Jones-Ferrette advances to 100 meter semis
Published: August 4, 2012
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LONDON - For U.S. Virgin Islands sprinter Laverne Jones-Ferrette and Murielle Ahoure of Ivory Coast, it was just another special day at the office.
The pair trained together in Houston before the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, and when they saw they would be matched up in the same Round 1 heat for the women's 100 meters in London, they were actually happy.
"We push each other everyday in practice and we did it again today," Jones-Ferrette said.
Ahoure took first and Jones-Ferrette was second in their heat as each advanced to today's semifinal. More importantly, each sprinter also set personal best times and broke national records on Friday.
Jones-Ferrette finished the 100-meter race in 11.07 seconds while Ahoure clocked a 10.99.
"I can't believe it - what a great way to start off these Games," said the 30-year-old Jones-Ferrette, who is making her third straight Olympic appearance. "I'm just so thrilled right now. A personal best and a national record? It's been a long climb back so I'm excited for tomorrow."
Three women's 100-meter semifinals are scheduled for 2:30 p.m. today as the top eight overall times will move on to the finals at 4:55 p.m.
USVI sprinter Allison Peter and Tahesia Harrigan-Scott of the British Virgin Islands were also in action but were not able to advance to the semifinals.
Jones-Ferrette and Ahoure even raced in the lanes right next to each other in the seventh and final 100-meter heat of the day.
"It was just like practice," the 24-year-old Ahoure said. "I had Lavern on my right like always and we just sprinted down the track together. I love running with her."
Even before the speedsters cruised through the finish line, they already had their eyes set on the electronic scoreboard high above Olympic Stadium. As they decelerated, their shared demeanor appeared professional and somewhat stern.
But when the times flashed on the board and the public announcer alerted the sold-out crowd of two national records falling in the same heat, both women hugged each other and exploded with joy.
"I mean, that's my training partner and we both hit personal bests," said Jones-Ferrette, who advanced to the finals and finished eighth in the same event at the 2011 Pan American Games last October. "This is huge for both of us. It was great I could do this by her side."
Running in Lane 6, Jones-Ferrette said she stumbled a little bit off the starting block but recovered quickly.
"That happens, but I was able to keep my composure," she said. "I felt it, then just kept pumping my arms and stayed in the race. It's really just about staying focused."
She took some motivational words to a literal sense.
Before the race she wrote the words "focus, execute, relax" with a black marker on both of her wrists. She showed them off after the race and said she wanted to get the words tattooed permanently.
"No, I'm just kidding, but I looked down right before the race and it really helped me," said Jones-Ferrette, who will also compete in the women's 200-meter sprint on Monday. "I've done the same thing before in France to keep me grounded. It worked again today."
Peter finishes fifth in 100-meter heat
USVI sprinter Allison Peter made her Olympic debut on Friday but clocked a 11.41 and finished tied for fifth out of eight runners in her Round 1 heat.
Only the top three finishers from each heat moved on, along with three of the remaining best times. Peter's time did not hold up as she did not advance to the today's semifinal.
"It was an OK race but I had an awful block start and that was the difference," said Peter, a Texas University junior, whose personal best in the 100-meter is 11.17. "I'm not too happy, but at the same time, I'm not about to lose my composure. Now it's time just to focus on the 200."
Peter and Jones-Ferrette will each run in Round 1 heats for the women's 200 meters on Monday. At 20 years of age, Peter is one of the youngest athletes to ever represent the territory at the Olympics.
BVI's Harrigan-Scott clocks season best time
Tahesia Harrigan-Scott of the British Virgin Islands ran in Lane 1 in the first Round 1 heat for the women's 100-meter on Friday and did not advance to today's semifinals.
She did finish with a 11.59, however, which was the best time she has run all season.
"And it's been a long season for me with injuries so just being here at the Olympics is a huge accomplishment," Harrigan-Scott said. "I ended with a season best so all I can do is be happy with that."
Harrigan-Scott made history last week when she was the BVI flag-bearer for the Olympic Opening Ceremony for a second straight time.
- Contact sports writer Aaron Gray at 714-9102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.