Athletics

Elaine, Shelly lead Jamaicans at Prefontaine Classic

BY PAUL A REID
Observer writer

Sunday, June 30, 2019

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Fresh from their World-leading performances at last weekend's JAAA/Supreme Ventures National Championships, Jamaica's sprint queens Elaine Thompson and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will lead seven Jamaicans into the IAAF Prefontaine Classic Diamond League meeting at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, today

The meet has been traditionally held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, but because it is being renovated to host the 2021 World Championships, the meet was temporarily moved to Stanford this year.

Thompson will be in what looks to be a stellar 200m field, Fraser-Pryce will run the 100m, while World and Olympic champion Omar McLeod and Ronald Levy will contest the 110m hurdles. Tyquendo Tracey will run the men's 100m, Natoya Goule will be part of the 800m race that will include embattled South African Caster Semenya, while Danniel Thomas-Dodd is in the shot put event.

Thompson blazed to a World-leading 22.00 seconds last weekend, two days after winning the 100m in 10.73 seconds, and will face a strong field in the half-lap race that includes Great Britain's Dina Asher-Smith and Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands, the first and second, respectively, in the IAAF World Rankings; Nigeria's Blessing Okabare and American Jenna Prandini.

Fraser-Pryce, who shares the 100m World lead with Thompson, will face NCAA champion and new record holder Sha'Carri Richardson, who blazed to 10.75 seconds earlier in June.

Marie-Josee Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast, who leads the World Ranking, American Tori Bowie, and Trinidad's Michelle-Lee Ahye will also line up in what promises to be a fast race.

Another close race is on the cards in the men's 110m hurdles as McLeod will lock horns again with Spain's Orlando Ortega who is number two on the World Rankings, one place ahead of Levy who won the Jamaican Championships last weekend.

On times run this season McLeod, who missed the Jamaican “Trials” last week as he has a wild card berth to the World Championships as the defending champion, is the fastest after he ran 13.12 seconds in Shanghai in May.

China's Wenjun Wie and France's Wilhelm Belocian will add to the quality of the field.

Tracey ran a season's best 10.00 seconds last weekend to finish second behind Yohan Blake in the 100m at National Stadium, but he will have to run hard to challenge World leader Christian Coleman of the USA and his compatriot Justin Gatlin, and Jamaica-born British runner Zharnel Hughes.

Goule ran a season's best 1: 59.50 minutes to retain her national title last week, the seventh-best time in the world so far this year, but faces a field that includes World leader Semenya from South Africa, Ajee Wilson of the USA, and Ethiopia's Habitam Alemu.

Thomas-Dodd has the third-longest throw in the world so far this year with her personal best and national record 19.48m set at the University of Virginia in May, and goes into the event today as favourite to win.

A good performance would help her ranking, which has her at sixth place presently as she also seek her first Diamond League win this season.


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