Thompson Herah headlines strong Jamaican cast at British Grand Prix
Olympic champion Elaine Thompson Herah headlines a list of nine Jamaican athletes who will be chasing glory today at the Muller British Grand Prix, the final meet in the Wanda Diamond League Series and last before the Tokyo Olympics.
Thompson Herah, who won the 100m-200m double at the 2016 Games in Rio, Brazil, will run in the women’s 200m, a distance over which she has rarely competed this season.
In her final run before Tokyo, Thompson Herah will be looking to improve on her season best 22.02 seconds. Her training partner and MVP Track Club teammate, Natasha Morrison - who is Jamaica’s alternate for the event in Tokyo – numbers among her rivals. Morrison has a season best 22.74 seconds. The main challenge to Thompson Herah, though, is expected from the United States’ Tamara Clarke, with a season and personal best 21.98 seconds, and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria, whose season best is 22.59.
Great Britain’s Dina Asher Smith, the World Championships 200 metres gold medallist, was slated to feature in this race but withdrew as a precaution for a tight hamstring.
In relation to that decision, Asher Smith tweeted: “As you all know I love running in front of a home crowd, but I have to make smart decisions for myself and my body ahead of Tokyo.”
Meanwhile, several of the country’s top sprint hurdlers will do battle in the 100 metres hurdles for women and the 110 metres hurdles for men.
In the women’s event, 2015 World Championships gold medallist, Danielle Williams, who missed out on making the Jamaica team to Tokyo after finishing fourth at the National Senior Championships, will want to prove that she is still the best in the country when she takes on fast-rising Britany Anderson, who edged out Williams at the Trials when she finished third to book her Tokyo ticket. The second best Jamaican this year with a season best 12.62, Williams is coming off a good win in Atlanta three days ago. Anderson, with 12.58 seconds, is the top Jamaican in the event this season and has beaten Williams twice. Cindy Sember of Great Britain, with a season best 12.53 seconds and the United States’ Payton Chadwick, with a season best 12.64, should make this an interesting affair.
The country’s top three males this season will contest the men’s 110m hurdles, an event in which only one will be going to Tokyo. Defending Olympic Games champion Omar McLeod, the country number one and world number two with 13.01 seconds, failed to make the team to Tokyo after finishing at the back of the field at Trials. He will take on the country’s number two and National champion, Ronald Levy, who won with 13.08 seconds; and Rasheed Broadbell, the country’s number three with 13.10 seconds. Broadbell failed to get a medical exemption after failing to compete at the Trials.
Janieve Russell will once again be involved in another tough women’s 400 metres hurdles when she battles with Dutchwoman Femke Bol and the United States’ Shamier Little, who both have gone sub-53 seconds in back-to-back races. Bol has come out on top on both occasions in close finishes. Russell, who was third in Monaco with a season best 53.68 seconds, will be hoping to lower that time going into the Olympics.
National 400 metres champion Stephenie-Ann McPherson will compete the one-lap event, where she will be looking to register three sub-50 seconds in a row following her personal best 49.61 seconds to win at the Jamaica Trials and 49.99 clocking in winning at the Gyulai Istvan Memorial Grand Prix in Hungary last week.
JAMAICANS IN ACTION
• 1:03 p.m.: 400MH Women - Janieve Russell
• 1:16 p.m.: 200M Women - Natasha Morrison, Elaine Thompson Herah
• 1:38 p.m.: 110MH Men - Omar McLeod, Ronald Levy, Rasheed Broadbell
• 1:47 p.m.: 100MH Women - Britany Anderson, Danielle Williams
• 2:15 p.m.: 400M Women - Stephenie-Ann McPherson