TRIPLE Tokyo Olympic Games gold medallist Elaine Thompson-Herah and Diamond League leader Shanieka Ricketts will lead the Jamaican contingent at today’s Diamond League meeting in Rabat, Morocco at Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium.
Thompson-Herah and Natasha Morrison will line up in the women’s 100m, Ricketts in the women’s triple jump, Stephenie Ann McPherson will contest the women’s 400m, Fedrick Dacres will contest the men’s discus throw, while Jaheel Hydle will line up in the men’s 400m hurdles.
The meet will also mark the seasonal debut of Olympic champion and world record holder Karsten Warholm in the 400m hurdles.
Thompson-Herah is coming off a season’s best 10.79 seconds at last weekend’s PreFontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, and is expected to face the toughest challenge from Bahamian Anthonique Strachan who ran her persoanl best 10.99 seconds earlier this season at a meet in Kingston. She will also be tested by Marie-Jose Ta Lou of the Ivory Coast who has a season’s best 11.07 seconds.
Ricketts, who won in Doha, will be seeking back-to-back wins but faces a deep triple jump field that includes the top four women in the world, led by Cuba’s Leyanis Perez-Hernandez (14.58m), Thea Lafond of Dominica (14.53m), Ana Lucia Jose Tima of the Dominican Republic (4.46m) and a second Cuban, Liadagmis Povea (14.41 seconds).
Olympic Games silver medallist Portugal’s Patrica Momona will make her first competitive outdoor appearance as well.
McPherson faces world leader Marileidy Paulino of the Dominican Republic, who ran 49.49 seconds two weeks ago, in what is expected to be a competitive event that will also see Barbadian Sada Williams and Portugal’s Catia Azevedo.
Dacres, who is still to achieve the automatic qualifying distance of 66.00m in the discus, will get all the competition he needs when he faces world leader Ceh Kristjan of Slovenia, number two-ranked Andrius Gudzius of Lithuania, and World and Olympic champion Daniel Stahl of Sweden — all of whom have gone over 69.00m already this year.
Hyde, the Olympic Games semi-finalist last year, will hope to lower his season’s best 50.23 seconds when he faces the likes of Warholm, Yasmani Copello of Turkey, Khallifah Rosser of the USA who ran 48.10 seconds at PreFontaine —third best in the world — as well as Rasmus Magi of Estonia.
— Paul Reid