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V.I. Athletes Reach New Heights at Olympic Games

The Virgin Islands’ last three Olympic hopefuls came up short Tuesday, ending their participation in the London Games, but not before the territory saw its athletes score some significant firsts.

Laverne Jones-Ferrette and Allison Peter became the first two Virgin Islanders to compete in the semifinals of the same event. Both qualified Monday for Tuesday’s semifinals of the women’s 200-meter race, a first since the territory began competing in the Olympics in 1968.

In the first semifinal race, Peter ran only 1.3 seconds second slower than the winner, but that tiny fraction was the difference between first place, run by Veronica Campbell Brown in 22.32 seconds. Peter finished in seventh place, out of contention for the finals. Peter finished with a time of 23.35.

Jones-Ferrette finished fourth in her heat, running the 200 meters in 22.62 seconds. The heat was won by Allyson Felix of the United States in a time of 22.31.

The top two finishers in each of the three heats move on to Wednesday’s finals, along with the next two fastest competitors. The eight women running in Wednesday’s final will be Jamaica’s Campbell-Brown, Carmelita Jeter and Felix of the U.S., Semoy Hackett of Trinidad and Tobago, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, Sanya Richards-Ross of the U.S., Myriam Soumare of France and Murielle Ahoure of Cte d’Ivoire.

The territory’s Muhammad Halim sailed 16.39 meters in his round of the preliminaries in the men’s triple jump, which was good for ninth place.

Of the eight men who will compete in Thursday’s final, the shortest preliminary leap was 16.92 meters by China’s Bin Dong. Also reaching the finals were Leevan Sands of the Bahamas, a pair of Americans – Christian Taylor and Will Clay – and Haitian jumper Samyr Laine.

Earlier this week, Tabarie Henry became the first Virgin Islander to reach the finals of the men’s 400 meters. Henry ran a season best time of 45.19, finishing 12th of the 51 runners taking part.

All results reported from the Sports Illustrated website, http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/olympics/2012/schedules/by_sport/track.html#August07

Additional information supplied by Wallace Williams of the Virgin Islands Track and Field Federation.

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