Eight Jamaicans down to compete at Prefontaine ClassicSaturday, August 21, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
THE women's 100m, which will see all four members of the Jamaican gold medal-winning sprint relay team as well as the gold, silver and bronze medal winners from the recent Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, will be one of the highlights at today's Prefontaine Classic at the newly refurbished Hayward Field as the Wanda Diamond League resumes.
Eight Jamaican women led by Olympic Games sprint double champion Elaine Thompson-Herah, 100m silver medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and bronze medal winner Shericka Jackson, as well as relay gold medallist Briana Williams, will go up against reinstated American sprinter Sha'Carri Richardson. Olympic 400m hurdles finalist Janieve Russell and 800m finalist Natoya Goule will also be on show.
The meet, which started yesterday with the distance events, returns to its 'home' for the first time in three years after it was moved to facilitate the estimated US$270-million plus refurbishing, and will feature 47 medallists from Tokyo who combined to earn 62 medals including 14 individual gold medallists from Tokyo.
Hayward Field, which will host next year's World Athletics Championships in July, is famous for producing fast times, and with the high quality of the fields in today's session there are expectations in some quarters for world records or world leading times in a number of events.
All nine entrants in the women's 100m, six of whom were in the final in Tokyo, have gone under 11.00 seconds before, five under 10.80 seconds led by Thompson-Herah and Fraser-Pryce who have blazed jaw-dropping times of 10.61 seconds and 10.63 seconds, respectively, this season so fast times will be expected today.
Richardson, who missed the Olympics and is returning from a one-month ban after she tested positive for cannabis at the USA trials, will be seeking redemption of sorts and said at yesterday's press conference that while she was “honoured” to line up against the three Jamaicans, said she was “not star struck”.
Twenty-one year-old Richardson, who ran 10.72 seconds in early April, will also seek to get the better of Mari-Josee Ta Lou who was fourth in Tokyo, Switzerland's Mujinga Kambundji and her compatriot Teahna Daniels.
Russell, who was a gallant fourth in the Olympics 400m hurdles in her personal best 53.08 seconds, is one of three Jamaicans, including Leah Nugent and Ronda Whyte, both who whom will also be seeking redemption after disappointing performances in Tokyo.
American Dalilah Muhammad, the silver medallist at the Olympics, her teammate Shamier Little who failed to make the American team, Anna Ryzhykova of Ukraine and Gianna Woodruff of Panama will be expected to battle out for the podium positions.
Goule, who was expected to medal in the 800m in Tokyo and was in contention with just over 200m to go before fading to finish last, will get a chance to atone for her last race.
She will face the top three from Tokyo — Athing Mu who got the gold with an American record, Great Britain's Keely Hodgkinson, who was second and American Raevyn Rogers.