Tyra Gittens followed up her record-breaking women’s heptahlon performance on the first two days of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Texas, USA, with a podium finish in the high jump, late on Saturday.
Gittens went over the bar at 1.89 metres to finish second in the high jump, the Texas A&M University student adding silver to her heptathlon gold. High jump gold medallist Rachel Glenn of the United States and Jamaican bronze medallist Lamara Distin also cleared 1.89.
On Thursday, Gittens enjoyed a 1.95m clearance in the heptathlon high jump to establish a new Trinidad and Tobago record. The effort was just one centimetre short of the Olympic qualifying height.
On Friday, though, Gittens produced a 6.96m leap in the hep long jump to break the T&T record and book a ticket to the July 23-August 8 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan. The jump was a full 14 centimetres better than the 6.82 Tokyo 2020 standard.
Gittens also established a new T&T standard in the heptathlon, accumulating 6,418 points in the seven-discipline event. She missed the 6,420 Olympic qualifying total by a mere two points.
Another T&T athlete, Dwight St Hillaire missed out on the SEC Championship men’s 400m podium by just one spot.
The University of Kentucky quartermiler clocked 45.12 seconds to finish fourth, behind Americans Noah Williams (44.37), Bryce Deadmon (44.50) and Elija Godwin (44.61).
St Hillaire got his podium finish in the penultimate event of the three-day meet, the men’s 4x400m. The 23-year-old ran the third leg for Kentucky, helping his school to gold in three minutes, 01.71 seconds. Joshua Jacob St Clair performed third leg duties for seventh-placed University of Alabama (3:11.43).
St Hillaire anchored Kentucky to fourth spot in the 4x100m relay in 39.29 seconds. St Clair was also an anchorman for his school, Alabama finishing 10th overall in 40.74.
At the Moorpark Open, in California, Michelle-Lee Ahye won the women’s 200m event in 23.44 seconds. The victory was the first for the T&T sprint star since her return to competition following a two-year suspension for “whereabouts failures”. In her two previous outings, both at 200, Ahye finished third and fifth.
At the Prairie View A&M University Invitational, in Texas, Renny Quow clocked 47.83 seconds for second spot in the men’s 400m. Taejha Badal finished sixth in the women’s 100m dash in a wind-assisted 11.62. The Concordia Lutheran High School student was fifth in her section and seventh overall in the 200 in a windy 24.11. (See Page 41)
In Illinois, Anya Akili finished fourth in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) Championship women’s heptathlon. The Tennessee Tech University sophomore accumulated 4,584 points.