By Tiger Rag News Service
KINGSTON, Jamaica – The Jamaican Senior Championships wrapped up Sunday with four LSU Track & Field athletes earning a place on Team Jamaica heading to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as Fitzroy Dunkley and Nickiesha Wilson qualified in the finale after Damar Forbes and Natoya Goule punched their ticket on Saturday.
There are now seven track and field Olympians with ties to the LSU program set to compete at the Rio Olympics after Zimbabwe’s Gabriel Mvumvure and Trinidad & Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Richard Thompson each qualified for their home countries with their performance in recent weeks.
Dunkley’s Road To Rio is the embodiment of the Olympic dream as he has emerged as one of the World’s leading 400-meter sprinters after joining the Tigers four years ago as a high jumper and triple jumper.
The reigning NCAA Outdoor Silver Medalist in the 400-meter dash, Dunkley advanced to his first career final at the Jamaican Senior Championships after winning his semifinal heat on Saturday night with a time of 45.31 seconds. He then booked his trip to Rio de Janeiro with Team Jamaica for his first Olympic Games with a silver-medal-winning second-place finish in Sunday’s final.
Dunkley, a three-time NCAA 4×400-meter relay champion and five-time All-American in his final two seasons with the Tigers, crossed the finish line in 45.34 to finish second to the 2016 Jamaican Champion Javon Francis (44.95). Rounding out the medalists in the men’s 400-meter final was Nathon Allen as the bronze medalist in third place with his time of 45.52.
While Dunkley will represent Jamaica at the Olympic Games for the first time in his young career, Wilson will step onto the Olympics stage for the third-straight time after winning the bronze medal in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. Wilson entered the Jamaican Championships with a seasonal-best time of 13.71 run at the LSU Invitational in Baton Rouge on April 30, but clocked back-to-back seasonal bests of 13.49 (-3.4) in the semis and 12.97 (+0.9) in the final to eclipse the Olympic qualifying standard of 13.00 and earn her ticket to Rio.
Wilson finished third in the event to Megan Simmonds (12.79) and Shermaine Williams (12.90) as she qualified for the Olympics in the sprint hurdles for the first time after running the 400 hurdles in 2008 and 2012.
Their qualification came just one day after Forbes and Goule were crowned Jamaican Champions in their events to earn a spot on their Olympic team with Forbes jumping 26 feet, 9 ¼ inches in the men’s long jump and Goule running 2 minutes, 2.23 seconds in the women’s 800 meters. Forbes qualified for the Olympics for the second time in his career, while Goule earned a spot on her first Olympic team for Jamaica.
Two LSU athletes also featured in Sunday’s 200-meter finals as former Lady Tiger and 15-time All-American Samantha Henry-Robinson placed fifth overall in the women’s final with a time of 23.60 (-3.1) and Tiger junior Renard Howell finished seventh in the men’s final with a time 20.81 (-1.5) as both races were run into strong headwinds at the National Stadium.
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