Jasmine Camacho-Quinn celebrates her Tokyo Olympic victory (© Getty Images)
A dramatic finish in the men’s long jump final and a first ever athletics gold medal for Puerto Rico in the women’s 100m hurdles highlighted the morning session on day four of the athletics competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou and Puerto Rico’s Jasmine Camacho-Quinn claimed the two golds on offer during a session that also featured a sensational recovery by Sifan Hassan in the women’s 1500m heats and the early exit of Jamaican sprinter Shericka Jackson from the women’s 200m.
Tentoglou won the long jump title by leaping 8.41m on his sixth and final jump, matching Cuban star Juan Miguel Echevarria’s best effort. That moved the Greek athlete into gold medal position based on his second-best jump of 8.15m.
Echevarria, who had been bothered by a right hamstring injury, still had a chance to win on his final jump but pulled up short, going on to his hands and knees on the runway and pounding the take-off board in dejection. He settled for the silver.
The 22-year-old Echevarria had held the lead from the third round, with his 8.41m jump surpassing the title-winning jumps from the past two Olympics. He looked devastated and in a daze as he was consoled by Cuban teammate Maykel Masso, who earned bronze with a jump of 8.21m.
Tentoglou, who came to Tokyo as one of the favourites with a world-leading jump of 8.60m, claimed Greece’s first Olympic medal in the men’s long jump and their seventh gold in athletics.
“What an incredible competition,” he said. “What an incredible jump, the last jump. 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.”
Jamaica’s world champion Tajay Gayle, competing with heavy strapping on his injured left knee, managed a best jump of only 7.69m and missed out on making the top-eight cut.
US champion JuVaughan Harrison finished fifth after a best jump of 8.15m, a day after placing seventh in the high jump final. He was the first US man to compete in both events since Jim Thorpe in 1912.
Camacho-Quinn led from start to finish in her much-anticipated duel with world record-holder Kendra Harrison to take the sprint hurdles gold in 12.37, becoming Puerto Rico’s first Olympic champion in athletics.
“I did it! I did it!” she screamed after crossing the line and looking up at the scoreboard.
Harrison took silver in 12.52, while Jamaica’s Megan Tapper earned the bronze in 12.55.
Camacho-Quinn said she was hoping for a world record but she clipped the ninth hurdle and stumbled across the line.
“Everything happens for a reason,” she said. “I came through with the gold, my first gold medal.”
Monday’s race marked redemption for both Camacho-Quinn and Harrison following heartbreak five years ago. Harrison missed out on making the US team for Rio, while Camacho-Quinn hit a hurdle and crashed out in the semis.
Camacho-Quinn, who clocked an Olympic record 12.26 in Sunday’s semi-finals, claimed Puerto Rico’s second Olympic gold medal after tennis player Monica Puig won the women’s singles title in Rio in 2016.
“For such a small country, it gives little people hope,” Camacho-Quinn said. “I am just glad I am the person to do that.”
With Harrison’s silver, the USA has won a medal in the women’s 100m hurdles at each of the past six Olympic Games, the longest streak in the event by any country at the Games.
Elsewhere, the three Jamaican sprinters who swept the medals in the women’s 100m on Saturday evening returned to the track for the first round of the women’s 200m – but one failed to advance to the semifinals.
Shericka Jackson, who took 100m bronze, ran casually in her heat and eased up before the finish, crossing the line only in fourth. Her time of 23.26 wasn’t enough to go through.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, silver medallist in the 100m, cruised to victory in her heat in 22.23, the third-fastest time of the morning. Defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah was third in her heat in 22.86.
Eighteen-year-old Christine Mboma of Namibia ran the day’s fastest time, winning her heat in a world U20 record of 22.11. She finished ahead of world leader and US champion Gabby Thomas (22.20).
Others advancing included Olympic 400m champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo of The Bahamas (22.40) and Marie-Josee Ta Lou of Ivory Coast (22.30).
There was drama in the women’s 1500m heats, with Hassan getting tripped up and falling to the track shortly after the bell lap sounded. The Dutch star jumped back to her feet and chased after the leaders, who were some 40 metres ahead of her at that point.
Hassan caught up with the pack going into the final straight, eased to the front and crossed first in 4:05.17, keeping alive her unprecedented bid for a triple in the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m.
Hassan has about 12 hours to recover for the evening’s 5000m final. The women’s 1500m semi-finals are set for Wednesday with the final on Friday. The women’s 10,000m final is on Saturday.
Defending champion Faith Kipyegon had no trouble, cruising to the next round by winning her heat in 4:01.40 – the fastest ever heat time at the Games. Winnie Nanyondo of Uganda had the second-fastest time (4:02.24), followed by Australia’s Linden Hall (4:02.27) and Japan’s Nozomi Tanaka, who set a national record of 4:02.33.
Four-time world champion Pawel Fajdek qualified for his first Olympic final in the men’s hammer with a throw of 76.46m, still only the ninth best effort of the day. His Polish teammate, Wojciech Nowicki, led the way with 79.78m, followed by Rudy Winkler of the US at 78.81m and Norway’s Eivind Henricksen with a national record of 78.79m.
Steve Wilson for World Athletics