COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Devynne Charlton into 100m hurdles final

By BRENT STUBBS

Senior Sports Reporter

bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

BIRMINGHAM, England: World indoor silver medalist Devynne Charlton moved one step closer to adding a 2022 Commonwealth Games medal to her collection.

The Bahamian national record holder chased Jamaican Olympic bronze medalist Megan Tapper through the finish line of the second of the three women’s heats of the 100 metres hurdles on Friday morning at the Alexander Stadium.

Coming on the heels of LaQuan Nairn’s historic gold medal performance in the men’s long jump on Thursday night, Charlton clocked 12.70 seconds to trail Tapper, the winner of the heat in 12.68. While Tapper had the fourth best qualifying time, Charlton followed with the fifth.

Nigeria’s Tobi Amusan, who shattered the world record in the semi-finals on her way to winning the gold at the World Championships two weeks ago in Eugene, Oregon, came into Birmingham on a high, posting the fastest qualifying time of 12.40.

The final at 5:25 am EST on Sunday’s final day of competition at the games will have Charlton running out of lane in lane seven, sandwiched between Australia’s Michelle Jenneke in six and Jamaica’s World Championships silver medallist Danielle Williams in eight.

Amusan will be in five with Tapper in four and World Championships’ eighth place finisher Cindy Sember of Great Britain will be in three. Canadian Michelle Harrison will occupy lane two and Australia’s Celeste Mucci will go in lane one.

The 26-year-old Charlton, coming of her seventh place finish at the World Championships, is hoping for successful debut in her first Commonwealth Games experience.

“It was a decent execution. My start wasn’t there like it usually is, so I have go back and see where I can make the improvement,” said Charlton, whose parents Laura and (sometimes coach) Dave Charlton are here to support her.

On competing next to Tapper, who missed a spot in the final in Eugene with ninth place overall behind Charlton’s eighth and final qualifying spot in the semi-finals, she said she was able to feed off her opponent’s fast start as she maneuvered over the ten flights of hurdles to get back into the race.

“It was good to have her beside me in the race,” Charlton stated.

With the buzz still around Nairn’s gold medal performance, Charlton said she missed the excitement because she went to bed “super early”, but it was the first thing she heard about when she got up this morning to compete.

“I’m just super proud of him,” she said. “This is his first year on the senior stage like this so to see his progression from junior athlete to now is very special.”

Come Sunday, Charlton said she has one goal in mind and that is to get the podium with whatever colour she can negotiate.

“I would like to win it all, but I have a couple things to work on before I get back out here,” she stated. “I know that it will be a better race.”

And with another jam packed spectator stand for the morning session, Charlton said she’s even more inspired and motivated because she “felt the energy”.