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Yohan Blake took the gold in the men’s 100-m at the 2017 Jamaica Invitational. (JII Facebook image)

By NAN Contributor

News Americas, KINGSTON, Jamaica, Mon. May 22, 2017: Eight athletes from across the Caribbean, including six from Jamaica, claimed gold on Saturday at the prestigious Jamaica International Invitational IWC meet, held in the island’s capital, Kingston. They are:

1: Jamaican Olympian Yohan Blake ensured the 100-m gold title stayed in Jamaica as he beat back the US’ Ronnie Baker and Mike Rogers to take the win. Blake sent a strong reminder that he will be a clear and present danger this season after he cruised to a 9.93 season’s best for his first victory of 2017.

“I’ve been working hard and wanting to run for so long,” said Blake, a long-time training partner of Usain Bolt’s.

2: Jamaican Olympian Elaine Thompson beat back compatriot Shericka Jackson and the US’ Shalonda Solomon to take the win in the women’s 200-m. Thompson underlined her imperious early season form with a strong run  to equal the world lead and establish a new meeting record.

“I just listened to coach’s instruction, he told me to come off the curve as early as possible and control my race from there,” Thompson said. “It’s been a hectic season. I’m coming all the way from Shanghai to come here and run another fast time. I just need to continue to stay focused and put in the work.”

3: Jamaica’s Demish Gaye beat out   Kévin Borlée of Belarus and Tony McQuay of the US to win gold in the 400-m. Gaye took a 45.08 win over Borlee and McQuay, who clocked 45.52 and 45.73, respectively.

4: The British Virgin Islands’ Kyron McMaster won the gold in the men’s 400 Metres Hurdles ahead of Jamaica’s Jaheel Hyde and the US’ Bershawn Jackson. Twenty-year old McMaster  put on a masterful display in the men’s 400m hurdles and was responsible for the biggest shock of the night when he dispatched, with consummate ease, a world class field en route to a national record and world leading 47.80.

5: Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres won gold in the men’s Discus Throw ahead of the US’ Andrew Evans.

6: Jamaica’s Novlene Williams-Mills won over the US’ Phyllis Francis and Natasha Hastings in the women’s 400-m. Williams-Mills brought the home crowd to its feet with an emotional victory in the women’s 400m clocking 50.54. The 35-year-old, who’ll be retiring after this season, had not won this event since 2012.

“It feels good to come home and run a fantastic race one last time. I think I’ve done enough for the past 10 years and it’s time to walk away,” said Williams-Mills with a tinge of sadness and finality.

7: Aisha Praught of Jamaica took the gold in the women’s 3000 Metres Steeplechase ahead of the US’ Sarah Pease and Jessica Kamilos.

8: St. Lucia’s Levern Spencer beat Canada’s Alyxandria Treasure and the USA’s Brigetta Barrett to take gold in the women’s high jump.

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