TORONTO, Sporting Alert – Saint Lucian Levern Spencer led a Caribbean clean sweep of the women’s High Jump on the morning session of the second day of athletics at the Pan Am Games on Wednesday.
Spencer, who entered the competition as one of the jumpers to beat, cleared a winning height of 1.94m to beat Priscilla Frederick of Antigua & Barbuda and Barbados’ Akela Jones.
The 31-year-old came into the contest with the bar at 1.80m and kept an unblemished scorecard all the way to the 1.94m height.
After missing on her first two attempts, Spencer sailed over the bar with the final try to set up the victory. However, the Caribbean veteran who matched her best mark of the season, opted against going for the Pan Am Games record of 1.96m after deciding to end the competition with the gold medal already in the bag.
A very colourful Frederick also enjoyed her day after she picked up the silver medal with a personal best mark of 1.91m. NCAA standout Jones also finished with a personal best height of 1.91m and she was delighted to be in such good form one month before the IAAF World Championships in Beijing.
Spencer’s compatriot Jeanelle Scheper, the highest jumper in the field, was supposed to be one of the top gold medal contenders, but the NCAA star jumper who came in with a seasonal and personal best mark of 1.96m, only cleared 1.88m for fifth place.
Elsewhere in the morning session on Wednesday, Olympic silver medallist Luguelín Santos of Dominican Republic qualified fastest for the men’s 400m final after posting 45.72 secs to win his semi-finals heat. Kyle Clemons of USA was right next to the world bronze medallist in 45.75.
The second semis was won by Nery Brenes of Costa Rica, the 2012 World Indoor champion and 2011 Pan Am Games gold medal winner.
The 29-year-old got home ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s new sensation Machel Cedenio, who is one of the strong favourites to strike gold in the event, eased home second in a time of 46.06 for second place behind Brenes.
In the women’s section, Americans Kendall Baisden (51.81) and Shakima Wimbley (52.28) qualified for the final as heat winners, with Kineke Alexander of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines running 52.24 and Jamaica’s Chrisann Gordon, 52.49, also making the decider.
Elsewhere, Jeshua Anderson of USA posted the quickest time of the men’s 400m hurdles semis, at 49.73, with Jamaica’s Leford Green (50.51) and USA’s Kerron Clement (50.63) winning the other semis.
Javier Culson of Puerto Rico, the Olympic bronze medallist ran 50.54 to qualify easily, with Bahamian Jeffery Gibson (50.74) also going through.
Americans Clayton Murphy (1:48.88) and Martin Ryan (1:48.99) were the fastest in the men’s 800m semi-final heats.
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Day two coverage will get underway again with the evening session at 6:00 pm ET.