McLeod, Parchment face off in Birmingham
In a preview of the upcoming national trials, top sprint hurdlers Hansle Parchment and Omar McLeod will face off against each other, headlining a strong Jamaican field at today’s Diamond League meet at Alexander Stadium in Birmingham, England.
The meet will see both athletes make their Diamond League debuts in the 110m hurdles at 9:41 a.m. Parchment, the Tokyo Olympic champion, has won three races this season and has a season’s best of 13.15 seconds which he set at the Puerto Rico International Classic on May 12. McLeod, the 2016 Olympic champion and the 2017 World champion, competed at the Penn Relays in April where he finished second in a time of 13.22. Parchment and McLeod have the third and fifth fastest times in the world this season.
Ahead of their clash, Parchment says that he is hoping that the depth of local talent will be in good form to make a podium sweep at the World Athletic Championships a reality, a dream that McLeod also shares.
“We always talked about making a one-two-three at the World Championships. So I really hope that the other guys are in form this year and we can look forward to taking home all the medals to Jamaica,” Parchment said at yesterday’s pre-race press conference.
Parchment says that he is targeting a fast time at the refurbished facility which he says will be his final meet before the National Senior Championships in late June.
“I think I am in good form. I still have a lot of work to do but looking forward to executing a really good race and hoping to get a really lovely time on this beautiful track,” Parchment said. “After this one, we are going to shut it down and focus on the trials. Of course, you know we have quite a bit of good guys in the hurdles. So I have to make sure I am ready to give my best at the trials.”
Tokyo Olympics 100m bronze medallist Shericka Jackson will compete in her first 100m Diamond League race facing reigning 200m World champion Dina Asher-Smith and Olympic 200m bronze medallist Gabby Thomas of the United States, at 8:46 a.m. Thomas bested Jackson in the 200m in the season opener in Doha last week, where Jackson opened her 200m campaign. This will be Jackson’s first 100m race outside of Jamaica, having competed at the Jubilee Series on May 7. Double Olympic sprint champion Elaine Thompson Herah, who was originally scheduled to compete, pulled out of the event as a precaution, citing discomfort experienced in training.
Former World 100m champion, Yohan Blake, will face stiff opposition in the men’s 100m at 8:29 a.m. as he opens his Diamond League season against Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse, of Canada, and 2015 World championship bronze medallist Trayvon Bromell, of the United States.
Meanwhile, Olympic 4x400m relay bronze medallist Janieve Russell and Ronda Whyte will compete in the women’s 400m hurdles at 8:04 a.m. Russell is coming off a victory in the Puerto Rico Classic, clocking a season’s best of 54.09. Both will be facing multiple-times World and Olympic champion Dalilah Muhammad of the United States, who will be competing in her second 400m hurdles race of the season.
Olympic finalist Natoya Goule will race in the women’s 800m where she will face rising British star Keely Hodgkinson, who has a personal best of one minute 55.88 seconds for the two-lap race. Goule’s lifetime best is 1:56.15.
Timetable for Jamaican athletes at Birmingham Diamond League
8:04 a.m. 400m Hurdles: Janieve Russell and Ronda Whyte
8:29 a.m. 100m Men: Yohan Blake
8:46 a.m. 100m Women: Shericka Jackson
9:41 a.m. 110m Hurdles Men: Hansle Parchment and Omar McLeod
9:51 a.m. 800m Women: Natoya Goule