Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Big 100m hurdles clash in Rome

Published:Tuesday | June 2, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Sharika Nelvis of the United States
Australia's Sally Pearson (left) and American Brianna Rollins.
Jasmin Stowers

There?ll be Jamaicans aplenty in this Thursday?s Rome Diamond League meet.

Led by World 200 champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and reigning Diamond League 400 metre champion Novlene Williams-Mills, the Jamaicans will be in the mix in the sprints. There are, however, a couple of other events that will grab their share of attention. One of those events is the women?s 100 metre hurdles.

America?s Jasmin Stowers has been storming through the season, with quick silver world leading times of 12.40, 12.39 and 12.35 seconds respectively. She takes on a stellar field that includes World Champion Brianna Rollins, Olympic champion Sally Pearson of Australia and last year?s world number-one Dawn Harper-Nelson. Remarkably her main threat may come from a rival she knows well. Last year, when Stowers was a final year student-athlete at Louisiana State University, she lost the NCAA Championship to fellow American Sharika Nelvis, then of Arkansas State.

While Stowers has beaten Nelvis this year, the latter zoomed forward in Ostrava last week. Her winning time there, 12.55 seconds, was just 0.01 off the personal best of 12.54 she set behind Stowers in Doha. Given the rainy 13 degree Celsius weather she experienced in Ostrava, Nelvis may be ready for a big effort in the Eternal City.

Both Stowers and Nelvis ended their college careers with personal best times of 12.71 seconds.

Rollins won last year?s race in Rome in 12.53 seconds, 0.01 ahead of Harper-Nelson, the 2008 Olympic champion.

The 400 metre hurdles should also be fascinating. Janieve Russell, the 2012 World Junior champion, faces 2011 World Champion Lashinda Demus of the USA, Olympic finalist Georganne Moline and the woman who was one place ahead of her bronze medal effort at last year?s Commonwealth Games, Eilidh Child of Great Britain. Russell won the 2015 Intercollegiate title for the University of Technology earlier this season. In this company, there is a chance that her lifetime best in the 400 hurdles - 54.75 - could be approached in Rome.