Janieve Russell, Andre Clarke lead 400 mh qualifiers at National Trials 

Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medallist Janieve Russell and Andre Clarke were the top qualifiers in the women and men’s 400-metre hurdles on Day 1 of the four-day JAAA/SVL National Junior and Senior Championships, at the National Stadium on Thursday.

Russel posted 54.84 seconds to win Heat 1 of the opening round. The MVP-conditioned hurdler led home Rushell Clayton, who ran a personal best of 55.10  for second place and another MVP athlete, Nikita Tracey, who stopped the clock at 55.41.

Ristananna Tracey, the 2017 World Championships bronze medallist, secured her spot based on time following  a 55.55 clocking for fourth place.

Ronda White won Heat 2 in 55.04, the second fastest time heading into the final, while Leah Nugent finished second in  55.32 to book her place in the final.

Rounding out the qualifiers for the final are Hydel High schoolgirl Shiann Salmon (56.57) and Candice McLeod (57.81).

Clarke the fastest Jamaican 400m hurdler this season, posted a time of 48.46 seconds to win Heat 1 of the men’s race, while Kemar Mowatt also dipped below the 49-seconds barrier — 48.96 for second place.

Mowatt’s effort was the second fastest qualifying time going into the final.

Also qualifying from Heat 1 were Annsert Whyte (49.03) and Javarn Gallimore (49.93).

Shawn Rowe won Heat 2 in  50.16 seconds to book his place in the final, while Romel Lewis ran 50.44 second place and also secured a spot in the championship race.

Also advancing were Ricardo Cunningham, who ran 50.46 for third place and Marvin Williams, who finished fourth with a time of 50.54.

Both finals are scheduled for Friday. The women’s final is scheduled to start at 7:50 pm, while the men’s final is slated for 8:00 pm.

The senior athletes are competing for spots on Jamaica’s team to three international competitions. Those competitions are the inaugural Athletics World Cup in the United Kingdom from July 14-15; the 23rd Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Barranquilla, Colombia from July 19-August 3 and the North American, Central American and Caribbean Championships (NACAC)  in Toronto, Canada from August 10-12.

The junior athletes are compete for spots on Jamaica’s teams to the IAAF World Under-20 Championships in Tampere, Finland from July 19-24 and the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina from October 6-18.

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