Today could be another golden day for The Bahamas in athletics as Keyshawn Strachan soared into the final of the men’s javelin at the World Athletics U20 (Under-20) Championships at the Estadio Olímpico Pascual Guerrero in Cali, Colombia.
Strachan had a massive throw of 76.87 meters (m) – 252’ 2” – in the qualifying rounds of the javelin yesterday – good enough for the farthest qualifying mark in the opening round. There was an automatic qualifying distance of 72.50m (237’ 10”) for the final, and Strachan sailed over that mark. Just three other athletes, including world leader Artur Felfner, of the Ukraine, matched or surpassed the automatic qualifying distance. Felfner had a qualifying distance of 75.77m (248’ 7”) yesterday, German Max Dehning had a qualifying distance of 73.10m (239’ 10”), and György Herczeg, of Hungary, was the only other athlete to attain the qualifying distance with a throw of 72.63m (238’ 3”).
The 12 bests throwers out of the qualifying round will compete in the final which is set for 6 p.m. this evening. Strachan will be the ninth thrower in the final – one spot ahead of world leader Felfner.
Felfner has an under-20 world-leading throw of 84.32m (276’ 7”). Strachan is right behind, in second on World Athletics Top Performance List for 2022, with a personal best national record throw of 79.89m (262’ 1”) which was done for the gold medal at the CARIFTA Games in Kingston, Jamaica, in April.
In the competition yesterday, Strachan didn’t get his automatic qualifying heave until his third attempt. He had throws of 65.96m (216’ 5”) and 71.42m (234’ 4”) on his first two attempts. His third attempt was more than four meters over the automatic qualifying distance.
Strachan is looking for a strong finish to the season, building on the gold and CARIFTA record at the CARIFTA Games and a gold medal winning throw in the High School Boys Division at the Penn Relays. He is the holder of The Bahamas’ junior and senior national record in the men’s javelin despite being just 18-years-old.
Meanwhile, the country is still buzzing from Antoine Andrews’ gold medal in the men’s 110m hurdles on Wednesday. Andrews tied the under-20 world-leading time of 13.23 seconds and also broke the junior national record of 13.36 seconds that he set in the heats.
“I’m overwhelmed … I feel pretty good,” said Andrews from Cali, Colombia. “In my opinion, this was the best executed race I ever had in the hurdles. I just had to go out there, stay focused and relaxed and leave it all out on the track. I just want to say thanks to God for through Him all things are possible. Also, thanks to my family and friends and all of my supporters back home.”
This is Andrews’ last year in the junior ranks and what a progression he made. Last year, he was 23rd overall at the World Junior Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, in 14.08 seconds. This year, he has shaved nearly a full second off that time. Both Andrews and his St. John’s College classmate Strachan will compete as senior athletes next year.
Andrews said he is looking forward to the transition from the junior to the senior ranks and said he is confident he will be able to experience continued success despite taking on higher barriers. The height for the hurdles on the senior side is 1.067 meters compared to .99 of a meter on the junior side.
“I feel like it will be a slight adjustment for me,” said Andrews. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.” The Bahamian junior will have his first taste of senior competition at the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) Track and Field Championships later this month in Freeport, Grand Bahama.
“He has showed tremendous progression,” said Andrews’ coach Daron Lightbourne yesterday. He has been coaching Andrews for the past two seasons. “I’m very happy with how he was able to execute out there. He experienced a lot of ups and downs, but he worked very hard this year to get to this point. He conquered every round as they came and was confident that he would go out there and perform in the final. After the semifinals, we felt that he just needed to make sure clear all of the hurdles and it would be smooth sailing for him. We’re very happy. It’s just about being more technical and sticking with this event. He wants to be in it for the long run and he wants to continue setting personal best and national record times.”
Andrews plans to go off to university in January and is looking to continue his success in the sprint hurdles. He said as long as he stays healthy, he has no doubt that he will be able to continue to progress in the hurdles and be among the top runners in that event in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) system.
Back to the competition yesterday, Paige Archer and Lacarthea Cooper were in action for The Bahamas in the women’s 200m heats. Archer was fourth in her opening round heat and finished 25th overall in a personal best run of 23.92 seconds. She just missed advancing to the semifinals by two one hundredths of a second. Cooper finished seventh in her heat and was 40th overall in 24.44 seconds.
In the men’s 4x100m relay, The Bahamas’ team of Andrews, Wanya McCoy, Carlos Brown Jr. and Zachary Evans, in that order, ran 40.09 seconds in their semifinal heat. The Bahamas was third in that heat and finished 10th overall, missing the final by about two tenths of a second.
The Bahamas’ women’s 4x100m relay team of Shatalya Dorsett, Lacarthea Cooper, Paige Archer and Javonya Valcourt, in that order, was seventh in their heat and finished 15th overall in 46.51 seconds.
Apart from Strachan, competing today for The Bahamas will be the men’s 4x400m relay team. That team will step on the track at 12:15 p.m., running out of lane eight in the first of three semifinal heats. The top two teams in each semifinal heat and the next two fastest teams will advance to Saturday’s final.
The men’s 4x400m relay final will bring the curtain down on the 2022 World Athletics U20 Championships on Saturday. That event will run at 6:43 p.m. on Saturday.