She’s OK! Outstanding Kaliese wins 400 hurdles in record time
BIRMINGHAM, England — Kaliese Spencer set one of four new meet records on her way to an unbeatable lead in the IAAF Diamond League women's 400m series, while Nickel Ashmeade and Rosemarie Whyte both had maiden Diamond League wins at the Aviva Birmingham Diamond League meeting held in front of a sold-out Alexander stadium yesterday.
Spencer, who won the Diamond and the US$40,000 prize last year, had to wait for about 45 minutes as after winning the event, she was disqualified but then reinstated after a successful appeal by MVP president Bruce James.
Repeat Olympic women's 100m champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Olympic triple jump finalist Kimberly Williams were both second in their respective events in what was a good day for Jamaicans.
Spencer, who was winning back-to-back Diamond League races and third overall to move to 16 points — nine clear of compatriot Melaine Walker with just two races to go — had crossed the line first in 53.78 seconds to beat Deon Hemmings' 15-year-old meeting record of 53.82 seconds.
She was, however, disqualified soon after for what officials said was a breach of IAAF rule 168.7s, which stipulates that no part of the body can pass below the plane of the hurdle.
An appeal by James saw the Olympic Games finalist re-instated, bumping Great Britain's Perri Shakes-Drayton who was promoted to the top position, but was reverted to second place in 54.00 seconds and Zuzanna Hejnova of the Czech Republic was third in 54.14 seconds.
James told the Observer that a review of the race showed "no conclusive evidence of a breach of the rule" to support the claim, and Jamaica was reinstated.
Spencer, who had won in Rome and Lausanne as well as placing second in Doha and New York, told the Jamaica Observer that "I just wanted to go out and do my best".
"I got a season best (a few) days ago and just wanted to secure my Diamond League," she noted. Spencer said she was surprised when she was told she had run a meet record. "I always seem to do well in England, I don't know why but I am happy with it."
Whyte, eighth in the Olympic finals and racing for the first time since she was part of the Jamaican team that secured a bronze medal in the 4x400m relay, ran a season's best 50.20 seconds out of lane seven, beating Great Britain's Olympic silver medallist Christine Uhuruogo (50.67 seconds), and American Francine McCorory (51.00 seconds) to the line.
The Racers athlete said she had come into the race rested and thinking she could run a season's best "and I did that and I am thankful".
Shericka Williams, who was also a member of the Olympic relay team, was fourth in 51.44 seconds and said she felt "flat" after running a season best 50.30 seconds in Budapest two days earlier.
In the men's 400m, Rushane McDonald was seventh in 45.88 seconds after placing fourth in Lausanne a few days earlier.
Ashmeade, who had failed to make the team to the Olympic Games after a series of fast times earlier in the year, won the 200m race in 20.12 seconds, beating Americans Tyson Gay (20.21 seconds) and Wallace Spearmon (20.23 seconds) as a second Jamaican Mario Forsythe was eighth in 20.80 seconds.
Gay got off to the best start, but the big Jamaican maintained his form and powered through to the line for the win.
"It was good, the time was a little bit slow but I don't know why. It was good though. I feel happy to get a win against a good field and it was a great crowd," he said.
Gay, who was fourth in the Olympic 100m and was beaten by Yohan Blake on Thursday in the 100m told reporters he felt "pretty good".
Fraser-Pryce admitted that she was "not 100 per cent", after losing to the American Carmelita Jeter for the second time in less than a week as the American broke the meet record with 10.81 seconds (0.7m/s wind). Fraser-Pryce ran 10.90 seconds as her lead in the race for the Diamond shrunk to two points (11-9) over Jeter in a two-athlete race.
American Alexandra Anderson was third in 11.22 seconds.
Jeter, who won a full set of medals gold, silver and bronze, at the Olympic Games, started fast and while the Jamaican kept pace up to mid-way the race, pulled away in the latter stages.
Earlier in the semi-finals, Jeter had run 11.01 seconds to easily win her race, while Fraser-Pryce was edged on the line by compatriot Aleen Bailey, both times in 11.35 seconds.
Bailey was sixth in the final in 11.24 seconds, and told the Observer her blocks had slipped. "I am happy with the time and place but my start was messed up, the blocks slipped and I found myself drifting to the left and it was hard trying to catch up afterwards," she said.
Olympic finalists Kimberly Williams led for four rounds in the women's triple jump finals until Ukraine's Olympic champion Olha Saladukha's first legal jump of 14.40m in the second to last series took away the lead.
Williams, who was second with 14.37m competing for the first time in three weeks and says she has "maybe one more meet" this season, had a series of 13.55m, 14.00m, 14.37m, 13.92m, foul and 14.32m.
Trecia Kay Smith was fourth after yet another slow start when she fouled her first two jumps, with a best of 14.09m coming on his fifth jump.
Up-and-coming hurdler Hansle Parchment had a disastrous meet, as he was eighth in a field that included the two men who finished ahead of him in the Olympics, Americans Aries Merritt who won in a meet record 12.95 seconds and Jason Richardson who was second in a personal best 12.98 seconds.
Parchment, the bronze medal winner in London, and who is usually clear over the hurdles, hit the second and fourth hurdle before struggling home in 13.76 seconds.
"Somebody's hand hit mine early in the race," he said, "and that threw me off but I am OK."