Spencer wraps up 'Diamond' - Three other Jamaicans win in Birmingham
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Kaliese Spencer secured her fourth Diamond League title in the last five seasons with an impressive win in the 400-metre hurdles at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting in the United Kingdom yesterday.
She was among four Jamaicans who secured good wins as Kemar Bailey-Cole, Kerron Stewart and Nickel Ashmeade all stood atop the winners' podium.
Spencer, 27, had targeted Commonwealth Games gold and reclaiming the Diamond League title she won in 2010, 2011 and 2013 as her primary goals this season. She has now accomplished both.
Lined up against the potentially dangerous American Kori Carter and the United Kingdom's Eilidh Child, Spencer went out hard and left the field floundering in her wake. Carter stumbled and fell along the backstretch, wilting from the searing pace, as the Jamaican pulled away from the field to win in a fast 53.80 seconds, just missing out on her own meet record of 53.78.
Child ran 54.89 to place second ahead of the Czech Republic's Denisa Rosolova, who was timed in 55.65 seconds.
Bailey-Cole had been hampered by a toe injury that interrupted his early season preparation. Now healthy and with his confidence boosted by him claiming his first individual title at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer, the tall Jamaican recovered from his usual shaky start to power past Diamond League-leader Mike Rodgers of the United States and fellow Jamaican Nesta Carter to win the 100 metres in 10.08 seconds against a strong headwind of -1.9m/s.
Carter was second in 10.13, while Rodgers, 10.15, had to settle for third.
Ashmeade held off a late challenge from speedy Panamanian Alonso Edwards to take the 200 metres in 20.33 seconds. The Commonwealth Games 100 metre bronze medallist ran a blistering curve and hit the top of the home straight two metres ahead of Edwards. The Panamanian made a strong surge down the stretch, but was unable to pass the Jamaican.
The 2009 World Championships silver medallist was clocked at 20.35, while Commonwealth champion Rasheed Dwyer was third in a disappointing 20.58. Jason Livermore was fourth in 20.80.
Stewart dug deep
Like Ashmeade, Stewart had to dig deep to hold off a fast-finishing field in the women's 100 metres, winning in 11.22 despite a strong headwind of more than -1.0 m/s.
Diamond League leader, American Tori Bowie, had challenged early before she pulled up mid-race with an injury, clearing the way from France's Myriam Soumare to claim second in 11.25. England's Asher Phillip was third in 11.26 seconds, while Carmelita Jeter, who has been executing a very measured return from injury, was fifth in 11.28.
Meanwhile, Grenada's Kirani James cantered to an easy win in 44.59 seconds in the men's 400 metres ahead of Botswana's Isaac Makwala, 45.02, and England's Martin Rooney, 45.25.
The men's high jump has been one of the highlights this season and in Birmingham it was no different. The only difference, however, is that for once Bohdan Bondarenko lost. The Ukrainian lost to Qatar's Essa Mutaz Barshim, his chief rival this season, even as both broke Javier Sotomayor's 21-year-old meet record of 2.36 metres. Their 2.38 metre clearance was six centimetres better than Commonwealth Games champion, Derek Drouin, who had to settle for third.
In the women's 100 metre hurdles, Dawn Harper-Nelson and Queen Harrison caught Australian Sally Pearson with a third of the race to go to claim an American one-two finish in 12.66 and 12.70, respectively. Pearson, who has struggled with injury this season, faded to third in 12.85.