Dill upbeat despite falling short of Rio time
Shaquille Dill finished two seconds outside the Olympic Games qualifying time of 1min 46sec for the 800 metres, while already-qualified Tre Houston warmed up for Rio with victory in the 100 during the first day of the XL Catlin National Championships last night.
Dill overtook early leader Anthonio Mascoll of Barbados with about 200 yards to go to win the three-man race in 1:48.42, with Mascoll finishing in 1:51.03 and Bermudian college student Dage Minors third in 1:57.15.
“I feel it was a good race, I learnt a lot from it and just have to try to fix some key points,” said Dill, crowned 800 champion two weeks ago at the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships at the IMG Academy Track and Field Stadium in Bradenton, Florida.
He looked well on course after the first lap.
“I was perfect at the 400, it was just my third 200 that was a little off and I just have to fix it,” Dill said. “I have until July 11, but I still have another season to reach my goal which is 1:45.”
Houston's goal between now and Rio is just to maintain his preparation work and not pick up an injury.
“First and foremost I'm grateful for coming out injury-free,” said Houston, who may run the 200 when the meet concludes this afternoon.
“The race was very awkward, I thought they were going to call it [start] back but they didn't and that kind of threw me off. My time could have been quicker, but these things happen and you keep going if you don't hear the gun and there isn't a ‘double-gun'. I'm grateful for the win.
“I'm thinking about doing the 200, people are asking me because they want to see me again. I'm really listening to my coach because I have other meets coming up.
“I'm supposed to be going to Guyana and then from Guyana to Canada for three meets. Then I'll train for the next six weeks and then go to Rio on August 2 or 3 when the village opens.
“All season I've been running 10.4, 10.5 so it could have been a much quicker time. I know I'm ready to run because my second part was really fast. There are a few things I have to work on but I'm going to be ready for the Olympics, no doubt.”
Emma Kimoto retained the open high jump title she won a year ago, though she had to stop after two attempts to clear the bar at 1.80 metres because of a foot injury. Both she and Sakari Famous cleared the bar at 1.75, with the Canadian finally doing so at the third attempt after suffering an injury to her right foot.
“I'm disappointed of course, these things happen when you're an athlete, you can't control whether you get hurt, but you can control how you come back,” said Kimoto, who had to receive treatment afterwards for the injury. “I'll just get ready for the next meet [the National Championships] in the second week of July.
“I've been having a little bit of pain in my heel and when I ran up to the bar today it pulled a little bit and I decided to stop because I figured it wasn't worth hurting myself more.”
Kimoto is on her third trip to the Island in the last year after also coming here for the Permit Meet. She said she loves the Island, even more so after achieving a personal best of 1.85 here last year.
“I really enjoy jumping here, like Dr Evans [race announcer Freddie Evans] said maybe I'll try to become a Bermudian,” she said. “I leave on Sunday, but will take it easy the next few days and have it looked at when I get back home.”
Famous was happy with her performance, though she failed to clear the bar at 1.80, the height she achieved for the first time in early May to set a new Bermuda junior record, and which equalled the senior record.
“I did my best, did everything on my first attempt, and got to go up against Emma which was really cool,” the Berkeley student said. “Competition pushes me to do my best.”
One athlete with Bermudian connections, Cheria Morgan of Canada, was happy to perform in the 100 where she placed third behind Marvellous Ikheukwomere, her training partner in Arizona, who won the race in 11.97, and Bermudian Taahira Butterfield who was second in 11.99.
Cherie, who was born in Canada to a Bermudian mother and Jamaica father, clocked 12.02 to pip college student Keisha Miller, 12.03, for the final podium place.
“I spent a lot of time in Bermuda when I was growing up, back and forth between Bermuda and Canada,” Morgan said. “Some of my family was here to watch me run so that was exciting.
“It was only my second race of the year so I'm happy to come out healthy, though the run itself wasn't the greatest. It was good to get on the podium, but obviously I have a lot of time to chip away at.
“Hopefully in the next few weeks I can get better and better and decrease my time.”
Ikheukwumere, who hails from Nigeria, was happy with the win.
“It's a little off my best time but it's okay,” she said. “It was a really long flight here, 6am to 9pm, and my legs are a little rusty, but I'm glad to come out and run and hopefully will run the 200 tomorrow.
“Bermuda is very similar to my country, Nigeria, and I love the climate. I'm hoping to get out to the beaches.”