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Thompson, Russell Jamaican winners in London

Observer writer

Monday, July 10, 2017

Olympic sprint double champion Elaine Thompson overcame a sluggish start to win the women's 100m in 10.94 seconds (-1.4m/s) at yesterday's London Anniversary Games Diamond League event and secured her place in the Diamond League final with two meets to go.

Thompson, who is the defending Diamond League champion in the event, overcame issues with her footwear after complaining in an interview after the semi-finals that the spikes she got from her sponsors “were uncomfortable”.

She was one of just two Jamaican winners on the day, as her MVP Track Club training partner Janieve Russell produced a season's best 54.02 seconds to win the 400m hurdles, the seventh best time in the world so far this year.

World Championships medal hopeful Fedrick Dacres was second in the men's discus throw event, while there were disappointing finishes for a trio of Jamaicans in the women's 400m.

After jogging to second place in the semi-finals in 11.16 seconds (-0.8m/s), Thompson, who was in the unaccustomed lane seven, produced a strong second half of the race to catch the field 60 metres and just got to the line ahead of Holland's Dafne Schippers (10.97 seconds) and Nigeria's Blessing Okgabare-Ighoteguonor, who ran a season's best 10.99 seconds.

In the heats, Christania Williams finished sixth in 11.34 seconds (-0.4m/s), while Sashalee Forbes was fifth in her heat in 11.46 seconds and failed to advance.

Russell, who was a shock fourth-place finisher at the JAAA National Senior Championships three weeks ago, ran a well calculated race to beat a strong field and ran one of her fastest times ever, just off her life time best of 53.96 seconds, to be the fastest non-American in the world so far.

Russell got off to a good start and was level with Great Britain's Eilidh Doyle up to the fifth barrier before a surge took her to the sixth hurdle first and she ran away from the field for an easy win.

American Cassandra Tate was second in 54.59 seconds and South African Wenda Nel third in 54.73 seconds.

Lea Nugent and Ristananna Tracey, who were in the top three at the National Senior Championships and are set to be named on the Jamaican team to the World Championships, were seventh and eighth, respectively.

Nugent ran 55.02 seconds and Tracey 55.61 seconds.

Dacres, who is looking to finish on the podium in London, had a best mark of 66.66m, just seven centimetres behind winner Daniel Stahl of Sweden (66.73m), the man who replaced him as the world leader last week.

It was a closely contested event as third-placed Philip Milanov of Belgium threw 66.65m.

Novlene Williams-Mills was fourth in the women's 400m, the best-placed Jamaican, running 50.50 seconds, while newly crowned National Senior champion Shericka Jackson continued to struggle and was fifth in 50.77 seconds with Verone Chambers ninth in 53.22 seconds.

American Allyson Felix rolled back the years to uncork a world-leading 49.65 seconds effort to lead a sweep by the Americans, with Courtney Okolo second in a season's best 50.29 seconds and hurdles specialist Shamier Little running a personal best 50.40 seconds.

Jamaica's Damar Forbes was fourth in the long jump with a best jump of 7.92m (-0.1m/s), while his countryman Rasheed Dwyer finished seventh in the 200m in 20.49 seconds (-0.7m/s).

Three Americans finished ahead of Dwyer, Ameer Webb, taking the victory with 20.13 seconds; 400m specialist Fred Kerley, in his first professional race, with a personal best 20.24 seconds; and Isiah Young also in 20.24 seconds.

Former Jamaica College runner Nathaneel Mitchell-Blake, the Great Britain 200m champion, was fourth in 20.30 seconds. Jamaica-based Zharnel Hughes was fifth in 20.33 seconds and his spot on the team to the World Championships is still up in the air.