Seven Jamaicans line up for Shanghai Diamond League

BY HOWARD WALKER
Senior staff reporter
walkerh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, May 18, 2019

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Jamaica's Olympic champions Elaine Thompson and Omar McLeod will lead seven other Jamaicans in action at the 10th IAAF Shanghai Diamond League today, starting at 4:25 am Jamaica time.

Thompson will line up in the 100m, where she will face no fewer than six other women who have broken the coveted 11-seconds barrier in Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare, Michelle-Lee Ahye of Trinidad and Tobago, Americans Jenna Prandini, Aleia Hobbs and Ashley Henderson, plus home girl Yongli Wei.

Meanwhile, Olympic and World champion Omar McLeod will be hunting his fourth-consecutive win at this meet in a crack 110m hurdles field.

McLeod will be severely tested by 2015 World champion Russia's Sergey Shubenkov, European champion Andy Pozzi of Italy, Spain's Orlando Ortega, and Milan Trajkovic of Cyprus.

The men's 400m will be of keen interest to Jamaicans as rising stars Akeem Bloomfield and Nathon Allen match strides with World silver medallist Steven Gardiner of The Bahamas, 2018 Commonwealth Games champion Isaac Makwala of Botswana, the American trio of Fred Kerley, Michael Cherry and Nathan Strother, along with Grenada's Bralon Taplin.

Four men in this field have times below 44 seconds in Kerley (43.70), Makwala (43.72), Gardiner (43.87), and Bloomfield (43.94). It should be hot to the wire.

Jamaica's Commonwealth Games shot put champion Danniel Thomas-Dodd faces a stern test against 2017 World champion Gong Lijiao of China and world leader Chase Ealey of the USA. Dodd has the second-best throw in the world with 19.48m, which is her personal best behind Ealey with 19.67m. Home favourite Lijiao, who has a personal best of 20.43m, will be hard to deny as she puts her 17-meet unbeaten streak on the line.

Two Jamaicans are down for the men's long jump in Damar Forbes and Tajay Gayle, and will face the wrath of South Africans Luvo Manyonga, Rushwahl Samai and Zarck Visser, along with China's Jianan Wang.

Stephenie-Ann McPherson will be in a tough 400m field with the likes of Bahrain's World silver medallist Salwa Eid Naser, Poland's European champion Justyna Swiety-Ersetic, and American prodigy Sydney McLaughlin, who is expected to announce herself to the world.

Jamaica's 100m champion Tyquendo Tracey finds himself in a really hot 100m with some of the pretenders to Usain Bolt's throne on display — Americans Christian Coleman and Noah Lyles, Reece Prescod of Great Britain, and the emerging Su Bingtian of China.

Coleman smashed the 20-year-old World Indoor 60m record in March 2018 and won gold ahead of Su of China then; and both renew their rivalry today. But each could be upstaged by Lyles, who is in tremendous form.


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