RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, Wednesday August 17, 2016 – Omar McLeod extended Jamaica’s dominance of sprint events yesterday when he clinched his country’s first ever gold medal in the Olympic Games men’s 110m hurdles.
With triple Olympic 100m champion Usain Bolt and newly-crowned women’s sprint champion Elaine Thompson leading the way, Jamaica has become the biggest global power in short distances on the track.
But until yesterday at the Olympic Stadium in Rio, the country had never produced an Olympic champion in the men’s or women’s high hurdles.
McLeod changed that with a confident, flowing performance.
Just over 2 years out of High School. Now an Olympic Champion #OmarMcLeod.
— Abka Fitz-Henley (@AbkaFitzHenley) August 17, 2016
The 22-year-old Jamaican was comfortably ahead after the last hurdle and finished in 13.05 seconds, ahead of Spain’s Orlando Ortega and France’s Dimitri Bascou, who clocked 13.17 and 13.24 respectively.
— Digicel Jamaica (@DIGICELJamaica) August 17, 2016
Meantime, Bolt remains on course for an unprecedented triple-triple, after running 20.28 seconds to win his 200m heat at the Olympic Stadium yesterday.
The track star, who won his seventh Olympic gold medal when he took the 100m title on Sunday, won his race comfortably, easing up in the final 50 metres.
He admitted to some anxiety ahead of his heat.
“I was nervous because the 200m is my favourite event. I didn’t want to go out. I’ve recovered from the 100m. I’m tired now, but happy to be through,” he said.
The 10 heats also featured 100m silver medallist Justin Gatlin of the United States and Canadian Andre de Grasse who took the bronze on Sunday. Gatlin clocked 20.42 in winning his heat, while de Grasse won his in 20.09 and was the fastest qualifier.
Also through to the semi-finals which begin at 9 o’clock tonight, are Jamaicans Yohan Blake and Nickel Ashmeade.