a sub-ten this year. 

The final will be staged later tonight at 8.50 pm. Running in heat two, his teammate Marcus Duncan was eliminated from the event when he placed seventh in 10.52. That race was won by American Bee Jay Lee in 9.99 with Bajan Raymond Gittens in second in 10.03.

Meanwhile, Baptiste clocked 11.07 to win the first of three Women’s 100m heats, beating Ecuador’s Angela Tenorio (11.17) and Jamaican Schillonie Calvert (11.27).  Semoy Hacket also qualified for the semifinals, running a season best of 11.17 to finish third in heat two. 

She was beaten to the line by American Barbara Pierre (10.92) and Brazilian Rosangela Santos (11.08). Baptiste will enter today’s first semifinal at 6:25 pm while Hackett will take off at 6.32 pm in the second race. The final will be run later tonight at 8:30 pm.

McKnight was also in good form, winning her Women’s 400m Hurdles semifinal in a season’s best of 56.56 to advance to today’s final, which will be run at 7.15 pm. 

Her time was the second best of all the qualifiers. Josanne Lucas was not as successful in the other semifinal, placing seventh in 1:00.30.

Alena Brooks missed out on the Women’s 800m final when she finished her semifinal heat in fifth, clocking 2:07.84. Brazil’s Flavia De Lima was the victor in 2:02.39

Ayanna Alexander was also in action last night in the Women’s Triple Jump final.

Several T&T’s athletes will be in action today, including Deandra Daniel in the Women’s High Jump final, Janeil Bellille in the Women’s 400m semifinal, Jarrin Solomon and Machel Cedenio in the Men’s 400m semifinal, Emanuel Mayers in the Men’s 400m Hurdles semifinals and Cleopatra Borel in the Women’s shot put final. With no chance of advancing out of the group stage, T&T’s men’s football team squandered a 2-0 lead to go down 4-2 to Mexico in their final game. 

Forward Ricardo John put T&T up 1-0 in the seventh minute while Henry Shakell increased the gap in the 39th. T&T maintained their 2-0 advantage until the 60th when Mexican midfielder Jorge Espericueta found the net. 

Eight minutes later, substitute midfielder Daniel Alverez evened the score, which remained unchanged until the game’s dying minutes. Marco Bueno and Martin Zuniga each scored during injury time to hand the Mexicans the win. 

The result left T&T at the bottom of Pool B with three losses in three games. Mexico finished at the top with seven points while Paraguay (4) and Uruguay (3) were second and third respectively.

Also last night, Men’s field hockey unit was set to face hosts Canada in the quarterfinal at 7.30 pm.


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