TT ATHLETE Tyra Gittens continued her dominant run of form on the American circuit by leaping to silver in the women’s long jump on day-two of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon on Thursday.
The Texas A&M junior athlete recorded her longest distance of 6.68 metres on her sixth attempt. University of Texas at Austin’s Tara Davis won gold with her 6.70 metre jump while Georgia’s Jasmine Moore grabbed bronze with her 6.65 metre leap.
Gittens has, however, already qualified for the Tokyo Games in the long jump having surpassed the 6.82 metre Olympic standard with a 6.96 metre effort at the South Eastern Conference (SEC) Outdoor Track and Field Championships three weeks ago.
The 22-year-old returned to action at noon on Friday for the opening four events of the heptathlon; 100 metre hurdles, high jump, shot put and 200 metres.
The heptathlon is Gittens’ pet event and this weekend’s NCAA Championships serves as her final chance to secure Olympic qualification in the multi-sport event. On Saturday, she completes the heptathlon with the long jump, javelin throw and 800 metres.
To qualify for the Olympic heptathlon, Gittens must amass a total of 6,420 points after all seven events. Two weeks ago, in a multiple record-breaking performance at the SEC Championships, she just missed out on Tokyo qualification by earning 6,418 points in a golden performance.
Akanni Hislop and his LSU 4x100m relay team also compete for a podium place in the men’s final from 5.02 pm on Friday. Hislop’s team clocked 38.66 seconds and earned the fastest time heading into the final.
Dwight St Hillaire (Kentucky) also goes for gold in the men’s 400 metre final one hour later. He finished second in heat three in 45.68 seconds, the sixth fastest heading into the final.
Meanwhile on Thursday, Mississippi State’s Tyriq Horsford just missed out on medalling in the men’s javelin as he finished fourth with a season’s best throw of 75.95 metres.