Brights starts indoor for McLeod, Thomas-Dodd
Hurdler supreme Omar McLeod and rising shot put star Danniel Thomas-Dodd launched their 2018 seasons with bright performances at the weekend. McLeod, the reigning World Indoor 60m hurdles champion, dominated his event at a meet in Kentucky, while Thomas-Dodd was in the same mood in Ohio. Elsewhere in the United States, there were wins for Jamaicans in Texas and Arkansas.
McLeod zipped to a time of 7.53 seconds after strolling through his heat in 7.73 seconds at the Kentucky Invitational. The race is apparently a tune-up for his usual run at the Millrose Games in New York, where he skipped to victory in 7.46 seconds last year.
His American training partner Kendra Harrison was just as impressive in the ladies event and produced a fine time of 7.82 seconds. In the same meet, former Holmwood Technical High School student athlete Latavia Coombs bounced 12.84m to win the triple jump for the University of Kentucky.
A STAR IN THE MAKING
Edrick Floreal, the university's head coach, formed a high opinion of Coombs when she was at New Mexico Junior College. "We started recruiting her as a freshman and quickly realised she had a lot of potential", he said. "You're starting to see her tap into that and it's exciting. She's going to be a star one day."
Thomas-Dodd, who was fourth at last year's IAAF World Championships in London, produced the longest season-opening throw of her life at the Doug Raymond Invite on the campus of Kent State University. After a first-round foul, she boomed her following attempts out to 17.77, 18.01, 17.90 and 18.21m before ending with another foul. By comparison, her opening marks in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017 were 14.73, 15.83, 16.48 and 17.50m, respectively.
Elsewhere in the United States, Daeshon Gordon, Shakiel Chattoo and Dominique Blake also had encouraging performances. Gordon, the 2015 Pan-American Junior Championship 100m hurdles bronze medallist, took the 60m hurdles at the Ted Nelson Invitational in 8.42 seconds. Chattoo, who holds the Boys and Girls' Championships decathlon record, hurdled to victory at the Arkansas Invitational in 7.84 seconds.
Fourth in that race was 2017 World Championship 400m hurdles finalist Kemar Mowatt.
In that same Arkansas meet, Blake clocked 53.25 seconds to win the 400m.