Sports

Emotional McLeod, Gayle win in Shanghai

...American Lyles cops 100m in world-leading 9.86 seconds

Sunday, May 19, 2019

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SHANGHAI, China — Jamaicans Omar McLeod and Tajay Gayle won their respective events, while sprint champion Elaine Thompson had to settle for bronze at the IAAF Diamond League here yesterday.

Gayle claimed in the long jump while McLeod captured the men's 110 metre hurdles.

Gayle's winning leap was measured at 8.24 metres, with China's Jianan Wang finishing second with a jump of 8.16 and Ruswahl Samaii of South Africa third with a leap of 8.14.

McLeod, the Olympic and World champion in the 110m hurdles, stormed to victory in 13.12 seconds ahead of hometown Wenjun Xie in 13.17 and Russia's 2017 World Championship silver medal winner Sergey Shubenkov, who crossed the line in 13.28 seconds.

The Jamaican collapsed crying on the track and had to be consoled by his rivals after his fourth victory in as many appearances in Shanghai.

The 25-year-old said: “It was difficult for me mentally to compete today. “My auntie died yesterday (Friday). But then I asked myself, 'what would she want?'

“And she would want me to race.”

The news wasn't as good for Thompson, the double- Olympic sprint champion, who was competing in her first 100 metres race for the season.

Her time of 11.14 seconds was third-fastest behind winner American Aleia Hobbs' 11.03, and Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria who finished second in 11.07.

In other results, Stephenie-Ann McPherson ran fourth in the women's 400 metres in a time of 51.39 seconds, while Nathon Allen's time of 45.73 seconds was also good enough for fourth in the male equivalent.

Tyquendo Tracey struggled in the men's 100m, clocking 10.18 for ninth place in the event, which was won by American Noah Lyles in a world-leading 9.86 seconds.

Meanwhile, Noah Lyles launched himself from near the back of the field to beat fellow American Christian Coleman by just 0.006 secs and win the 100 metres.

Lyles's blistering 9.86 sec was the best time this year and a personal best, and lays down a marker ahead of the World Championships in the autumn and the Tokyo Olympics next summer.

The 21-year-old, part of a new generation of American sprinters, ducked to the line with a glance to his left to Coleman. A photo finish confirmed Lyles had won.

Third was South Africa's Akani Simbine and fourth last year's Shanghai victor, Britain's Reece Prescod.

It is early days in the season, but Lyles and his rivals are already eyeing the Doha World Championships in September, while the 2020 Tokyo Games also loom.

Lyles, the 200m Diamond trophy winner last year, celebrated wildly and said: “In pre-season I'd taken a couple of losses, a couple of second places, even on my home track, so I really wanted to come out here and told my coach I wanted to do something.

“I told him that today is the day, today is the day we put it all together.”

Asked by AFP what message his nail-biting win sent to the rest ahead of a crucial 14 months, Lyles said: “I really wanted to make sure that this year everybody knows that I'm a 100m and 200m runner, not just a 200m runner who's kind of running the 100m.”

In the women's 100m, Aleia Hobbs of the United States, running out of lane seven, streaked home clear of the field for victory in 11.03sec.

In a highly anticipated match-up, Qatar's Abderrahman Samba overtook his flagging American rival Rai Benjamin over the last hurdle to win the men's 400m hurdles.

Samba, the second-fastest man in history in the event with his 46.98sec last year, was already the quickest this year and his 47.27 lowered his previous mark.

It was the first time that the Saudi-born Samba and rising prospect Benjamin — the joint third-fastest ever and still aged only 21 — had faced one another.

— CMC/AFP


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