Thompson on top in Rabat - Richards sets national shot put record
ON a night when there were mixed results for Jamaican athletes here on the 10th leg of the IAAF Diamond League, the very dependable Elaine Thompson shone the brightest as she stretched her 100m wins to 14 in a row, capturing another Diamond League event in a new meet record of 10.87 seconds to erase her one year-old-mark of 11.02.
Thompson was the only Jamaican to win on the night where there were second-place finishes for Janieve Russell, Kimberly Williams and O'Dayne Richards.
Thompson warmed up for the World Championships in fine style, getting a good start and, despite a persistent challenge from the improved Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, had too much top-end speed in the end to turn back her main rival, who finished second in a season-best 10.90 seconds. Trinidad and Tobago's Michelle-Lee Ahye finished third in 11.02 seconds. Jura Levy, 11.18, and Christania Williams, the other Jamaicans in the race, finished down the track in seventh and ninth, respectively.
Thompson was happy with another victory on the circuit.
"I am very pleased with the win and the time, as I came out to execute as usual, and getting a meet record, it is a wonderful feeling. This win puts me in good stead for the World Championships and I am now in a position where I want to be," said Thompson, who stated that she was looking forward to her second World Championships.
Jamaica's best female 400m hurdler this season, Russell, who failed to make the World Championships team after finishing fourth at the National Championships, was the country's next best athlete on the track, after finishing second in the women's 400m hurdles.
Russell ran on strongly in the closing stages of the event to finish second in 54.36 seconds, just behind the Czech Republic's Zuzana Hejnova, who won in a season best 54.22 seconds with third going to Eilidh Doyle of Great Britain in 54.92 seconds.
It was disappointment for national champion Rhonda Whyte on her first time competing in Europe. The 26-year-old was never in the hunt as she finished eighth in 56.00 seconds and 11th overall. Ristananna Tracey, who won the B race in 55.18 seconds, and her sister, Nikita, who was third in 55.50 seconds, ended fourth and eighth overall respectively.
Recovering from an early-season injury, triple jumper Kimberly Williams got her season back on track after producing a season best of 14.31m to finish second in the women's triple jump, behind winner Caterine Ibarguen of Colombia with 14.51m.
Both Novlene Williams-Mills and Shericka Jackson finished out of the top three in the women's 400m. Olympic champion Shaunae Miller-Uibo was too good for the field, clocking her third sub-50 seconds this season.
Running out of lane six, she covered her two rivals going very fast over the first 200m, then maintained her form well to win easily in a new meet record of 49.80 seconds.
The American pair of Natasha Hastings, 50.86, and Quanera Hayes, 51.08 seconds, finished second and third. Williams-Mills was fourth in 51.18 seconds, while Jackson was fifth in 51.20 seconds.
Richards was the best performer among the Jamaican males. He finished second in the men's shot put to set a national record with 21.96m, as the United States' Ryan Crouser won with a new meet record of 22.47m. Crouser's teammate Ryan Whiting came in third with 21.26m.
Richards was very happy with his performance. "This is a very good result for me, as I didn't expect this result today (yesterday), but this is a good sign going to the World Championships and I am hoping to go over the 22m barrier in London," said Richards.
It was disappointment for the other males for Jamaica at the meet as both Rasheed Dwyer and Warren Weir struggled in the men's 200m, finishing sixth and seventh, respectively, in 20.43 and 20.48 seconds. Canadian AndrÈ DeGrasse won the event in 20.03 seconds, ahead of Ameer Webb of the United States, second in 20.18 seconds, and Zharnell Hughes of Great Britain, third in a season-best 20.22 seconds, running out of lane one.
Making his Diamond League debut, long jumper Tajay Gayle, out of the University of Technology, finished ninth with 7.41m.