Taylor motivated after beating Merritt
In the current topsy-turvy environment of world athletics since sprinting legend Usain Bolt retired from the sport, schoolboy Christopher Taylor reminded everyone that Jamaica is still the place to look for track and field's greatest as he defeated LaShawn Merritt, one of the most decorated athletes in history, in the 200m at the Jamaica International Invitational Meet on Saturday night.
Taylor, running blindly from lane seven, led from start to finish to win the race in 20.49 seconds. Merritt, whom the Calabar High School athlete admits he looks up to, was second in 20.60 seconds while South African, Anaso Jobodwana, secured the third spot in 20.70 seconds.
"It is a motivation for me going forward," Taylor told reporters after the race. "I was entered against the big boys and I came out victorious. It is just motivation for me going into World Juniors."
Merritt, who has won multiple world titles over the 400m, had high praises for the 18 year old.
"He is a great competitor. I have seen him run some 400m. I knew he was ready to come the 200m in front of his home crowd. I congratulate him, " Merritt said. "I have some things going on with my body, so I wasn't gonna come here, but I love it here so much I did all I could do to get my body prepared to come run this race. It's great here, there always some young talents."
In the women's equivalent, Shericka Jackson pulled out a late surge to run past Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria to win in 22.55 seconds. Okagbare registered 22.66 while Phyllis Francis of the USA finished third in 22.76 seconds.
"I don't think I left it too late. I am a quarter- miler so I knew I could run back and it is always good to try new things," Jackson said.
The former Vere Technical athlete also announced that she will not be running her pet event, the 400m, for the remainder of the season as she continues her attempt to increase her speed for the one lap event.
"The aim is just to concentrate on the 200m because I don't think I will be running the 400m for the rest of the season. It is always speed and strength in the 400m so the faster I can get, I think it will work for me," Jackson said.
Double Olympic gold medallists Elaine Thompson cruised to a comfortable win in the women's 100m in 11.06 seconds. Veteran sprinter, Kerron Stewart finished second in 11.25 seconds while Natasha Morrison was third in 11.26.
Thompson, who was scheduled to run the 200m, opted for the shorter distance as she is still battling an injury to her achilles tendon. "I have been battling this achilles injury and it is very difficult to pull from the blocks but I am coping," Thompson said after the race.
Ronnie Baker, the fastest man in the world, won the men's equivalent in 10 seconds flat. His countryman, Mike Rodgers, finished close behind with 10.04 seconds. Tyquendo Tracey of Jamaica was third in 10.11 seconds.