McLeod impresses in early season sprint showing
Hurdler supreme Omar McLeod did some early-season sprint work in Gainesville, Florida, on the weekend.
McLeod, the Olympic and World 110 metre hurdles champion, started with a close loss in the 200 metres at the Florida Relays, but finished with a win in the 100m.
The meet also saw notable performances from hurdler Shannon Kalawan, thrower Shanice Love and new name Sharrika Barnett.
In his first race of the US outdoor season, McLeod travelled the 200m in 20.49 seconds, only to lose to Steven Gardiner, the tall Bahamian, who was second in the 400m at last year's IAAF World Championships. Gardiner crossed the line in 20.40 seconds. McLeod came back to win the 100m in 10.32 seconds.
Kalawan, the 2016 World Under-20 400-metre hurdles runner-up, took her pet event in 56.99 seconds. That victory follows her indoor NCAA Division Two 400-metre win for St Augustine's University. Love, a student-athlete at Florida State University, improved her season's best in the discus to 57.39 metres. The former Excelsior High School star threw the disc 56.52 metres last week.
Barnett, a 2011 Champs 400-metre Class Three semi-finallist for St Andrew High School, placed second to US wunderkind Sydney McLaughlin. Barnett clocked 50.93 seconds with McLaughlin winning in 50.07. Barnett, who migrated to the USA at age 14, now attends the University of Florida. She reached the final of the NCAA Division One Championships last year.
Friendly winds powered Jamaica's Rushelle Burton and Damion Thomas and Nigeria's sprint queen Blessing Okagbare to fast wins at the Texas Relays on the same weekend in Austin. Burton clocked 12.65 seconds in the event, where she won the silver medal at the 2016 World Under 20 Championships, the 100 metre hurdles. Thomas sped to a matching victory in the 110-metre hurdles in 13.43 seconds. Burton, who now studies and trains at the University of Texas, and Louisiana State University freshman Thomas were aided by winds of 3.3 and 3.6 metres per second.
Okagbare, the reigning Commonwealth 100m and 200m champion, had the help of a 2.7 metre per second tailwind en route to a time of 10.72.