Sat | Mar 24, 2018

Levy shines in Paris

Published:Sunday | July 2, 2017 | 12:00 AMRaymond Graham
Ronald Levy
Jamaica's Elaine Thompson (second right) winning the women's 100 metres in 10.91 seconds at the IAAF Diamond League meet at Charlety Stadium, in Paris, France yesterday. Marie-Josee Ta Lou (right) of Cote d'Ivoire was second in 10.96 while Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria (not in photograph) was third in 11.09. Fourth was Murielle Ohoure (second left) of Cote d'Ivoire in 11.10.

PARIS, France:

One of the season's most improved athletes, sprint hurdler Ronald Levy, surprised a class field yesterday to win the 110 metres hurdles at yesterday's seventh leg of the Diamond League series at the Charlety Stadium in Paris.

Levy's victory was one of three for Jamaica at the meet. Olympic champion Elaine Thompson maintained her fine form to win the women's 100m while veteran Novlene Williams-Mills won the 400 metres.

In a career-best effort, Levy defeated a field that included the 2016 Olympic champion, Jamaica's Omar McLeod, and Sergey Shubenkov, who won gold for Russia at the 2015 World championships.

Drawn in Lane Eight, Levy was out of the blocks very fast, running his cleanest race all season to take the win in 13.05 seconds. It was also personal best for second-place finisher Andrew Pozzi of Great Britain in 13.14, as hometown boy Garfield Darien was third in 13.15. American Devon Allen was disqualified for false-starting while McLeod had to settle for seventh in 13.41, his first loss of the season after complaining of calf problems before and during the race. Earlier, Hansle Parchment failed to advance to the finals after finishing fourth in his heat in 13.41.

Levy was elated with his win and the new personal best.

"After the Trials, I found out my mistakes and my coach worked these out. I just went out to execute what I was taught, and I love Lane Eight because this is the lane where I do much of my workouts," said Levy, who stated that he was nervous in the preliminary round.

"In the heats, I did not do that well because it was my first time competing in Europe, and I was nervous, but in the final, I stayed focused, and the result was a big win," he said.

It was a chilly evening in the French capital, but this did not stop the progress of Olympic double-sprint champion Thompson, who was competing in Paris for the first time. She ran a controlled race to cross the line in 10.91, getting the better of Diamond League leader Marie-Josee Talou of CÙte d'Ivoire, 10.96, and Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare, 11.10. Jamaica's Christania Williams was sixth in 11.22.

Coming off a fast 10.71 at the National Senior Championships, Thompson was happy with the win.

"I am happy with the win and also pleased with my time as this is my first time competing in Paris, and after a long flight, I think I did well," said Thompson.

Earlier, Williams Mills scored the first win for Jamaica on the night, winning the 400m in 51.03. Getting out of the blocks quickly in lane four, covered Shericka Jackson, the National champion, in Lane Five, and maintained her form well throughout. American Courtney Okolo was second in 51.19, while Jackson ended third in 51.91. Stephenie McPherson withdrew from the race after being injured during her warm-up.

Despite the slow winning time, Williams Mills, the new leader in the event with 20 points, was satisfied with her performance.

"I just came from the Trials, so I wanted to run a good time, but a win is a win," said Williams Mills.

There was a top-three finish for Rasheed Dwyer in the men's 200m. He was third in 20.47 as Turkey's Ramil Guliyev won in 20.15, with veteran Churandy Martina of the Netherlands placing second in 20.27.

Julian Forte (10.26) was fifth in the men's 100m, won in 9.99 by Ben Meite of Cote d'Ivoire, while Aisha Praught placed seventh in the women's 3,000 metres steeplechase in 9:20.38. The event was won in 9:01.69 by Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya.