Williams, Shelly lead chase at Birmingham Diamond League

Williams, Shelly lead chase at Birmingham Diamond League

Observer writer

Sunday, August 18, 2019

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A number of top-class fields headlined by mouth-watering line-ups in the women's 100m hurdles and 200m sprint will be on show today at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting in England where 15 Jamaicans are down to particpate.

The meet is the penultimate stop before the finals which will be held in Zurich on August 29 and Brussels on September 6, and the race for points to qualify for the lucrative finals will be on offer, while others will be continuing their preparations for the IAAF World Championships set for later in September.

With the news a few days ago that she would be part of the equation for the Jamaican team to the Doha World Championships, a load must have been lifted off the shoulders of world leader Danielle Williams who will be part of what looks to be a scintillating women's 100m hurdles field today.

Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce will line up in a quality 200m field.

Williams' national record 12.32 seconds set in London three weeks ago is the best in the world so far, but she will potentially face off with three of the next five fastest women in the world, including world record holder Kendra Harrison.

The event, like a few others on the schedule, will be run in two rounds, a semi-final before a final later in the day and the first semi-final will see three Jamaicans — Pan American Games medallist Megan Tapper, Janeek Brown, the second ranked in the world, and Yanique Thompson up against Harrison and her American compatriot Nia Ali.

Williams will run in a relatively less competitive second semi-final where she will square off against American Queen Clay and England's Cindy Ofili.

Fraser-Pryce, who is coming off a record-setting run in the 200m at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, just over a week ago, will take on the might of the Bahamian Shaunae Miller who is unbeaten over the half-lap in two years; up and coming British runner Dina Asher-Smith, Nigeria's Blessing Okagbare, the number two ranked runner in the world, and Dutch woman Dafne Schippers.

Defending World champion Omar McLeod, who is yet to show the blazing form he had two years ago and which took him to World, Olympic and World indoors titles, will contest the 110m hurdles event where he will face Americans Freddie Crittenden and Daniel Roberts, as well as the UK's David King.

National champion Yohan Blake, Tyquendo Tracey, and Romell Glave are the Jamaican men in the 100m race which will also be run in two rounds.

Tracey will line up in the first semi-final against American Cameron Burrell, Canada's Andre de Grasse, and South African Akani Simbine.

Blake has a similarly dangerous semi-final two where he faces the Ivory Coast's Arthur Cisse and the American Michael Rodgers, who won the Pan American Games title.

Jamaica's Joneille Smith, who is recovering from an injury that kept her out of the Pan American Games, will run the women's 100m.

Demish Gaye, who is coming off a silver medal performance in Peru, will seek to match strides with his compatriots Akeem Bloomfield and Nathon Allen who were first and second at the previous Diamond League meeting in London.

Both Bloomfield and Allen will be seeking to impress the Jamaican World Championships selection panel and neither contested the event at the national championships in June — Allen withdrew with an injury, while Bloomfield ran the 200m.

Americans Vernon Norwood and Michael Cherry will add to the quality of the line-up in the quarter-mile race.

Kemar Mowatt will seek to square things against Brazilian teen sensation Alison Santos who beat him in Lima in the men's 400m hurdles, while the American Amere Lattin will also be seeking a place on the podium today.

Pan American Games champion Natoya Goule will be part of a competitive women's 800m today where she will go up against the Americans Ajee Wilson and Raevyn Rogers as well as Australia's Morgan Mitchell.

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