Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Sprint stars set to shine in Eugene

Jackson and Thompson Herah vs Richardson; Kishane Thompson faces Americans Lyles and Coleman

Published:Saturday | September 16, 2023 | 12:07 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
Shericka Jackson
Shericka Jackson
Sha’Carri Richardson
Sha’Carri Richardson
 Elaine Thompson Herah
Elaine Thompson Herah
Kishane Thompson
Kishane Thompson

FASTEN YOUR SEAT BELTS. For the next two days, starting today, most of the world’s leading track and field athletes will be involved in intense clashes as the Wanda Diamond League crowns its champions at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

Ten Jamaicans, seven on the track and three in the field, will be in action today, starting at 1 p.m. Jamaica time.

The women’s 100 metres has been the hottest event all season and the top women will line up for the big race at 3:40 p.m. Three Jamaicans - Shericka Jackson, Elaine Thompson Herah and Natasha Morrison - will face the starter in what is expected to be a thrilling encounter.

Jackson, the World Championships silver medallist, was second at the Prefontaine Classic last year behind Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, and third in 2021. She is the joint fastest in the world in 2023, with Sha’Carri Richardson at 10.65 seconds, and will be seeking to turn the tables on the American star after her defeat in Budapest.

Richardson has shown tremendous form this season and will be hoping to end the season on a high. In 2021, she ended at the back of the field in ninth place, and was third last year at the Prefontaine Classic.

Thompson Herah failed to make the Jamaica team for the individual event in Budapest but has shown great improvement on the European circuit where she started with 11.00 seconds and a third-place finish in Zurich. In her next two races she clocked 10.92 at the Bellinoza meet and 10.84 in Brussels, and will be hoping for another big improvement today. She will be seeking her third win in a row at the Prefontaine Classic where she ran the meet record 10.54 in 2021.

Ackeem Blake, Yohan Blake and Kishane Thompson are down for the men’s 100m at 3:07 p.m. Two of the fastest men this season, Americans Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman, who have both clocked 9.83, are also in the field. Also in the line-up are Ferdinand Omanyala of Kenya, who has gone 9.84 seconds, and the World Championships silver medallist, Letsile Tebogo of Botswana, whose best is 9.86.

While this could be the last hurrah for Yohan Blake who is hoping to dip under 10 seconds for the first time this season, it could be the start of things to come for both Ackeem Blake, who has a season’s best 9.89, and the vastly improved Thompson. Thompson has a personal best of 9.85, and an improved start could see him creating a major upset.

Rusheen McDonald will be the first Jamaican in action in the 400m at 2:16 p.m. McDonald has gone sub-45 seconds five times this season and will face world silver medallist Matthew Hudson-Smith of Great Britain, bronze medallist Quincy Hall of the United States and defending Diamond League champion Kirani James of Grenada.

Both Shanieka Ricketts and Kimberly Williams, who were finalists in the triple jump in Budapest, will be in action in the event today at 3:49 p.m.

Ricketts, who was fourth in Budapest, has improved tremendously since, with three wins in a row, including a personal best of 15.01m, her first time legally over the 15m, to win at the Brussels Diamond League .

She will renew battle with world record holder and world champion Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela, who was absent in Brussels. Budapest silver medallist Maryna Bekh Romanchuk of Ukraine will be absent but bronze medallist Leyanis Perez Hernandes of Cuba will be in the line-up.

World Championships fifth-place finisher Danniel Thomas-Dodd will contest the women’s shot put event at 3:11 p.m.