COULD this be St Lucia’s historic day in international athletics?
Is it possible that we can pull off two places in the high jump at the International Amateur Athletic Federation World track and field championships currently taking place in Beijing, China.
St Lucia has already set a new standard with two places in the final of an event for the very first time, but can we medal as well?
Eyes will be glued to the television screens from 6:30 this morning to follow the fortunes of multiple “Sportswoman for the Year,” 31 year old Levern Spencer, along with compatriot and Carifta record holder 21 year old Jeannelle Scheper as they seek IAAF glory.
The leading medal contenders all breezed through a routine qualification session as the 13 women who cleared 1.92 metres all advanced to the final on Thursday morning. The automatic qualifying height was 1.94 metres, but the referees made the wise decision not to prolong the contest just to eliminate one woman.
Meanwhile, with the qualifying height set at 1.94 metres or the best 12 athletes out of the 28 competitors representing the likes of Antigua and Barbuda, Bulgaria, Sweden, Russia, Nigeria, Spain, Great Britain, Poland, Uzbekistan, USA, Croatia, Australia, Germany and Ukraine, the two St. Lucians made it with little no difficulty clearing 1.92 metres to secure a final spot.
Levern Spencer started at the opening height of 1.80 metres and cleared it on her first attempt in Group A, likewise Jeannelle Scheper in Group B. The two St. Lucians continued their good run of form clearing the next height 1.85 metres, but in the process saw Chaunte Lowe of the USA, the 2005 world silver medallist and North American record holder, made an early exit after failing to clear her opening height of 1.80 metres, a former World Indoor Champion and Priscilla Frederick of Antigua-Barbuda falling by the way side.
At 1.89 metres Scheper missed twice and was on the brink of exiting the championship, but was able to compose herself as she went on to clear the height on her third attempt. With the bar now at 1.92 metres the pack was trimmed tremendously with only five women in Group A cleared at the first attempt, including Spencer, former World Champion, Blanka Vlasic of Croatia and World No.1 Ana Chicherova of Russia.
In Group B, Scheper was one of six over at 1.92metres on their opening trial, along with the 2014 Commonwealth Games (Glasgow) champion, Australia Eleanor Patterson and Ruth Beitia of Spain.
The 13 athletes who qualify for the final reads – Group A: Anna Chicherova (RUS), Blanka Vlasic (CRO), Maria – Laurence Jungfleisch (GER), Dorren Amata (NGR), and Levern Spencer (LCA). Group B: Ruth Beitia (ESP), Maria Kuchina (RUS), Ana Simic (CRO), Eleanor Patterson (AUS), Kamila Licwinko (POL), Jeanelle Scheper(LCA), MirelaDemireva (BUL) and Svetlana Radzivil (UZB).
Spencer’s best mark in the event is 1.98 metres while Scheper’s is 1.96 metres.