Confident McLeod, Thompson ready for Paris tests
Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Omar McLeod will lead 11 Jamaicans into action today when the seventh leg of the IAAF Diamond League series continues with the Meeting de Paris leg at Stade Charlety in Paris.
Both Thompson and McLeod, who will be competing in the 100 metres and the 110-metre hurdles, respectively, will be hoping to maintain their winning records this season and are both full of confidence heading into the meet.
"I am very pleased with my season so far. I started very well in Jamaica with a strong race in the 400 metres. I got a new PB and I ran 10.78 at the Shanghai Diamond League. then I have been able to run even faster in Kingston (10.71)," said Thompson.
FOCUSED ON SELF
The meet record in the event is 10.74 seconds set by her former training partner, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, in 2015. Asked if she was targeting this mark, her response was: "I am not focusing on time as I am more focused on me staying in my own lane and executing well. I try to surprise myself at every race, and I cannot say anything about a time before a competition."
In the event, which will get under way at 1:03 p.m. Jamaican time, she will be joined by countrywoman Christania Williams, who is yet to hit top form this season, along with Diamond Race leader Marie-Josee Talou of the Ivory Coast and her teammate, Murielle Ahoure, along with the United States' Morolake Akinosun, who finished fourth at their recent National Senior Championships.
Since his arrival in Paris some three days ago, there has been a buzz around sprint hurdles world leader and national record holder McLeod (12.90 seconds) ,with high expectations that he will threaten Aries Merritt's 12.80 seconds world record.
The meet record of 12.88 seconds, set by Cuba's Dayron Robles in 2008, will also be in the Jamaican's sights.
The opportunity is right for McLeod to do so as seven of the athletes ranked in the top 10 in the world in the event will be in action among a big field, which has resulted in the athletes running two rounds - the preliminaries early in the evening at 12:20 p.m. before the finals at 2:25 p.m..
The likes of countrymen Ronald Levy with a season best of 13.10 seconds and Hansle Parchment (13.19) along with a trio of hometown athletes led by new world number two Garfield Darien, who is coming off a season best 13.09 seconds in mid-week after winning in Ostrava along with the United States' Devon Allen and defending world champion Sergey Shubenkov are all expected to make this the race of the meet.
"I am in good shape. that's obvious. I've just gotten a new PB as I am faster than ever. This season, I have to confess that the WR is on my mind. I hope to be able to beat it before the end of the season, but I don't want to target it at each meet. I don't need this kind of pressure," McLeod said.
- 1:03 p.m. Women's 400m: Shericka Jackson, Novlene Williams-Mills, Stephenie McPherson
- 1:29 p.m. Women's 100m - Elaine Thompson, Christania Williams
- 1:50 p.m.: Men's 100m - Julian Forte
- 2:00 p.m.: Women's 3000m Steeplechase - Aisha Praught
- 2:25p.m.: Men's 110m hurdles - Omar McLeod, Hansle Parchment, Ronald Levy
- 2:52 p.m.: Men's 200m - Rasheed Dwyer