TOKYO, Aug 2 — Jasmine Camacho-Quinn won Puerto Rico’s first-ever Olympics athletics gold in the women’s 100 metres hurdles on Monday while Miltiadis Tentoglou became Greece’s first men’s long jump champion.
Dutch distance runner Sifan Hassan kept her bid for an unprecedented treble of 1,500 metres, 5,000m and 10,000m alive despite a dramatic fall in the 1500m heats.
Camacho-Quinn dominated the 100m hurdles, not giving world record holder Keni Harrison a sniff of a chance of ending her major championship gold drought.
An emotional Camacho-Quinn said her gold would mean a lot to the people of Puerto Rico, which has a population of around three million.
“For such a small country it gives little people hope,” she said. “I am just glad I am the person to do that. Anything is possible. I am really happy right now.”
‘I was shaking’
European champion Tentoglou saved his best for last to snatch long-jump gold from Cuba’s Juan Miguel Echevarria.
The 23-year-old produced a leap of 8.41 metres to equal Echevarria’s best mark but the Greek had a superior second-best jump (8.15m to 8.09m).
“What an incredible jump, the last jump,” said Tentoglou. “I wasn’t able to get it right at the start. But in the end I managed to pull something out to get the medal.
“I am very lucky.”
Elaine Thompson-Herah is halfway towards repeating her Olympic sprint double from five years ago, with gold already under her belt in the 100m.
The 29-year-old Jamaican eased into the semi-finals, which take place in the evening session at the Olympic Stadium.
American champion Gabby Thomas — who became the second-fastest woman in history when she won the US trials in 21.61 seconds — finished second in her heat behind Namibia’s Christine Mboma, who clocked the fastest time in the heats of 22.11sec.
Thomas said her maiden experience of an Olympic Games was surreal.
“I was shaking,” she said. “Until the gun went off my heart was racing, but once the gun went off it was a lot of fun.”
Jamaican great Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, bidding to avenge her defeat in the 100m, also progressed in her less favoured sprint distance.
However, there will be no repeat of the Jamaican 1-2-3 in the 100m as bronze medallist Shericka Jackson failed to qualify.
The 27-year-old made the cardinal error of easing up 40 metres from the line and being run out of the top three — her time was not good enough to secure her one of the three fastest loser spot.
Ivory Coast star Marie-Josee Ta Lou managed to put to one side the disappointment of finishing fourth in the 100m to win her heat.
“I was not feeling 100 per cent,” said the 32-year-old. “I was really tired when I woke up this morning. I was really disappointed (the 100m final), It is hard to recover from that.”
History-chasing Hassan crashed to the ground at the bell in her 1500m heat but dusted herself down and made up the yawning gap to win the heat in 4min 5.17sec.
The 28-year-old Dutch runner returns later on Monday for the 5,000m final as she continues her push for three medals in Tokyo.
“That was awesome,” said American Cory McGee, who along with most of those in the sparsely populated stadium applauded Hassan as she crossed the line. — AFP