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Two Razorbacks advance to Commonwealth Games finals


BIRMINGHAM, England – Two Razorbacks were in action at the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday as the first track and field session started at Alexander Stadium. Arkansas alum LaQuan Nairn and incoming transfer Rojé Stona both advanced to the end of their respective events.

At the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, Razorback Heidi Nielson raced in the first final of the meet on Monday, placing 12th at 3,000m with a time of 9:56.35. Nielson bettered the other American in the field as Kate Peters finished 14th at 10:05.09.

Nielson will race again in the 5,000m final on the last day of the meet, Saturday, August 6.

In Commonwealth long jump qualifying Nairn, representing the Bahamas, advanced with a mark of 25-11 (7.90) on his third attempt. Headwinds were an issue in the qualifying round as Nairn had a -1.2 wind on his best mark. In the second round he jumped 23-11.5 (7.30) into a -4.0 wind. In the first round, with a mark of 25-7.25 (7.80), Nairn had a tailwind of 0.8.

The effort by Nairn was second best overall among the field of 12 that advanced to the final. Leading the field with a wind-aided mark (+2.7) of (8.05) was Murali Sreeshankar of India, who is predicted by British magazine Athletics Weekly to claim gold in the final after he finished seventh in Eugene at the World Championships.

Challengers for medals also include Nairn along with a pair of Australians in Chris Mitrevski and Henry Frayne.

Stona, representing Jamaica, advanced in discus qualifying with a toss of 191-5 (58.35), which ranked eighth among the dozen throwers advancing to the final. Fellow Jamaican Traves Smikle led the field with a mark of 212-11 (64.90). Smikle and Stona finished first and second at the Jamaican Championships in June with throws of 215-7 (65.73) and 211-3 (64.40), respectively.

Australian Matthew Denny, favored to claim gold, led group B and was second best overall with a toss of 212-0 (64.63). Other medal contenders tabbed by Athletics Weekly include Alex Rose of Samoa, England’s Lawrence Okoye, and Nicholas Percy of Scotland, who ranked fourth, third and fifth in qualifying.

Nairn and Stona compete again on Thursday, August 4, at the end of their respective events.

Arkansas alum Kemar Mowatt of Jamaica was scheduled to race in the prelims of the 400m hurdles on Tuesday but did not start due to an injury.

On Wednesday at the Commonwealth Games, Razorback alum Dominique Scott races in the 10,000m final at 12:10 pm (CT). After competing in a pair of Olympic Games, two World Outdoor Championships and one World Indoor Championship, this will be Scott’s debut at the Commonwealth Games.

Athletics Weekly predicts a Kenyan 1-2 finish in the 10k with Irene Cheptai and Sheila Kiprotich as they chase the Games record of 31:27.83 set in 2002. Scotland’s Eilish McColgan is the selection for bronze while Scott is tabbed to finish among the top eight.

In Cali, incoming Arkansas freshman Grant Williams will race in the first round of the 400m hurdles on Wednesday. Williams will run in lane 8 in the second of seven heats. The top three finishers in each heat, plus the next three fastest times will qualify to the semifinal.

World U20 Championships | Cali, Columbia | Schedule (CT)

Monday | August 3

10:25 a.m. Preliminary 400m Hurdles Grant Williams

Thursday | August 4

11:00 am Triple Jump qualification Jaydon Hibbert
4:40 p.m. 400m Hurdles semifinal (Grant-Williams)

Friday | August 5

4:45 p.m. 400m Hurdles FINAL (Grant-Williams)
4:55 p.m. Triple Jump FINAL (Jaydon Hibert)

Saturday | August 6

4:25 p.m. 5,000m FINAL Heidi Nielson

Commonwealth Games | Birmingham, England | Schedule (CT)

Monday | August 3

2:00 p.m. 10,000m FINAL Dominic Scott

Thursday | August 4

1:42 p.m. Long Jump FINAL LaQuan Nairn
2:35 p.m. FINAL DISCUSSION Red Stone

Friday | August 5

4:28 a.m. Preliminary 100m Hurdles Cindy Sember
1:05 p.m. Tripel Jump qualification Jah-Nhai Perinchief

Monday | August 7

4:15 a.m. Triple Jump FINAL (Jah-Nhai Perinchief)
4:25 a.m. 100m Hurdles FINAL (Cindy Seember)
1:45 p.m. 5,000m FINAL Dominic Scott

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