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Fabrice Lapierre reaches long jump final to defend Commonwealth title

July 29, 2014
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Courtesy: Texas A&M Athletics
(photo: Texas A&M Athletics)

GLASGOW, Scotland – Defending Commonwealth Games champion Fabrice Lapierre was one of three Australians who advanced to the final of the long jump at Hampden Park Stadium on Tuesday.

With his third attempt Lapierre produced a season best of 26 feet, 1 inch (7.95), which was the fourth best mark among the 12 jumpers who qualified for Wednesday’s final (12:35 p.m. CT).

“I haven’t done much this year, just trying to get ready and keep my body in shape,” Lapierre noted. “I just think about winning, nothing else, and I know I can always pull one out of the hat on any given day.”

Four years ago in Dehli, India, Lapierre won Commonwealth Games gold with a leap of 27-2.75 (8.30) and in 2006 he was a Commonwealth bronze medalist in Melbourne.

Also advancing to the final was 2012 Olympic champion Greg Rutherford of England, who led qualifying with a 26-3.75 (8.02) mark. Rutherford finished as runner-up to Lapierre in the 2010 Commonwealth Games when they were separated by just three inches.

Bralon Taplin, running for Grenada, placed fifth in the semifinals of the 400m with a time of 46.68. England’s Martyn Rooney led the field to 200m, but was challenged by Taplin through the curve. As the field reached 300m, Taplin was among the leading four runners along with Rooney, Jarrin Solomon of Trinidad and Chris Brown of the Bahamas.

Rooney claimed the heat in 45.22 with Solomon runner-up at 45.49 to claim the pair of automatic spots for the final. Brown finished third in 45.55 and advanced to the final on time. Taplin was passed in the final 60m by Jamaica’s Rusheen McDonald, who ran 45.95 for fourth place.

A strong start for Janeil Bellille, representing Trinidad & Tobago, had the Texas A&M senior leading the 400m hurdle field in her semifinal through the first 200m. In the later stages of the race Bellille slipped back into fourth place, finishing with a time of 57.51 that did not advance to the final.

Jamaica’s Kaliese Spencer, running in lane one, took over the lead as the field reached the home straight and won the 400m hurdle semifinal heat in 55.45 with Australia’s Lauren Wells claiming the second automatic spot for the final in 55.79. Grabbing the final time qualifier to the final was Nigeria’s Amaka Ogoegbuna, who placed third in 56.85.

In the 110m hurdles a minor hamstring strain prevented Wayne Davis II from starting his race. Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados edged out England’s Will Sharman 13.48 to 13.49 (-2.4 wind) in the semifinal heat Davis was scheduled to run.

The final of the 110m hurdles was claimed by Andrew Riley of Jamaica, a former NCAA champion at Illinois, in 13.32 seconds (-0.3 wind) with Sharman runner-up in 13.36 and Shane Brathwaite of Barbados third at 13.49.

Wednesday’s action at Hampden Park will have a pair Aggies in action. Lapierre contests the final of the men’s long jump while the women’s 200m prelims include Dominique Duncan, representing Nigeria. Duncan runs in the sixth of six heats from lane 2.

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