Tue | Jun 18, 2019

Through the pain - McLeod takes Diamond League win after aunt’s passing, while Gayle impresses in long jump

Published:Sunday | May 19, 2019 | 12:37 AMAndré Lowe - Sports Editor

(From left) Jamaica’s Omar McLeod, Xie Wenjun (China), and Antonio Alkana of South Africa compete in the men’s 110m hurdles during the Diamond League Track and Field meet in Shanghai, China. McLeod won in 13.12 seconds.
(From left) Jamaica’s Omar McLeod, Xie Wenjun (China), and Antonio Alkana of South Africa compete in the men’s 110m hurdles during the Diamond League Track and Field meet in Shanghai, China. McLeod won in 13.12 seconds.

Jamaica’s Olympic and World Championships 110m hurdles gold medal winner Omar McLeod was a picture of emotions after enduring the pain of his aunt’s death a day earlier to win the event at the Shanghai Diamond League meet yesterday.

McLeod, who dedicated his 13.12 seconds win to his aunt, shared his struggles dealing with her passing, pointing out that he knew he had to run despite her death because that is what she would have wanted.

“It was difficult for me mentally to compete today. My auntie Tracey died yesterday, but then I asked myself what would she want, and she would want me to race. It was hard today. I just wanted to finish, win, and get the job done. When I crossed the line, I started crying. I dedicate my win tonight in her memory,” McLeod said.

Homeboy Wenjun Xie, who was wearing a kit that was gifted to him by legendary Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang, clocked a personal best time of 13.17 seconds for second place with Sergey Shubenkov, 13.28, taking third place.

Ever-improving long jumper Tajay Gayle, who finished fourth in the finale last season, secured his second win in his last four Diamond League appearances with a solid 8.24m effort.

Gayle was thrilled with the result and believes he is primed to deliver much more as the season progresses.

MORE TO COME

“I am excited by the performance, especially to win a Diamond League and so early in the season. I was not expecting to jump as far as my PB today because I have been lifting some heavy weights. I am talented, and I work hard and I think I have more to come,” said Gayle after his event.

Gayle’s PB stands at 8.30m.

Second place went to Jianan Wang, 8.16m, in front of his own fans, while South Africa’s Ruswahl Samaii, 8.14m, took third place. Damar Forbes failed to register a mark.

Olympic double sprint champion Elaine Thompson ran third in the women’s 100m with a time of 11.14 seconds in her first outing in the event this season, finishing behind young American Aleia Hobbs, 11.03, and Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, 11.07.

The Jamaican admitted that she was expecting more from herself and noted that she would be looking for improvements in her next assignment.

“I was expecting to perform better,” said Thompson. “I liked the audience and atmosphere inside the stadium, and in the following races of the season, I will be seeking better performances.”

There were fourth-place finishes for Stephenie-Ann McPherson, 51.39, and Nathon Allen, 45.73, in their respective 400m events.

McPherson finished behind Bahrain’s Salwa Eid Naser, 50.65; American Sydney McLaughlin, 50.78; and Christine Botlogetswe (Botswana), 51.29.

Fred Kerley continues to show his class, taking the male equivalent in 44.81, to lead home a USA top-three sweep, with Michael Cherry, 45.48, and Nathan Strother, 45.52, running second and third.

Danniel Thomas-Dodd could only manage 18.54m on a rough day in the women’s shot put, which was won by world leader Chase Ealey, 19.58m, while Tyquendo Tracey’s 10.18 seconds gave him ninth place in the 100m.

andre.lowe@gleanerjm.com