Big 200m clash in Brussels - Thompson eager for Schippers rematch
IAAF World Championships 200m silver medallist Elaine Thompson says she is eager to again test herself against gold-medal winner Dafne Schippers and Olympic champion Allyson Felix at today's series - closing AG Memorial Van Damme Diamond League meet in Brussels, Belgium.
Schippers, who became the third-fastest woman ever in the 200m says she is also looking forward to the double rematch - with Thompson and with Felix, who beat her into second place at this very meet last year.
Thompson and Schippers produced the best 200m race in history, taking each other to the line in Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium with the towering Netherlands heptathlete-turned-sprinter stopping the clock in a championships record 21.63 (+0.2); the fourth-fastest time in history to pip Thompson, who posted 21.66 - the sixth-fastest time ever for silver.
Those were the two fastest times recorded since 1998 with Veronica Campbell-Brown's bronze medal winning 21.97 seconds clocking also meaning that the three fastest times of the year came in that race.
"It's my last 200m of the season, my first time running against (Allyson) Felix and, of course, my second time against (Dafne) Schippers, so I'm looking forward to going out there and doing my best and seeing what I have left in my last 200m and first after the championships," Thompson told The Gleaner yesterday.
"Yes, I am looking forward to the rivalry. Now I am considered a top competitor in the event and people are looking out for me at the meets," added Thompson as she expressed her excitement.
Schippers has become somewhat of a cult hero in these parts and, as she spoke about the difficulty in walking on the streets without being mobbed by fans since her big win in Beijing, she, too, is looking forward to the contest.
"It's very nice to compete with the top girls of the world. Of course, the most important competition was the Worlds but I am also looking forward to facing the top girls again here," said Schippers, who also confirmed that she will no longer compete in the heptathlon and will now focus on the sprints and the long jump in 2016.
Felix's motivation will be her one-point lead in the Diamond Race - a trophy she has not held since 2010, but she is all too aware that fellow American Jeneba Tarmoh and Schippers are both within striking distance.
World Championships finalist Sherone Simpson is also expected to compete in the event.
Eleven other Jamaicans including World Championships shot put bronze medal winner O'Dayne Richards and national 400m record holder Rusheen McDonald are also in Belgium and ready to compete, as are 400m finalists and three-quarters of the gold medal winning 4x400m team - Novlene Williams-Mills, Stephenie-Ann McPherson, and Christine Day, triple jump finalist Kimberly Williams and 100m pair Asafa Powell and Nesta Carter.
Those two will come up against double sprint silver medal winner in Beijing, Justin Gatlin, who will be looking to continue his unbeaten run on the circuit, which stretches back to the beginning of last season. The American is only in need of a top-three finish to claim the Diamond prize in the event.
Gatlin, following Usain Bolt's 11th hour withdrawal from the meet due to fatigue, will also contest the 200m where Jamaicans Nickel Ashmeade and Rasheed Dwyer will be among the competitors.
World champion Christian Taylor (USA) will look to overturn Cuban rival Pedro Pablo Pichardo's two-point lead in the triple jump, while Jasmin Stowers, Sharicka Nelvis and Dawn Harper-Nelson go into the 100m hurdles decider all on 10 points after equally sharing wins in the six rounds of competition in the event.
Schedule for Jamaicans
Men's Shot Put - 11:25am
Women's Triple Jump - 11:40am
Men's 400m - 12:50pm
Men's 100m - 1:14pm
Women's 200m - 1:32pm
Men's 200m - 2:16pm
Nickel Ashmeade, Rasheed Dwyer
Women's 400m - 2:35pm