Bloomfield blazes to 19.81secs, as Levy, McPherson score wins

Observer writer

Monday, July 23, 2018

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Akeem Bloomfield's scintillating personal best 19.81 seconds (0.1m/s) to win the men's 200m race on yesterday's second day of the Muller Anniversary Games in London, the 11th stop on the IAAF Diamond League, highlighted a number of good performances by Jamaican athletes in the England capital.

Bloomfield, who just turned professional less than a month ago after his second season at the University of Auburn, became the first Jamaican to run sub-20 seconds and sub-44 seconds for the 200m/400m, respectively and also ran the fastest 200m by a Jamaican since Usain Bolt ran 19.78 seconds in the semi-final at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

There were two other wins for Jamaicans — Ronald Levy won the 110m hurdles and Stephenie Ann McPherson won the 400m, beating compatriot Anastasia LeRoy.

Shericka Jackson was third in a competitive 200m, while Daniel Williams ran her second-fastest time ever in placing fourth in the 100m hurdles.

Bloomfield had opened his professional career with a 20-second clocking in Luzern on July 9 but took nearly 200th of a second off the time yesterday, running from lane seven as he decimated a strong field to win by almost two metres.

Panama's Alonzo Edward was second in 20.01 seconds and Alex Quinonez of Ecuador took third in 20.13 seconds.

The time made the former Kingston College runner the fifth-best Jamaican ever over the half-lap, behind Usain Bolt's World Record 19.19 seconds done in Berlin in 2009; Yohan Blake's 19.26 seconds achieved in Brussels in 2011; Warren Weir's 19.79 seconds which he ran twice in 2013; and Rashid Dwyer's 19.80 seconds done in the semi-finals of the Pan American Games in Toronto in 2015.

He moved past Nickel Ashmeade's 19.85 seconds and Donald Quarrie's former National Record 19.86 seconds.

Levy, the Commonwealth Games champion, was an easy winner in the 110m hurdles, getting out to a fast start and holding his nerves to clock a season's best 13.13 seconds (0.2m/s), second only to World leader Sergey Shubenkov who has the five fastest times so far, three performances under 13 seconds.

American Devon Allen was second in 13.30 seconds and Freddie Crittenden was third in 13.33 seconds, just off his life-time best 13.31 seconds.

McPherson and LeRoy made it first and second for Jamaica in the women's quarter-mile, as the former was stronger over the last 50 metres after she came into the straight shoulder to shoulder with LeRoy but powered home clear of the field — winning in a season's best 50.31 seconds down from her previous best of 50.69 seconds.

LeRoy held on to take second in 50.85 seconds, just holding off American Courtney Okolo in 50.93 seconds.

Less than 48 hours after setting a National Record in Monaco, Natoya Goule was just edged on the line in the women's 800 by American Ce'Aira Brown, who ran a personal best 1 minute 58.57 seconds.

Goule, who led with 200m to go, was timed in 1:58.67 minutes and might have been impeded by the American who was on her right as the Jamaican took the inside lane in the rush for the finish line.

Great Britain's Lindsay Sharpe was third in a season's best 1:59.34 seconds.

A lunge at the line by the Diamond League leader American Jenna Prandini took her to the win in the women's 200m in a new personal best 22.16 seconds (0.9m/s). Another American Gabrielle Thomas also had a new lifetime best 22.19 seconds for second, with Jamaica's Shericka Jackson just nipped at the line for third place in 22.22 seconds.

The women's 200m was easily the most competitive race of the two days, with .26 seconds separating the top six runners.

Williams ran 12.55seconds (0.6m/s), her second-fastest time ever just off her personal best 12.48 seconds, but it was only good for fourth place behind three Americans.

World Record holder Kendra Harrison won in 12.36 seconds, followed by Brianna McNeal with 12.47 seconds, and Sharika Nelvis took third in a season's best 12.51 seconds.

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