Sun | Jan 21, 2018

Showdown in Oslo!

Published:Thursday | June 9, 2016 | 12:00 AMDania Bogle

OSLO, Norway:

THOUGH they've met several times since the 2015 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships 200m final over varying lengths, people just can't seem to get enough of seeing an Elaine Thompson-Dafne Schippers matchup.

It's one of the highlights of today's seventh Diamond League meeting - the Exxon Mobil Bislett Games at the Bislett Stadium, here this evening.

Since the pair met in Beijing where Schippers won, locals have been spoiling to see the Jamaican beat Schippers over 200m. She hasn't done so yet.

Schippers claimed the 60m silver at the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon in March ahead of Thompson and at the Eugene Diamond League on May 28, Schippers was again ahead, this time over 200m, both finishing behind the United States' Tori Bowie.


Today may be different, however, as Thompson has been in stunning form in the 100m, leading the Diamond Race in the event after a 10.87 clocking in Rome last week .

"I think we surprised ourselves in Beijing. It was a perfect race for us and both very good times and very special. We are both very young," Schippers said when asked if she believed she held a psychological advantage over Thompson.

This will be the final Diamond League meet for both athletes before their respective championships later this month, for Thompson the National Championships and Schippers, the European Championships.

"It's like a stepping stone for me to see where I am at and take it from here to the Jamaican championships," said Thompson.

Schippers admitted that she will not be competing in the 200m at the European Championships as the workload would prove too much.

Neither athlete wanted to give predictions on their time, but Schippers harbours a secret hope of breaking the meet record 21.94 set in 1994 by the United States' Gwen Torrence.

"Last year at the World Championships I had a big PB, but my main focus is to go out there and do my best," added Thompson.

Three other Jamaicans will be in action today.

Novlene Williams-Mills and Stephenie-Ann McPherson will meet in the women's 400m. The pair, who ran the third leg and anchor on Jamaica's World Championships gold medal 4x400m team last August, were fourth in their last Diamond League 400m races; Williams-Mills in Shanghai in early May, and McPherson in Eugene at the end of May.

McPherson admitted that she is working towards the National Championships later this month, but is still looking forward to executing well today.

"I don't really know where I'm at right now because of training, and I don't really prepare for a regular track meet. I always prepare for championships, but I'm pretty confident I will go out there and execute a good race," she told The Gleaner.

"My main focus is to make the team, and I'm working towards that," she added of the Jamaica team to the Olympics in Rio.

O'Dayne Richards continues his rebound from surgery in March and after throwing a season's best 20.54 metres at the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association All-comers meet last weekend, is hoping to throw a similar distance here today, where he comes up against the likes of Poland's Tomas Majewski and the United States Joe Kovacs in the men's shot put.

Majewski, the reigning two-time Olympic champion, threw 20.84m at the Golden Spike meet in Ostrava, while Kovacs has thrown 22.13m.

"I would want to perform at or better than the 20.54m that I threw on the weekend," Richards, who said he still has residual knee pain, told The Gleaner.

The women's 100m hurdles should also prove exciting, as it features the last two Olympic champions, Dawn Harper-Nelson of the United States and Sally Pearson of Australia, both looking to build on form ahead of the Rio Games in August.

The stacked field includes the 2013 World Champion, Brianna Rollins, Jasmin Stowers and Britain's Tiffany Porter.

Kim Collins, who continues to turn back the clock with his wins this season, lines up in the men's 100m with Pan American champion Andre de Grasse, Mike Rodgers and 2014 European silver medallist, Cristophe Lemaitre, of France.

De Grasse is also coming off a confidence-boosting win in the 200m, in Birmingham on Sunday where Collins, who turns 40 this year, won the 100m.