Nine Jamaicans down to contest today's Paris Diamond League


Nine Jamaicans down to contest today's Paris Diamond League

By Paul A Reid
Observer writer

Saturday, August 24, 2019

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World and Olympic champion Elaine Thompson, middle-distance runner Natoya Goule and sprint hurdler Ronald Levy are among the Jamaicans who will be seeking to secure their spots in the lucrative International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) Diamond League finals at today's Paris Diamond League meeting at the Stade Charlety.

Nine Jamaicans are down to participate on the 12th stop of the Diamond League and the final one before the finals which will be held over two meets, Zurich and Brussells.

Triple jumpers Shanieka Ricketts and Kimberly Williams, as well as quarter-miler Stephenie Ann McPherson — all of whom have already secured their places in the Diamond League finals — will contest their events today, while Jonielle Smith and Natalliah Whyte will contest the women's 100m, and Michael O'Hara will run in the B final of the 110-m hurdles.

Thompson will be competing for the first time since winning the 100m at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, last month, and despite being ranked number four in the world and is tied as the world leader with compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, has yet to get enough points to secure her place in the September 6 final in Brussells.

She is, however, expected to secure sufficient points today, as only three women have already booked their spots, one of whom, Ivory Coast's Marie-Josee Ta Lou, will line up against her today.

Holland's Dafne Schippers, who is also seeking a spot in the Diamond League final, will also be running today, as well as Smith and Whyte.

While Fraser-Pryce is not running today, she is on 16 points and could also secure her place in the run-off in Brussells.

World number eight-ranked Levy should also book his spot in the Brussells final, but he will be in a tough 110-m hurdles final that includes two of the three qualifiers — Sergey Shubenkov and Orlando Ortega, as well as world leader Grant Holloway, along with Pascal Martinot-Legarde and Wenjun Xie.

Goule, the Pan American Games gold medallist who placed fifth in Birmingham on Sunday, is expecting a better result today when she lines up against a field that includes Raevyn Rogers of the USA and Morgan Mitchell of Australia.

McPherson has accumulated enough points which qualifies her for the final in Zurich on Thursday, August 29 and will take on familiar rivals Phyllis Francis and Shakima Wimbley of the USA.

The women's triple jump is expected to be yet another exciting contest featuring four of the top five jumpers in the world, including Jamaica's Ricketts, who won the silver medal with a new personal best 14.77m at the Pan American Games in Peru.

The woman who beat her in Peru Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela has been in great form leading into the IAAF World Championships and will be the favourite to win today.

Williams, Ukraine's Ola Saladukha, Olga Rypakova of Kazakhstan, Ketura Orjia of the USA, and France's Yanis Davids, who will be making her professional debut, will also add depth to the competition.

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