Sport

Blake, American Harrison confirmed for Racers Adidas Grand Prix

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

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Jamaica's 100m World champion Yohan Blake and American 100m hurdles world record holder Kendra Harrison have both put pen to paper and have been confirmed for the Racers Adidas Grand Prix set for Saturday, June 8, at the National Stadium.

Blake, who won the 100m at Racers in 2017 in 9.97, but was third last year in 10.00 behind Zharnel Hughes (9.91) of Great Britain and American Noah Lyles (9.93), is back and will face fellow Jamaican Asafa Powell and defending champion Hughes once again.

The 29-year-old Blake, who is the second fastest man ever in both 100m (9.69) and 200m (19.26), and is seen as Jamaica's heir apparent to Usain Bolt, seemed to be rounding into good form with a 9.98 clocking on May 5 in Florida which makes him the seventh fastest in the world this year and the fastest Jamaican. Americans Noah Lyles and Christian Coleman top the list with 9.86 seconds.

Only recently, Blake withdrew from Jamaica's team to the IAAF World Championships in Japan and fans are eager to witness if he is anywhere near his best. The Racers Grand Prix will be the ideal launching pad for him.

Meanwhile, the women's 100m hurdles makes a return to the Racers Adidas Grand Prix and it will include none other than American world record holder Kendra Harrison, who will be making her debut.

The first two editions in 2016 and 2017 saw her country woman Sharika Nelson win both in 12.61 and 12.78, respectively.

The 26-year-old Harrison ran 12.20 in 2016 to erase the 28-year-old record of 12.21 held by Bulgarian Yordanka Donkova from 1988. Harrison, despite establishing the world record three years ago, has not been able to dominate on the world stage.

However, in 2018, she started to recapture her form by winning gold in the 60m hurdles at the World Indoor Championship and followed that up with gold at the NACAC Championship.

She finished 2018 with the second-place finish at the IAAF Continental Cup, and is expected to really lay down a marker at the Racers Adidas Grand Prix in preparation for the USA Championships, and by extension, the World Championships in September.

Harrison has joined a galaxy of stars that will converge inside the National Stadium for the fourth staging of the Racers Adidas [previously JN] Grand Prix. Among them are Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Kirani James, Fred Kerley, Asafa Powell, Akeem Bloomfield, Ajee Wilson, Queen Harrison, Hansle Parchment, Fedrick Dacres and Danniel Thomas-Dodd. They will contest 19 events for three pulsating hours.

The Racers Grand Prix has attracted some of the best athletes in the world, from Usain Bolt to Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce to Carmelita Jeters to world record holders Wayde van Niekerk (400m), David Rudisha (800m) along with distance great Mo Farah.


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