Despite being a major doubt due to injury, Jaheel Hyde, the past World and Youth Olympic 110-metre hurdles champion, thinks Dejour Russell is heading for big things at the 2017 staging of Boys and Girls’ Championships (Champs), should the 16-year-old compete this week. Speaking at the recent Carifta Trials, Hyde described the Calabar Class 1 athlete as fantastic. Hyde and Russell were teammates at last year’s World Under-20 Championships, where the former defended his 400m hurdles title and the latter stunned with a time of 13.20 seconds in the 110m hurdles preliminary round before placing fourth in the final. That time is 0.04 faster than the Champs record set by current Olympic champion Omar McLeod while he was at Kingston College (KC) in 2013. Though a slow start doomed Russell in the World Under-20 final, he had rarely hurdled over the 36-inch height used for that age group. As a Class 2 athlete last year, he negotiated hurdles set at a height of 33 inches, the same as those which Hyde flew over to set the world best of 12.96 seconds in 2014. Hyde revealed, “I actually spoke to him last week,” the former Wolmerian said, “and, you know, I gave him some pointers because, you know, they are records and records should be broken, and if anybody should be breaking a record, I think it should be him.” Describing Russell as a friend, he asserted, “So I think he’s a fantastic athlete and I think he will get it this year.” Not only could Russell break McLeod’s Champs record, but at this year’s World Under-18 Championships, he could make a run at the 13 second barrier. ‘BEST IN THE WORLD’ Hyde isn’t the only one to see the potential in the Calabar boy. Earlier in the season, veteran hurdles coach Raymond Graham offered the same sentiment. He labelled Russell ‘the best in the world in his age group’ and likened him to McLeod, whom Graham coached at KC. “I worked with Omar at KC”, he said, “and he’s now a World champion, Olympic champion and I see Dejour in a few years reaching the same pinnacle.” So far this season, Russell has run 13.31 seconds in the under 18 event and 13.45 with the barriers set at the Under-20 Class 1 height. Unfortunately, reports have emerged on the eve of Champs of an injury niggle that will rule Russell out of the class 1 110m where he was also favoured for a medal.
Romelu Lukaku’s first European goal of the season and Kevin Mirallas’ precise finish cemented Everton’s position at the top of Group H, after a 2-0 win against Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena.The hosts were left to rue some wasteful finishing in a largely dominant display, but Lukaku’s composed strike gave the Toffees the lead ahead of the break.And after a barrage of attacks from the home side – which included two goals ruled out for offside – Everton’s clinical counter-attack secured their victory as Mirallas wrapped up all three points with a neat finish 15 minutes from time.The fate of Roberto Martinez’s side was already decided prior to kick-off, following the draw between Lille and Krasnodar, but the result means the Blues will progress into the knockout stage as group winners.The German side started well with Ivan Perisic involved in two early chances. The Croatian midfielder narrowly missed Nicklas Bendtner in the six yard area with a drilled cross, before heading a difficult opportunity over the bar inside the opening five minutes.Wolfsburg’s form has seen them soar to second in the Bundesliga after a run of just one defeat in their previous seven league games, and it showed as Kevin de Bruyne neatly dissected the Toffees defence although the lively Perisic was unable to beat the on-rushing Tim Howard.Yet, despite the early pressure, it was the visitors who came closest to the first goal when Sylvain Distin headed Luke Garbett’s corner against the crossbar.But Wolfsburg responded immediately as Aaron Hunt’s thunderous attempt brought the best out of Howard, who clawed the ball away with an acrobatic save.Everton were then let off the hook after the referee’s assistant wrongly ruled out Perisic’s close range finish for offside.It was proving to be a much tougher task for Roberto Martinez’s men, who cruised to a 4-1 win in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park, and it was only for a superb block from Phil Jagielka which prevented De Bruyne’s shot from opening the scoring.But it was 23-year-old’s fellow Belgium international Lukaku who broke the deadlock, calmly slotting home his sixth goal of the season two minutes before the interval.Lukaku combined well with Mirallas, who cleverly flicked on Leon Osman’s searching past, before the 21-year-old showed power, skill and precision – shrugging off Bernard Malanda-Adje with ease before guiding the ball past Diego Benaglio.De Bruyne showed his skill and flair during a period of intense pressure from Wolfsburg after the restart, twisting and turning his way past Distin and Garbutt before striking against the legs of Howard.And the officials revoked another Wolfsburg goal from the resulting corner when Bendtner’s header was ruled out after the Danish international strayed into an offside position.Everton should have doubled their lead when Aiden McGeady was presented with a simple chance from eight yards out, but the winger could only spoon the ball wide of the mark after Benaglio had saved Lukaku’s low strike.The chances kept on coming for the home side but Howard was equal to De Bruyne’s ambitious attempt, before Naldo unconvincingly hammered the ball over the bar from a corner.And Wolfsburg were soon to rue their wasteful finishing when Mirallas raced through secure a 2-0 lead.Lukaku turned provider with a superb assist, guiding the ball through a disjointed Wolfsburg defence, before Mirallas fired the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.The Bundesliga outfit responded immediately after the goal as veteran striker Ivica Olic headed agonisingly wide, before Disitn’s timely intervention cut out Daniel Caligiuri’s low cross.And Ross Barkley almost added some gloss to the scoreline for the Blues, but his rasping strike was ruled out for offside. Romelu Lukaku scores for Everton 1