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Baptiste sprints to World bronze
Kelly-Ann Baptiste captured bronze in the women’s 100m finals at the 13th IAAF World Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea, yesterday. The national record holder clocked 10.98 seconds to finish behind American Carmelita Jeter (10.90) and 2007 champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica (10.97). Baptiste got off to quick start and was among the early leaders before Jeter surged ahead at mid-way and pulled away to strike gold for the USA. Campbell- Brown finished strongly from lane eight and nipped the Plymouth lass for the silver on the line by 0.01 seconds. Defending champion and Olympic gold medallist Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce had to settle for fourth (10.99) with African champion Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria in fifth (11.12) and Berlin World and Beijing Olympic runner up Kerron Stewart (Jamaica) sixth in 11.16. Bulgaria’s Ivet Lalova (11.27) and USA’s Marshavet Mayers (11.33) were seventh and eighth respectively.
In the semis earlier in the night, Baptiste advanced to the finals finishing second to Jeters (11.02 to 11.05) in heat three. However, her compatriots Semoy Hackett and Michelle Lee-Ahye bowed out. Hackett was fourth in heat two in 11.35 behind Fraser-Pryce (11.03), Campbell-Brown (11.060 and Okagbare (11.22) and missed out on the finals by one spot as she was ninth overall. Lee Ahye crossed the line fifth in the first heat in 11.48 seconds behind Kerron Stewart (11.26), Mayers (11.38), Myriam Soumare of France (11.47) and Norway’s Ezinne Okparaebo (11.48). Jeter came to Daegu as the overwhelming favourite after she set a world leading time in June of 10.70 and ran unbeaten all year. Baptiste has been having an excellent season with her only losses coming at the hands of Jeter. The race was run into a 1.4m/s headwind which slowed the times as quicker times were expected given that seven of the eight finalists have dipped below the eleven barrier this season.
Twenty-four year-old Baptiste won T&T’s first medal at the meet and became only the second local female to grab precious medal at any major global championship. Josanne Lucas captured the country’s first after she won bronze in the 400m hurdles at the last World Championships in Berlin, Germany, two years ago.
Speaking after her medal-winning performance, Baptiste said she was a bit disappointed at not winning gold. “I would have love to win but getting a medal is still great because I am just taking a step towards the Olympics next year. It feels good because I always felt I had the potential and never delivered. It was great to come to a meet at this level and deliver.” The former Signal Hill Secondary student she was not concerned about the time as medaling was her focus. “I was just running to get a medal. I didn’t care about the time.” Baptiste said she believe her performance would encourage local female athletes. “(My run) will give them more hope and motivation to achieve more as I think they have already stepped up.” The 2008 NCAA 60/100 champion for Louisiana State University is now looking to the women’s 4x100m relay on Sunday. “We have to win another medal. We have been looking forward to it. I am excited and we are going out there and have fun.”
The former double Carifta champion paid tribute to her mother (Hazel Taylor) and family members. She also thanked the people of T&T and her coach Lance Brauman. Baptiste signaled her intentions for Daegu by speeding to an impressive 10.84 national record in June at her training base in Clearmont, Florida last year and then captured the Continental Cup sprint crown three months later in Split, Croatia. She continued her build up with impressive runs on the Diamond League circuit earlier this year. The 2003 World Youth bronze medallist scored three wins with an impressive 10.91 victory over Campbell-Brown in Paris in July.
Roberts ecstatic at Baptiste’s success
Sports Minister Anil Roberts yesterday expressed delight over the success of national sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste in the women’s 100 metres at the IAAF World Games in Daegu, South Korea, An ecstatic Minister Roberts described Baptiste’s bronze medal success as “significant and memorable.” “She ran a strong race from start to finish and proved her quality in a final that featured the best women sprinters in the world.” Baptiste was winning T&T’s first medal at this year’s event and the second by a woman at the World Championships. The keenly contested final was won by American Carmelita Jeter in 10.90 with Jamaican veteran Veronica Campbell-Brown earning silver in 10.97. Baptiste is also expected to challenge for the 200m title and will form part of T&T's 4x100m relay. Minister Roberts wished her and the rest of the T&T team every success for the rest of the Games.
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