JAMAICAN sprinter Briana Williams struggled to keep pace at Sunday’s New York Grand Prix at Icahn Stadium, where the fast-rising Ackeem Blake continued his impressive season with a strong 9.95 seconds (1.4m/s) win at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series meet.
There were second-place finishes for Javon Francis and Danniel Thomas-Dodd at the meet which saw performances from 13 Jamaican athletes.
With the National Senior Championships set to get started next week, two of Jamaica’s young standouts continued their preparations for their shot at making the country’s team to the World Athletics Championships in Oregon, with conflicting outcomes.
While 20-year-old Blake catapulted himself into the conversation for a spot on the 100m team, Williams’ performances this season have raised doubts about her readiness heading into the trials.
Blake was beaten to the line by world champion Christian Coleman who ran a season’s best 9.92 seconds.
A week after he ran an ‘unofficial’ 9.92 seconds at the Music City Track Carnival presented by Puma at Vanderbilt University track facilities in Nashville, Tennessee, Blake confirmed his fine form, beating his previous personal best of 10.08 seconds which he ran twice this year and joining Oblique Seville, 9.86 and Davonte Burnett, 9.99 seconds as the Jamaican men who have run under 10 seconds so far this season. Blake is also the 22nd Jamaican man to go under 10 seconds in the 100m.
American Marvin Bracy finished third in a season’s best 10.03 seconds while another Jamaican, Kevaun Rattray was seventh with a season’s best 10.52 seconds.
Meanwhile, Williams, the Olympic relay gold medallist could only manage a fifth-place finish in the women’s 100m which was won by American Aleia Hobbs in an impressive personal best time of 10.83 seconds,
Hobbs went under her previous best of 10.85 seconds to finish ahead of her compatriots Sha’Carri Richardson who was second in 10.85 seconds and Teahna Daniels, who ran third in 10.99 seconds, both season’s best marks.
Williams, who ran 10.98 seconds in Kingston last week, stopped the clock at 11.11 seconds with another Jamaican, Ashanti Moore finishing seventh with a season’s best 11.18 seconds.
Francis ran 45.73 seconds for second in the men’s 400m and was just beaten by American Tyler Terry, who posted 45.70 seconds, with South Africa’s Derrick Mokaleng finishing third in 46.55 seconds.
Meanwhile, Thomas-Dodd threw 18.40m for second in the women’s shot put as American Jessica Ramsey won with 18.90m and Raven Saunders was third with 17.92m.
In the women’s 400m hurdles, Shiann Salmon placed third in 55.28 seconds as Panama’s Gianna Woodruff broke the meet record with 54.35 seconds, which was also her best time this season. Colombia’s Mellisa Gonzales was second with 54.98 seconds.
Jordan Scott placed third in the men’s triple jump with his season’s best 16.69m (1.5m/s), behind American Donald Scott, 16.81m (0.2m/s), and Will Clay’s wind-aided 16.75m (2.1m/s).
Jamaica’s Chrisann Gordon-Powell will have to wait for another chance to get the qualifying time for the 800m at the World Championships as she was fourth in 2:01.82 minutes.
American Ajee Wilson won with 2:00.62 seconds ahead of Allie Wilson who ran 2:00.80 for second place.
Damion Thomas finished seventh in the 110m hurdles for a season’s best 13.40 seconds, in a race that saw American Devon Allen run a personal best 12.84 seconds (1.6m/s) — the fastest time in the world this year and the meeting record.
Olympic silver medallist Grant Holloway was second with a season’s best 13.06 seconds.
In the men’s 800m Jamaican Tajay Hamilton ran a personal best 1:46.16 to place seventh.
— Paul Reid