Thirty one year old Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Richard “Torpedo” Thompson reaffirmed his status as the country’s flag bearer in athletics’ showcase event last night, as the Rebirth athlete flew down the track to clinch the men’s 100 metre crown in the 2016 NGC/Sagicor NAAA National Open Championships at the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
Thompson, who ran in Rebirth’s colours, stopped the clock at 9.97 seconds with a wind of 1.7 to beat a talented field and clinch one of three individual spots available for the August 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
It was his fifth national title in the 100 metre, which is a joint NAAA record with former Olympic gold medalist Hasely Crawford.
Thompson was closely followed by La Brea’s Rondell Sorrillo, who was second in 9.99, while last year’s winner, Keston Bledman of Simplex, was third in 10.10. Memphis Pioneers’ Emmanuel Callender was fourth—and just outside the Olympic places—with 10.19.
In the women’s 100 metre final, Rebirth was golden again as 24 year old Michelle-Lee Ahye edged a thrilling contest to secure the prestigious title for just the second time.
Ahye crossed the line in 11 seconds flat, with the Zenith duo of Semoy Hackett and defending champion Kelly-Ann Baptiste—both 11.07 seconds—breathing down her neck. Eighteen year old Khalifa St Fort finished fourth but also won an Olympic place with a time of 11.16 seconds, which is a new national junior record.
The NAAA Championships continues tomorrow from 3:30pm with the men’s javelin throw, women shot put, 400 metre, 400 metre hurdles and 4×100 and 4×400 metre relays among the more thrilling events, as the likes of Keshorn Walcott, Machel Cedenio, Jehue Gordon and Cleopatra Borel-Brown set to compete. Admission is TT$50 and half price for children under 12.