Fraser-Pryce leads Jamaican brigade in Birmingham
Fifteen Jamaicans led by Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will be in action tomorrow in the 11th series of the Diamond League competition, the Muller Grand Prix in Birmingham.
This will be the penultimate meet in the cash-rich series, before the grand finals in Zurich and Brussels on August 29 and September 6, where individual winners will pocket US$50,000 ($6.7 million).
Fraser-Pryce will be hoping to continue her impressive form this season when she faces a star-studded field in the women’s 200m.
With a season best 22.22 seconds done at the National Senior Championships in June, she will be truly tested here, in a race that features favourite Shaunae Miller-Uibo, who comes in with a season best of 22.09 seconds. Home girl Dina Asher Smith, 22.18, Nigeria’s Blessing Okagbare, 22.05, Diamond League leader, Dafne Schippers, 22.45, and the Ivory Coast’s Marie-Josee Ta Lou, who has a season best of 22.36 seconds, will all feature in what is sure to be an exciting clash.
The women’s 100m hurdles, which will have a preliminary round and a final, will also share centre stage among the females, as all the top athletes in the event this season will be involved.
CLASH WITH HARRISON
Five Jamaicans, led by world leader Danielle Williams (12.32 seconds), are set to face the starter.
Williams has been in fantastic form this season and her clash with world record holder, the unbeaten Kendra Harrison of the United States, who has so far gone 12.43 seconds this year, could pull both athletes to something special. With the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) on Thursday declaring her eligible for selection to the World Championships in Doha, Williams will be running under less pressure and it will be interesting to see how this affects her race.
Fellow Jamaicans, Janeek Brown, with a season and personal best 12.40 seconds, along with Megan Tapper, Yanique Thompson and Jeanine Williams, will also be hoping for good performances. The United States’ Nia Ali and Brianna McNeal, as well as Nigeria’s Tobi Amusen, should also add some spark to the event.
Two other Jamaican females in Natoya Goule and Jonielle Smith will compete at the meet.
Goule is coming off a 800m win at the recent Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru, and that should give her added motivation when she clashes with the top seed in the field, Agee Wilson of the United States. Smith, meanwhile, will compete in the women’s 100 metres, which is a non-Diamond League event here.
On the men’s side, 2015 World champion Yohan Blake will be hoping for a good result, when he competes in the men’s 100 metres. With a season best time of 9.96 seconds and an 11th position ranking in the event in the Diamond League race, he will be hoping for a strong placing here and vital points in a bid to make the cut for the grand final. Another Jamaican, Tyquendo Tracey, with a season best 10.00 seconds, will be eyeing his first sub-10 seconds clocking this season.
World and Diamond League leader Christian Coleman looks a cinch for the event, while the likes of Akani Simbine and Arthur Cisse Aldo should also be in the mix.
Three Jamaicans are down to compete in the Men’s 400 metres led by Akeem Bloomfield, whose season best of 44.40 seconds makes him the top Jamaican in the one-lap event this season. His training partner, Nathon Allen, 44.85, seconds and national champion Demish Gaye 44.83 seconds, are also in the event. Both Bloomfield and Allen will want to nudge the JAAA selection committee with special performances in trying to get into the team for the World Championships, where only two athletes, including Gaye, have attained the Qualifying A standard.
The other Jamaicans who will be in action tomorrow will be defending world 110m hurdles champion, Omar McLeod and national 400m hurdles champion Kemar Mowatt.
McLeod will compete in his pet event, which is a non-Diamond League one. He will be hoping to improve his season best of 13.12 seconds and is expected to be strongly challenged by Daniel Roberts, who has a season best of 13.00 seconds.
8:02 a.m. – Women’s 100m hurdles heats
8:26 a.m. – Men’s 110m hurdles
8:46 a.m. – 100m Men’s heats
9:03 a.m. – 400m Men
9:13 a.m. – 400m hurdles men
9:33 a.m. – 100m women
10:41 a.m. – 800m women
10:52 a.m. – 200m women