Jamaican triple!


Jamaican triple!

Thompson, Williams-Mills, Levy score wins at Paris Grand Prix

Senior staff reporter

Sunday, July 02, 2017

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Double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson sped to 10.91secs (+0.1 mps) to win the 100m at the Paris Diamond League, and Omar McLeod suffered cramps and finished seventh in the 110m hurdles, compatriot Ronald Levy presented himself in no uncertain manner with a personal best 13.05secs (-0.1 mps) victory.

Veteran Novlene Williams-Mills completed the trio of Jamaican victories capturing the 400m in 51.03secs, with Shericka Jackson, the recent victor at the National Trials, disappointing in third with 51.91secs.

Despite the Jamaican successes, there was a bit of concern as Olympic champion McLeod dropped to the track in discomfort, but it was later revealed to be a calf cramp. He limped home in seventh spot with 13.41secs.

With Hansle Parchment, the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist, failing to make the 110m hurdles final after finishing fourth in his heat in 13.41secs, it was left to the improving Levy to deliver, and that he did.

Still running in his University of Technology Jamaica yellow and blue kit, Levy, drawn in lane eight, flew out of the blocks and was never headed; looking very much like a medal contender in London as he sped to his personal best.

Andrew Pozzi of Great Britain was second in 13.14secs, also a personal best, while Garfield Darien of France was third with 13.15secs. Russian Sergey Shubenkov, who clocked 13.09secs in his heat and entered the final with the fastest time, could only muster fourth in 13.18secs.

“It's first time in Europe, so it is an important victory. I will definitely have strong memories on Paris,” said Levy, who lowered his personal best from 13.10secs set on May 27 in Eugene, Oregon.

“Things are looking good before the London championships. I know what to do at the championships now,” he added.

Jamaica's sprint queen Thompson didn't look her explosive self, but did enough to secure her second Diamond League victory and jumped to second in the standing on 16 points.

Marie-Josée Ta Lou of Ivory Coast was second in a season's best of 10.96secs with Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor third with 11.09secs. Jamaica's Christania Williams was sixth in 11.22secs.

Thompson, who ran a blistering 10.71secs last week in Kingston, said the result was not bad, especially after two false starts.

“This was a great preparation for the World Championships. Coming straight from the Jamaican trials it was important to get back to blocks, to stay focused and get as much rest as possible. You know it is different weather in Jamaica,” said Thompson.

“But I am glad for my first time in Paris. In this moment I am exactly where I want to be, feeling good, feeling excited with one month to go to the World Championships,” she noted.

Meanwhile, Williams-Mills turned the tables on national champion Jackson, who defeated her at the Jamaica National Senior Championships last week. Williams-Mills, who was drawn in lane four, swept past Jackson in lane five early and powered to victory. American Courtney Okolo closed well for second in 51.19secs and relegated Jamaica's Olympic bronze medallist Jackson to third in 51.91secs. Stephanie-Ann McPherson failed to show for the race.

It was good win for the 35-year-old Williams-Mills as she now jumps to the top of the Diamond League points standing with 20 points.

“I just came from the trials, so I wanted to show a good time. But a win is a win, and I am glad I came out first. Coming off the track, I feel tired. I know I am pretty much at the end of my career,” said Williams-Mills.

“But the biggest motivation is the passion for the sport. I am in good shape, and I am still motivated for the World Championships. I will get back to practice and a medal in London will be the key,” she added.

Having booked his spot on Jamaica's senior team to the London World Championships, Julian Forte turned in a clinker and finished fifth in the 100m in 10.26secs (-0.1 mps).

Forte, who achieved his personal best of 9.99secs last week in Kingston, was never in the hunt for victory in a field reduced to six starters after the disqualification of Kim Collins of St Kitts and Emmanuel Matadi of Liberia.

Forte never looked the part and was third for most of the race before surprisingly easing down to finish fifth. The race was won by Ben Youssef Meite of Ivory Coast in a season's best 9.99secs. Yunier Perez of Cuba was second with 10.05secs, and veteran Churandy Martina of the Netherlands third in 10.23secs.

Then Rasheed Dwyer clocked 20.45secs (-0.5 mps) for third place in the men's 200m after leading into the straight before fading, as Ramil Guliyev of Turkey won in 20.1secs, ahead of the fast-finishing Churandy Martina of the Netherlands in 20.27secs. American champion Ameer Webb was fourth in 20.48secs.

Jamaica's Aisha Praught finished seventh in the women's 3,000m steeplechase in 9:20.38 minutes.

Praught's time was just outside her national record of 9:19.29 minutes in the field of 18 runners. The gruelling race was won by Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya in 9:01.69 minutes. In fact, the Kenyans occupied the top three spots as Hyvin Kiyeng was second in 9:06.00 minutes, with Celliphine Chepteek Chespol third in 9:07.54 minutes.

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