Crunch time! - Jackson, Russell, Dacres among 16 Jamaicans in Diamond League finals
After the staging of the Birmingham leg of the IAAF Diamond League on Saturday, the 12th and final in the series, the finalists for the respective events have been now decided. Athletes will contest the finals over two days with the Zurich Meet in Switzerland on Thursday, August 30, and the Brussels Meet in Belgium the following day.
It will be a historic moment for Jamaican athletes as a record 16 have qualified for the finals - with 10 females and six males - where the winners of each event will receive a cash prize of US$50,000 (just under J$7 million). Leading up to these finals winners of individual events at the respective 12 meets were rewarded with $10,000 (just over J$1 million) each.
Shericka Jackson, Janieve Russell and Fedrick Dacres topped their respective events and will be hoping to carry their good form to the finals in their bids to walk away with the top prizes. They will also have more motivation as the winners of their respective events will be given wild-card entries to next year's IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
Russell, who topped the women's 400m hurdles field with 36 points, will be in action in Zurich along with three of her countrywomen. Kimberly Williams, who ended second in the triple jump with 26 points, and Shanieka Ricketts, who was fourth with 16 points, will contest the women's triple jump finals. Women's 800m national record holder Natoya Goule, who ended fifth on 17 points, will contest the women's 800m finals.
Jamaica will be well represented in Brussels, where 12 of the country's athletes will be in action, led by event leaders Jackson and Dacres.
Jackson, who finished fourth in the 200m in Birmingham last Saturday, will contest the women's half-lap event, where she is the joint leader on 28 points, with the United States' Jenna Prandini, who finished fifth in Birmingham.
World leader, Commonwealth Games and NACAC champion Dacres will be hoping for his first Diamond trophy in the Men's discus, where he is the top man, with 25 points .
A record three Jamaicans will contest the men's 110m hurdles, where Commonwealth Games champion Ronald Levy was the best-placed among his countrymen after ending on 24 points and third overall. World and Olympic champion Omar McLeod was next with 20 points and fifth overall, while NACAC champion Hansle Parchment was seventh overall after ending on 16 points.
The other Jamaicans down to compete in Brussels are sprint hurdler Danielle Williams, who will contest the women's 100m hurdles after finishing third overall with 23 points; Danniel Thomas-Dodd, fourth in the women's shot put with 14 points; Stephenie Ann McPherson, seventh in the women's 400m with 12 points; Yohan Blake, sixth in the men's 100m with 14 points; and Aisha Praught-Leer, ninth in the women's 3000m steeplechase with nine points. Tajay Gayle, eighth in the men's long jump with eight points, will close off the Jamaicans participation .