Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Thompson Herah, Forte set for Rome test

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2020 | 12:13 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer

Thompson Herah
Thompson Herah

OLYMPIC Games double sprint champion Elaine Thompson Herah and Julian Forte will make their international season debut today, as both are down to compete in Rome at the third stop on the Wanda Diamond League circuit this season, at the 49th edition of the Pietro Mennea Golden Gala inside the Stadio Olimpico.

With travel restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic and several Diamond League meets being affected as a result, it will be a welcome return to the international circuit for the Jamaicans, who will both compete in the 100 metres.

Both athletes have been busy on the local scene, showing good form while competing at the various Velocity Fest meets.

Thompson Herah will be the first of the two in action, as she will take the track in the women’s 100 metres at 1:05 p.m. as the overwhelming favourite.

With a season best of 10.88 seconds, which was done at the Velocity Fest meet on August 8 at the National Stadium, Thompson Herah sits second on the World Top List behind compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce with 10.86 seconds.

Switzerland’s Ajla Deliponte, with a season-best 11.08 seconds, is the next best in the field, with the United States duo of Aleia Hobbs, 11.16, and Kayla White, 11.18, also heading into the race with good times.

However, Thompson Herah’s best challenge could come from the Ivory Coast’s Josee Marie Ta Lou, who, despite only posting a season best of 11.32 seconds so far, has been one of the Jamaican’s fiercest rivals over the past three seasons.

The Bahamas’ Anthonique Strachan will also be among the starters and will be hoping to improve on her season best of 11.46 seconds.

Forte will take the track 10 minutes later when he lines up at the start in the men’s 100 metres, where he has shown great form after his dominance in both the 100 and 200 metres at the local meets.

With a season best of 10.03 seconds, which sees him at number six on the Top List, Forte will come face to face with world number-three ranked Akani Simbine of South Africa, who has a best of 9.91 seconds this season.

The likes of Filippo Tortu of Italy, with a season-best 10.07 seconds, Arthur Cisse of France,10.10 seconds, and the American Michael Rodgers, who has gone 10.15 seconds this year, should all make this a very competitive affair.